Blandin Foundation awards grant to Northwest Minnesota Foundation to boost area business broadband use

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn (May 8, 2014) – Blandin Foundation announced today that it has awarded  six grants totaling $147,750 that assist rural Minnesota communities in advancing high-speed Internet access and use in their communities.

Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) will work with area businesses to take advantage of more online resources available through high-speed Internet, with support of a $9,750 Blandin Foundation grant.  This work will occur as part of the regional IMPACT 20/20 Business Broadband Initiative.  

“The generous assistance of the Blandin Foundation will enable NMF and IMPACT 20/20 to assess broadband training needs of area businesses and then deliver courses based on the assessment outcomes,” said Nancy Vyskocil, NMF President.  “While the specifics of the training will be determined by the assessment, we expect that instruction will be delivered on such topics as search engine optimization, social media tools, and various cloud-based technologies.”

The training will also feature a report on best practices recently commissioned by NMF and IMPACT 20/20, called “A Study of Business Broadband Use in Northwest Minnesota.”   Among the findings of the report are that social media tools can be extremely effective in growing the customer base of a business and that the importance of broadband to regional business success will only increase in the future.   

“Rural leaders know that connected communities are vibrant communities,” said Dr. Kathleen Annette, CEO of Blandin Foundation. “We are delighted to see how Northwest Minnesota Foundation is engaging those they serve to explore new opportunities for area businesses made possible by high-speed Internet.”

Since making rural broadband use and access a focus in 2003, Blandin Foundation has partnered with leaders in more than 60 communities and 80 organizations across the state to support sustainable broadband adoption to enhance quality of life and place.

About Blandin Foundation:  Blandin Foundation works for vibrant rural Minnesota communities by investing in community leaders and working with partners to expand opportunity for all residents.  Located in Grand Rapids, Minn., it is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota.  Information on Blandin Foundation grant-making, leadership development programs and public policy initiatives:  


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