Even though we are not yet through the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to tell some of the stories of what area organizations have been through in the last year.  Northern Community Radio (KAXE/KBXE) was one of the organizations that requested a Community Response grant administered through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation last year because their operations had to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.  They needed special equipment in order to work remotely.  Through the Community Response grant and other grants, KAXE/KBXE received needed laptops and other equipment to work remotely and continue to serve their listeners.

Sarah Bignall, KAXE/KBXE Director of Operations states, “The pandemic completely changed the way that we operated overnight.  Programming in the past had been done live and in-person and once restrictions started to roll out, we realized we needed to pivot –quickly.  Because of organizations like the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, we were able to equip our staff to work remotely.  This ensured we were able to keep our staff safe and our community informed.  Thank you for your support.”  Heidi Holtan, KAXE/KBXE News and Public Affairs Director says, “Having a mixing board, high quality microphone and new laptop in my home office during the pandemic was essential to the work I was doing.  During the pandemic I was recording interviews about community health, candidates for the MN Legislature and online focus groups talking with women about the burdens of the pandemic.  As the increase in COVID cases grew, we were able to continue to cohost the Morning Show, with one host on ZOOM from home, and one in the studio.”

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live.  For more information, visit our website at www.gracf.org or schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.


PHOTO:  Aaron Brown of Minnesota Brown, Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and Heidi Holtan of KAXE/KBXE working remotely during the pandemic