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. Since the program’s inception, it’s become an essential asset for local Winona area nonprofits.

By the March 1st deadline, the Foundation received 29 applications requesting more than $188,000 in funding. The grants committee was tasked to review the eligible applications and award grants that would serve the diverse need and opportunities of our community.

This Cycle, the Winona Community Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded 9 organizations $55,240 from the Community Grant Fund. Additionally, there were 2 projects totaling $8,000 that the committee decided would be better funded by 2 different Foundation Funds. The following organizations received funding:

To replace outdated and rusty swings at three of their parks to allow area youth, adults, and families to have safe and quality equipment. The updates include: Cityview Park (1 bay swing set, 1 new belt seat, 1 new ADA swing), North Park (replace all chains, shackles and swings; 1 new ADA swing), and South Park (replace all chains, shackles, and swings; 1 new infant swings, 1 new ADA swing).

Click here to more about the City of Lewiston.

To support their “Pay-What-You-Will” performances by subsidizing the reduced ticket price for three of these performances. This creates an opportunity for all community members, despite income level, to be able to attend a performance.

Click here to more about Great River Shakespeare Festival.

To facilitate 6-session workshops that provide education and support for caregivers, or anyone who cares for someone else, in the community. This grant addresses a need as the HCO realizes that many caregivers in the community may not have the education on important topics that directly affect the health and wellbeing of those they are supporting, or they lack an understanding of the services that their loved ones could rely on.

Click here to more about Home & Community Options.

To update their in-service training education program for volunteer clinicians and students in surrounding areas by providing low and medium fidelity simulation equipment. This equipment expands the ability of the students to learn and practice skills within their scope of practice, including: supraglottic airways, cardiac monitoring. cardiac arrest management, injectable medications, and intravenous therapy.

Click here to learn more about Lewiston Volunteer Ambulance.

To support their 3rd Annual Juneteenth community celebration from June 16-17, 2023. The celebration includes two events at two different locations.

  • June 16, 2023: Children’s Story Hour and Supply Drive at Sobieski Lodge. This event will include a Story Hour read by student members of Our Voices, with snacks and coloring, free toiletries, food, and books to take home.
  • June 17, 2023: Annual Celebration in Windom Park including dancing, singing, poetry, and visual artwork by Our Voices youth. It will also include collective art activities, community resources, food, educational materials, yard games, and more.

Click here to learn more about Our Voices.

To purchase new dry suits that allow the divers to safely dive in cold and freezing weather, as well as under ice, and protect them from other dangers such as rocks, rusty metal, and fishing line. The Dive Rescue Team responds day or night to any aquatic incident in which rescue and/or recovery efforts are needed. These suits are a part of every dive and have not been replaced in over 10 years.

Click here to learn more about Winona County Dive Rescue Team.

To create a new exhibit featuring Winona Lake Park Bandshell and the musical history of Winona County. This exhibit will be installed at the History Center in early 2024 and will be displayed for several years.

Click here to learn more about Winona County Historical Society.

To create a safe, supportive, and chemical-free environment for individuals in recovery. This space offers a safe space, as well as support groups and game nights.

Click here to learn more about Winona Recovery Center.

Funding from Other Foundation Funds

Connect People to Nature Fund

This endowment fund supports environmental land, plant, animal/bird conservation issues. The purpose of this fund is to provide grants for sustainable agriculture; establishing, maintaining and improving pedestrian access to public land; related education; acquiring property of permanent easements for public benefit; programs that expose people to nature and its settings, increases accessibility to nature and/or guiding.

To provide mental health support and skill building facilitated by a licensed mental health therapist through their “Happiness Camps” programming delivered in outdoor/natural settings. This program is geared to support Winona-area youth, teens, adults, and families. This support includes mental health training, relaxation activities, and stress management skills.

Click here to learn more about Dharma River.

United Way of Olmsted County Fund

This fund supports nonprofit agencies serving Winona County, often serving one or all three of United Way of Olmsted County’s key strategy areas: education, financial stability, and/or health. This partnership ensures dollars raised in Winona County are distributed back to nonprofit agencies serving Winona County.

To purchase a rear-loading refrigerator and freezer for their Food Shelf at their new location. This new refrigerator and freezer will allow their Food Shelf personal and volunteers to load food for immediate use in the market space without loading it while customers shop for their food. An additional goal of this purchase is to create a more efficient workspace to benefit staff and volunteers to avoid burnout and fatigue that’s been reportedly caused by the workload in the Food Shelf.

Click here to learn more about Hometown Resource Center.

Creating a Sustainable Future for our Community

At its heart, the Foundation exists to serve as a permanent source of charitable dollars for the benefit of all who live, work, and play in this wonderful place we call home. These dollars come from people like you, who have a giving heart and a love for our community.

By contributing to the Foundation’s community endowment, you are helping to build our community. The larger our community endowment gets, the greater impact we can have on our local nonprofits.

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.

For more information, visit our Grants page or contact our team directly at (507) 454 – 6511 or