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Rochester Area Foundation sees high demand for grant requests

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Local nonprofit organizations have continued to serve during this stressful time, but they need extra help to expand and continue their work.

Members of The Rochester Area Foundation have been vetting local nonprofit organizations that have applied for grants this year.

The foundation has narrowed the pool down to 17 finalists. The organizations were showcased Wednesday morning in a Zoom presentation.

The foundation said the funding requests for this year totaled about $1 million. Usually, requests total about $650,000.

All 17 organizations gave brief presentations, and most said they have felt the effects of the pandemic, making it more difficult to serve the community.

Quarry Hill Nature Center requested funds for children's camp equipment this summer, as they also adapt to COVID-19 protocols.

"With your help, we aim to get 1,400 kids back on our trails," Quarry Hill Nature Center Executive Director Pam Meyer said to the panel. "They will be paddling on the pond, fishing off the dock, exploring the cave quarry and forest this summer."

"The Hive" food shelf at Rochester Community and Technical College is requesting funds to buy a commercial refrigerator, as food insecurity among students keeps growing.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the necessity of 'The Hive' food supply and student utilization of the service, with 53% of students reporting and experiencing housing and food insecurity," Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities Rebecca Peine said. "The opportunity to expand this service and provide students with fresh and frozen food items would make an impact on the lives of students who depend upon this service."

Other organizations included in the showcase were Family Promise Rochester, The Ronald McDonald House and Revolutionary Earth Farm.

Family Promise Rochester requested funds to buy a site to provide shelter to families experiencing homelessness. The location would also provide on-site case management services. According to the organization, more than 400 school-aged children in the city are experiencing homelessness.

The Ronald McDonald House requested funds to help with its meal program for families that stay at the house.

Revolutionary Earth Farm is a fairly new nonprofit that partners with city residents to grow produce for people in need. It requested funds to build an outdoor processing location that will include a new station to wash greens and equipment. The plans also include a mobile walk-in cooler to store produce safely.

All of the 17 organizations will receive some funding, but due to the high demand, the projects won't be able to be fully-funded.

To learn about all 17 nonprofits showcased, visit The Rochester Area Foundation website.

Correction: This article has been modified to correct the fact that Family Promise Rochester is the organization requesting funds, not Family Service Rochester as originally reported.

Megan Zemple

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