Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bremer Emergency Funds Impact Fargo-Moorhead Area

The Otto Bremer Foundation Provides $3 Million to Help Community Organizations Continue to Meet Emergency Needs

L-R: Gary Wolsky, executive director of the Village Family Services Center; James Kappel, executive director of the South East North Dakota Community Action Agency; Sister Mary Margaret Moony, president of the Sisters of the Presentation; Brian Hagen, chief executive officer of Bremer Bank Fargo and Captain Bill Mealy of the Salvation Army.
 The Otto Bremer Foundation recently announced 80 Bremer Emergency Fund supplemental grants totaling approximately $3 million. The grants will enable community organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin to continue providing emergency financial assistance to families and individuals who are struggling with basic needs such as food, warm and stable housing, health care, and reliable transportation.

The current Otto Bremer Foundation grants supplement initial funding provided to these organizations in January 2009. At that time, 81 organizations received a total of approximately $4.2 million via the Bremer Emergency Fund, a joint response by the Foundation and Bremer Bank to the difficult economic situation. An evaluation of the impact of those initial grants led to the Foundation’s decision to provide supplemental funding to organizations in the original group that are able to continue providing emergency assistance and follow-up services.

The Fargo-Moorhead Area received four new Bremer Emergency Fund grants in December totaling $250,000. The four local nonprofits and the amounts received are as follows:

Sisters of the Presentation – Housing Program ($25,000)
The Fargo-Moorhead Salvation Army ($25,000)
The Village Family Services ($100,000)
Southeast North Dakota Community Action Agency ($100,000)

“These supplemental grants are made by the Otto Bremer Foundation in recognition of the continuing economic challenges,” said William Lipschultz, Foundation trustee. “We learned from the initial Bremer Emergency Fund grants that timely financial assistance can enable individuals and families to meet emergency needs and retain housing or jobs. Then, once a crisis is averted, people are in a better position to access community programs that can help them achieve long-term stability.”

The Foundation’s emergency funding honors the legacy and vision of Foundation founder Otto Bremer, who believed that people could survive and flourish if they had help at critical times. While the Foundation is no longer accepting Emergency Fund applications, other Foundation funding is ongoing. Information about the Foundation’s grantmaking programs and application guidelines are available at http://www.ottobremer.org/.

The Otto Bremer Foundation also recently released a report titled, “The Bremer Emergency Fund: Helping Individuals and Families Navigate Crisis. The report outlines the initial emergency fund grants a well as ongoing needs identified by the 81 community organizations. A copy of the full report can be found on the Foundation’s website at http://www.ottobremer.org/.

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