Otto Bremer Trust

Three International Falls organizations are among many Minnesota and Red River Region businesses to receive funding from Otto Bremer Trust awards. 

Northland Counseling Center, Inc., received $175,000; the International Falls Memorial Hospital Association was awarded $90,664; and the Falls Hunger Coalition was awarded $40,000.

According to a news release, the money awarded to Northland Counseling Center provides capital support to build a new facility to increase accessibility and improve a wide variety of mental health services.

The organization has plans to build a new facility in the International Falls business park after receiving nearly $2.4 million from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The funding is specifically for a new facility and aims to help enhance mental health services in Minnesota, particularly for underserved populations.

Allison O’Hara, assistant director of operations at Northland Counseling Center said there is a funding shortfall of about $1.5 million with the original design for the new facility, but edits will be made to close that gap.

"We are exploring different options with design to make sure that we can close that funding gap and the Otto Bremer Trust award is integral in being able to do that," she said. "We are incredibly appreciative that we were chosen for the award... we see it being nothing but a benefit to the community."

International Falls Memorial Hospital Association

International Falls Memorial Hospital Association will use its grant to replace critical equipment to sterilize surgical tools.

Lynn Skaro, director of the surgery department at Rainy Lake Medical Center, expressed her gratitude for the more than $90,000. 

"Rainy Lake Medical Center is beyond grateful for being chosen as one of the recipients of the Otto Bremer Trust grant," she said. "This grant will allow us to replace equipment to sterilize surgical tools. This upgrade will ensure our continued exceptionally low infection rate for our surgical patients. The RLMC surgery team appreciates the efficiency this new technology will bring to our surgery center.”

Falls Hunger Coalition

The $40,000 awarded to the Falls Hunger Coalition will be used for general operations to provide the community with food while making a positive impact on their lives.

Karina McLellan, FHC executive director, said donations to the food shelf are down and with grant funding always changing, the Otto Bremer funds are essential to the survival of the organization. 

"Grants can be tricky. In the four years I've been in this position, grant funding has been reduced because of the funding (foundations) have received," she said. "Foundations are just like us, they are also trying to raise money, search for donors and fundraise. If their funding is down, then so is ours. We are so grateful to the Otto Bremer Trust for continuing to support our food shelf."

In addition to general food purchases, the funding will be spread out among FHC's food programs including Senior Select and Bonus Bucks, which is a voucher program that provides fruits, veggies, dairy and holiday meats to clients.

Additional information

In addition to the local businesses receiving the more than $1.3 million awarded to organizations in central and northern Minnesota and Red River Region, a Volunteer Attorney Program in Duluth received $30,000 for general operations to enhance the civil legal services currently available to low-income individuals in Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Koochiching counties.

About Otto Bremer Trust

The Otto Bremer Trust has awarded more than $10 million in grants and program-related investments as part of its most recent grantmaking cycle.

“Our commitment to organizations in the region is reflected in the breadth and depth of investments OBT made in this grantmaking cycle,” said Daniel Reardon, co-CEO and trustee, OBT.

The Otto Bremer Trust, based in St. Paul, is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places, and opportunities in the Upper Midwest.

Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $700 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin.

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