An annual grant cycle is a journey of community empowerment and positive change. In 2023, the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (GRACF), through its annual grant cycle, awarded over $154,000 in 44 grants to area nonprofit organizations and projects that serve the Greater Itasca Area.

An example of an initiative funded through the 2023 GRACF annual grant cycle was a grant awarded to United Way of 1000 Lakes for their Stuff the Bus School Supplies Program.  United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus program helps address equity in the schools and community by providing more students with the tools they need to succeed in school.  Backpacks filled with classroom-specific supplies help support parents and remove barriers, so more students have what they need to be prepared for school.  The program serves students in Bigfork, Cohasset, Coleraine, Deer River Grand Rapids, Hill City, Nashwauk, Pengilly and Warba communities.

In 2023, more than 300 backpacks were distributed to students in grades K-12 – a value of more than $24,000.  The grant received through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation will help the United Way serve more families, as the need continues to grow.

“The initiative is part of United Way’s Ready Kids, Resilient Families key pillars, supporting children and families throughout the entire educational process,” said Kim Brink Smith, United Way executive director. “By providing these essential resources, the initiative empowers students and sets them up for a successful learning journey while simultaneously supporting the financial stability of families.”

Mindy Nuhring, GRACF Executive Director, states, “Many of the grants awarded through the annual grant cycle are through donor advised funds managed by the Community Foundation. The donors are actively involved in the process of awarding funds to the annual grant cycle applicants.  Thank you to all the donors who help to improve the quality of life in the Greater Itasca Area.”

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for 30 years to make our Greater Itasca Area a better place to live.  For more information, visit our website at or schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.