Northwest Minnesota Foundation Awarded Grant Through the Blue Cross Foundation

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) received a $197,800 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation to increase health equity in early childhood care and education. NMF will work with Peacemaker Resources to develop and implement the program, Step Up, in four counties and two tribal reservations: Beltrami, Hubbard, Clearwater, and Mahnomen county, Red Lake and White Earth tribal communities. The primary goal of Step Up is to provide new and existing family-licensed child care providers with improved strategies and techniques for addressing social-emotional behaviors of children age 0-5 in their care. Ultimately, through Step Up, over 1,000 children 0-5 will demonstrate improved social-emotional behaviors and be better ready to learn by kindergarten.

The NMF grant is one of seven awarded to Minnesota nonprofits working to advance health equity through investments in crucial early years of life. The projects all focus on creating greater access to quality early childhood care and education, helping to set up children for a lifetime of good health. A total of more than $1 million was awarded.

“We are pleased to support the great work of NMF — a community partner that is truly making a difference in early childhood health and education. The benefits of this work will last a lifetime, promoting health in adulthood and helping prevent disease,” said Blue Cross Foundation President Carolyn Link.

“We are really excited to partner with Peacemakers Resources as well as early childhood and mental health experts to implement Step Up!  With Step Up, we will be able give many family-licensed child care providers and families the tools they need to help our young children succeed,” said NMF Program Officer Missy Okeson.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public charitable nonprofit community foundation serving 12 northwestern Minnesota counties with a mission to invest resources, facilitate collaboration, and promote philanthropy to make the region a better place to live and work. Learn more at

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation makes a healthy difference in communities by advancing health equity and improving conditions where people live, learn, work and play, awarding more than $55 million to over 500 nonprofits since it was established in 1986. For more information on Blue Cross’ grantmaking programs, visit