Big boost for center

Momentum for a new community center in Tracy is building, thanks in part to a $100,000 Rural Leadership Boost Grant from the Blandin Foundation that means more than one-third of the funds needed to build a new center has now been raised.

“We’re very fortunate to receive this; it’s going to be a big help for us,” said Jeanine Vandendriessche, a member of the Community Center Workforce Group, which is charged with information gathering and fundraising for a new center. “I think we have to thank Val Quist for doing such a good job of writing (the grant) — she worked on it and called us to see what we should add… (Tracy City Administrator) Erik (Hansen) helped with statistics. It was pretty much a group effort. We’re all just thrilled to get it.”

The Leadership Boost Grants program was launched just this spring to encourage Minnesotans living in rural and Tribal communities to be visionary and creative as they move their communities forward after two years of snowballing challenges.

“This is a response to a complex time that we’re living in,” said Alie McInerney, Senior Rural Advocacy associate for Blandin. “We have seen rural leaders struggle with some follow-ups with the pandemic and the economic uncertainty that we’re experiencing. We wanted to create an opportunity for leaders to think about what their community needed to move forward and to have some resources available to them to take that first step.”

See more in this week’s paper!