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Northwest Area Foundation Grants $2.7 Million for Small Business and Employment Opportunities

January 22, 2013

PDC has a longstanding partnership with the NW Area Foundation (NWAF), based in St. Paul MN. NWAF is the only foundation in the U.S. that is solely focused on reducing poverty, building assets, and equitable community development for disadvantaged communities. The grant to PDC announced in the following release is the largest amount to one recipient in this round of Foundation funding, and was prompted by the City’s support of the NPI initiative and the NPI districts’ commitment to raising local and regional funds to drive their work. Funds will also support an employment project that will help district area residents plan and prepare for work and find jobs. 

Grants build assets and wealth through access to capital, job training, and financial education

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 22, 2013) – Creating new jobs, new businesses, and newly-trained workers is the goal of a three-year, $380,000 grant to the Portland Development Commission. Funding will support the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, a partnership between the city of Portland, Ore., nonprofit organizations, residents, and private business to forge economic development in six low-income commercial districts and to connect people to jobs. This is among $2.7 million in interrelated grants the Northwest Area Foundation announced in the fourth quarter of 2012 to reduce poverty and build prosperity.

“We believe that increasing personal assets and wealth offers the brightest hope for people who are trying to move from poverty to financial stability,” said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of the Northwest Area Foundation. “One of the most effective ways to do that is by creating new business with jobs that generate living wages. Our grants will also support financial education and job training so low-income workers can build a solid future.”

The Foundation also granted $222,400 over two years to the Three Affiliated Tribes – Mandan, Hidatsa and the Arikara Nation of New Town, N.D. The money will support a major visioning and strategic planning process aimed at rebuilding the Tribal government and its economic structure in order to foster self governance. That Tribal Nation is located on oil rich lands. Planning will support long-term economic development by managing wealth that could come from the precious natural resources.

Additional grants to build assets and wealth include:

  • African Development Center of Minneapolis received $250,000 over two years to assist African immigrants in starting and sustaining successful businesses.
  • Native American Community Development Corporation of Blackfeet, Mont., received $50,000 to expand a youth mini-bank and matched savings program in Minnesota, Washington, and Montana.
  • Northside Achievement Zone of Minneapolis received $50,000 to offer career and financial resources to low-income families.
  • Neighborhood Development Center of St. Paul, Minn., received $75,000 for work to grow business through local food systems, collaborations between rural and urban economies, and entrepreneur training.
  • Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity of Minneapolis received $100,000 to improve public policies to reduce poverty and to prepare low-income families for home ownership. Family training will focus on budgeting and saving, building credit, and working with financial institutions.

Grants to improve public policy include:

  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits of Saint Paul, Minn., received $60,000 for its Minnesota Budget Project initiative. Funding will support research and analysis on tax and spending policies that impact low-income workers in Minnesota.
  • Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) of Saint Paul, Minn., received $100,000 to advocate for stronger immigrant farmer-government relations. Funding will also provide access to capital, farmland, business training, and new markets. 

Grants for rural development include:

  • Lutheran Social Services Housing Inc. of Fargo, N.D., received $75,000 through its fiscal sponsor, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. This grant will fund research and development of a loan fund that will provide low-interest financing for affordable housing and child care facilities with an emphasis on projects in rural North Dakota.
  • MinnPost of Minneapolis received $100,000 for investigative reporting on predatory lending practices in Minnesota.

Grants to build leadership for reducing poverty include:

  • Association of Washington State Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of Seattle received $125,000 over two years through its fiscal sponsor, Yakima Valley Community Foundation, to provide financial education and business assistance to low-income Latino entrepreneurs.

For a full list of the 24 grants the Northwest Area Foundation announced in the fourth quarter, visit

The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by the people, organizations and communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. The Foundation’s region includes the eight states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon and more than 70 sovereign Tribal Nations that share the same geography. The Great Northern Railway, founded by James J. Hill, operated in this area. Hill’s son, Louis W. Hill, established the Foundation in 1934. For more information, please visit   


Contact: Susan Buckles, Northwest Area Foundation, 651-225-3865,