Cycle 1 Community Grant Program Awards

The Winona Community Foundation awards grants to causes and organizations that support the vibrant and enduring Winona area community. The Foundation received a record number 29 applications by the March 1 deadline requesting more than $237,031.50 in funding. The grant review committee was challenged to award grants that would serve the diverse needs and opportunities in our community.

An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. By doing so, a variety of interests are supported with the goal of helping local charities make a difference in the Winona area. Our community grants for nonprofits are broad and inclusive to meet the current community needs in the Winona area.

This cycle, the Foundation Board of Directors awarded 13 organizations $76,380 from the Community Grant program.

The 13 2022 Cycle 1 Community Grant award recipients are as follows:

  • Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota $3,580: To support two of their Active Aging Programs including Living Well with Chronic Conditions and Living Well with Chronic Pain. These programs are led by 2 trained facilitators and are free of cost. It’s designed to teach and build better self-management skills including nutrition, exercise, communications skills, goal setting and problem solving.
  • Habitat for Humanity serving Winona County $9,950: To support scaffolding upgrades that are essential to ensuring safety work above ground. Repair projects that require scaffolding include painting, siding and soffit replacement and repair, roof repair, second-story window replacement, and it’s required in the construction of new homes. Their current scaffolding is approaching the end of their expected use.
  • Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center $3,800: To support external safety monitoring at their four group home locations. The addition of exterior security cameras is intended to improve the safety and security of these homes for both the residential adults and workers.
  • Islamic Center of Winona $1,500: To support a hosted dinner on April 30th that will introduce new Afghan families to up to 150 members of the Winona Community. This also includes an educational program that addresses the conditions that led to the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States. This event is open to the community, and the Islamic Center is open to livestreaming the educational component to make it accessible to more people.
  • Let’s Erase the Stigma $10,000: To support the continuation and expansion of the organization’s budget and expungement classes. Funding will help support participant assistance, the contracting of a facilitator for the budgeting program, and the continued offering of expungement fee assistance based on a sliding fee scale.
  • Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (Saint Mary’s) $4,350: To support their 10-week summer youth theatre experience and performance. Funding will remove participant fees and will allow the organization to hire a production coordinator.
  • Project FINE $8,000: To support their FORCE program. This program serves middle and high school boys from refugee and immigrant families by providing services that focus on career exploration, financial literacy, leadership and navigating growing up in two cultures. It replicates the highly effective program in place for girls.
  • Ready Set School $4,900: To support their voucher program that provides school supplies and clothing to low-income Winona County K-12 families and students. The amount will provide $70 vouchers to 70 children.
  • Southeastern Minnesota Multi-Housing and Development Authority (SEMMCHRA) $7,500: To support the piloting of a Homebuyer Club for 12 households in the Winona area. This program is designed to help low to moderate income households, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher participants, and Public Housing tenants with a more in-depth instruction to the homebuying process. At the end of the program, participants will receive a mortgage readiness certificate that they can take to a potential lender.
  • Winona Area Chamber of Commerce’s Career Academy  $8,000: To support The Career Academy (formerly known as REACH). This program helps southeast Minnesota high school students prepare for future careers in order to provide an employment-ready, skilled workforce for major industry sectors in the greater Winona area.
  • Winona Friendship Center Activity Center  $6,300: To support their Program to Encourage Active and Reward Lives. PEARLS empowers people by teaching problem-solving skills to reduce depression, increase positive interactions, and improve quality of life. Funding will support hiring a licensed psychologist and ensures program operation at a free cost to participants.
  • Winona Health Foundation  $5,000: To assist in the development of a Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program. This is a structured mental health treatment program design that acts as a step-down from 24-hour care in an inpatient setting, and it can be used to prevent the need for inpatient care by offering stabilization tactics for patients with escalating mental health needs.
  • Winona ORC  $3,500: To support the purchasing of a new commercial shredder for their confidential document shredding department. This shredded provides employment for up 25 individuals and over 400 hours of meaningful work each week.

About the Winona Community Foundation and the Community Grant Program

In 1987, the Winona Community Foundation, was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and received its first gift of $2,000 that same year. Today, the Winona Community Foundation has more than $16 million in assets under management in both Foundation controlled and donor advised funds, and grants more than $1.3 million each year.

In 2021, the Winona Community Foundation celebrates two major milestones for their competitive Community Grant Program. The first is reaching over $100,000 in total dollars available to grant for 2021. The second is cumulative giving from the competitive community program reaching $1 million since its inception.

Funds to support the Community Grant program are made possible in part through estate gifts made by Ramona L. Jezewski English and Wilmer & Beverly Larson. Community grants are also supported by individual donors and a percentage of Board designated funds including: the Thomas H. Laken Fund, the Sue & Jack Cornwell Fund, and the General Trust fund of the Winona Community Foundation.

What’s Next for 2022 Cycle 2 for the Community Grant Program

Cycle 2 will begin near the second half of 2022, but the priorities are not currently chosen. The grants committee and Board of Directors will evaluate the needs of the nonprofit community to determine the best priorities for 2022 Cycle 2 Community Grant program.

For more information, please visit

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Winona Community Foundation

  1. We accepted applications that focus on the programming, projects and operations that address greatest needs of the community.
    1. Funding priorities include but are not limited to civic or education issues, health or social services, environment, arts or culture.
    2. COVID-19 does not have to be a direct reason for the need. However, please indicate if COVID-19 is a direct reason for your grant application.
  2. We accepted applications that focus on the programming, projects and operations that address emerging needs due to COVID-19 such as:
    1. Improving mental-health related impacts for clients or staff.
    2. Projects identified as a need to help vulnerable populations.
    3. Support for equipment and tools needed to safely conduct programming or services due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions (new purchases only, cannot be requested to reimburse previous purchases).

Charitable organizations eligible to apply for grants must:

  • Be a 501c3 organization, government agency or have a fiscal agent agreement with 501c3 organization
  • Have no outstanding past grant reports with WCF
  • Submit ideas for charitable projects within Winona or within a 15 mile radius of Winona into Wisconsin

Cycle 1, 2021: The Foundation Board of Directors awarded 7 organizations $50,050 from the Community Grant program, and three other organizations $28,630 from the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The community grant priorities were called Mission-Critical and aimed to help nonprofits move their essential work forward at this critical time. To learn more, please visit

Cycle 2, 2021: The Foundation Board of Directors awarded 8 organizations $68,300 from the Community Grant program. The Mission-Critical community grant priorities were extended from Cycle 1 due to the community need at that time. To learn more, please visit