Herald Review Business Brief


Business Name:  Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation.  Mindy Nuhring, Executive Director


  1. What products/services do you offer? The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (GRACF) is a nonprofit organization that has the goal of joining donors’ charitable intentions with community needs.  GRACF serves the community by providing financial support to area nonprofit organizations through grantmaking and to area students through scholarships, by managing crisis funds that serve local citizens, and providing assistance to donors and philanthropists by helping them fulfill their giving goals.  We serve the Greater Itasca Area (Itasca County and surrounding areas).
  2. How long have you been in business in this community? We are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year! GRACF was started by business and community leaders in 1994 to provide a way for local citizens to contribute to the community to improve the quality of life in this area.
  3. What do you think is the significant challenge facing your business today? As with any nonprofit organization, one challenge is developing and managing income streams to keep operations healthy.  Another challenge is making sure we are evolving to meet the community’s needs.  Communities are always changing, and we want to ensure we are keeping up with those changes.
  4. What is your favorite part about your business? My favorite part of the business is easy – it’s being able to help the community.  I know my co-workers would agree with me that it makes us happy to assist donors in helping others, getting grants and scholarships to where they are needed and helping our donors remember loved ones through donations and funds in their loved one’s name.
  5. What are your long-term goals? We are undergoing strategic planning this year to establish a new set of long-term goals, but we know we will continue assisting donors, nonprofits, and students in our area.
  6. What makes your company stand out from your competitors? There isn’t another community foundation in the Greater Itasca Area, but we want to learn best practices from other community and private foundations and collaborate with them to improve the quality of life for everyone.
  7. How has your business changed since it started? The amount of our assets, funds, donors, students, grants, and scholarships have increased substantially over the years.  In 30 years, we have gone from assets of $250,000 to over $31 million at the end of 2023.  In 2023, there were 1,974 donations totaling $2.35 million, 44 grants to nonprofits totaling $154,000 and 185 scholarships totaling $273,000.
  8. What values/guiding principles guide you? The Community Foundation’s guiding values are integrity, trust, stewardship, respect and professionalism.
  9. What are things about running your business that people don’t think about or consider? Many still don’t understand what we do. I like to break it down into a few simple items.  First, we have 100+ scholarship funds and we are busy each spring preparing for students to apply, committees to evaluate and then award the scholarships which are paid out during the summer.  Second, we offer an annual grant cycle where local nonprofits can apply for grants from donor-advised funds and other funds we have available.  Grants are evaluated in the fall and paid in January.  Last, we manage more than one community cancer crisis fund, along with other crisis funding, we set up new funds for donors that want to give back to the community and we set up funds for local nonprofits on a year-round basis.
  10. What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path? I did not start out on the path of working at a nonprofit or a community foundation; however, I was always doing community volunteer work and was very interested in community projects.  What surprises me about working for a nonprofit and specifically GRACF is how much I love it.  I love what we do and the people with whom we work.
  11. What’s your go-to productivity trick? I am a fan of lists and I have a lot of them.  However, I will make shorter lists on a day-to-day basis for five or so things that need to get done that day.
  12. What is your favorite local business (other than your own)? I have too many favorite local businesses to name, but we have become instant fans of the cookie boxes from Dragonfly Coffee.
  13. If there’s anything else you want to add/include/tell the community, feel free! I encourage anyone who has questions or wants more information about the Community Foundation to stop in or call!