State funding for Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care to support outreach to informal child care providers

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded a $180,000 grant to the Northland Foundation for outreach, engagement, training and support for “informal” child care providers in the region. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends, often referred to as FFN providers, are a frequent choice of care for many families with infants and toddlers, in diverse cultural and ethnic communities, and for parents working non-standard-hour jobs. The growing child care shortage has also led to more families with young children relying on FFN child care.

The influx of state funding will help the Foundation and its local project partners across the region conduct outreach to FFN providers, offer “Play & Learn” training sessions, and connect providers to services and resources

“FFN caregivers play a critical role in supporting the healthy development and school readiness of young children,” states Zane Bail, Chief Operating Officer at the Northland Foundation. “We are thrilled to have this support for what we have called the Northland FFN Child Care Project, to offer more resources and supports for FFN providers.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota two-year grant will strengthen early care and education

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has awarded the Northland Foundation $200,000 over two years to advance racial and health equity in early care and education programs and services.

This funding will help increase the availability of and access to quality early care and education, especially for young children and families from underserved and under-resourced communities. The Northland Foundation will engage child care providers and others working with young children in culturally responsive and trauma-informed care trainings; provide mentoring opportunities for child care providers; expand workforce development strategies for child care; and offer programming for informal caregivers of young children.

Tony Sertich, President of the Northland Foundation states, “We greatly appreciate that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has been such a steady partner in helping young children and families have access to quality early care and education opportunities in northeast Minnesota.”

Bush Foundation grant award supports Maada’ookiing expansion

A one-year, $100,000 grant from the Bush Foundation will help accelerate the work of Maada’ookiing (“distribution” in Ojibwe), an Indigenous-designed and -led effort to increase investment in Indigenous communities across northeast Minnesota. Maada’ookiing, which officially launched in May 2021, includes three areas of focus: grassroots grantmaking to strengthen and sustain Indigenous community, diversification of Tribal economies and support for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and support for Indigenous Education programs across the region.

“This new Bush Foundation funding will go a long way toward helping expand and deepen the work of Maada;ookiing, including grassroots projects as well as Indigenous entrepreneurship and Indigenous Education programs across the region,” said Erik Torch, Director of Grantmaking at the Northland Foundation.

To date, 44 Maada’ookiing grants totaling over $108,000 have been awarded to Indigenous individuals for a wide array of grassroots projects.