Three local organizations have gotten a total of $25,000 for projects that would benefit the area, including an expansion of a program to prevent child abuse, a vehicle to help deliver food to the hungry, and an effort to keep housing prices affordable.

The funding comes from the Fergus Falls-based West Central Initiative's Community Changemaker Grants, which aim to turn plans to help a community into reality.

This month, the initiative approved grants totaling $95,500 to 15 organizations within its nine-county service area.

  • Safe Families for Children Alliance received $10,000 to expand into the west-central Minnesota counties of Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens and Traverse. Families for Children is a nonprofit organization that has been working to prevent child abuse and deflect children from child welfare, and supporting and stabilizing families for more than 15 years.
  • United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties received $7,500 toward a multi-purpose vehicle to replace the aging Traveling Treehouse and also deliver food. The nonprofit has set a $20,000 goal for the vehicle, which will provide educational programming as the Traveling Treehouse in the summer and food delivery for anti-hunger programs such as Backpack Attack, Food Drops, Stuff the Bus and more, said Executive Director Jen Jabas.
  • The third grant, also for $7,500, is going to West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc. to establish the West Central Community Land Trust. This land trust will serve as a long-term steward of land, protecting affordability and access to housing by keeping the sales price of homes in its trust low. Several Alexandria-area organizations are involved in this project.

New this year, the initiative asked applicants to show how their proposed projects support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Those 17 goals include no poverty, zero hunger and good health and well-being.

WCI has opened a new round of applications for Changemaker Grants, which are open to 501(c)(3) non-profits, local units of government and school districts that serve residents within the initiative's nine counties. The submission deadline is Friday, May 1.

For more information, visit or contact Wendy Merrick at or 800-735-2239.