Idea Fund


New funding is now available to community members who have attended one of two community meals (September 8 & 13). If you have attended one of these meals, and are now ready to begin your application, please click the links below for further information on how to apply.

For instructions on how to apply, click here.

For instructions on how to apply (Spanish), click here.


To complete the Intent to Apply form, click here.


Below are the projects currently receiving funding in 2018.

Aging Wisely is a new local coalition that will focus on providing support to seniors in the community. Through this funding, they plan to host several get-togethers where seniors of different cultures can discuss health and wellbeing. The goal is to address the social isolation experienced by many seniors in the area, and to help seniors identify ways to be as healthy as possible. LEARN MORE
Bethesda offers many options for senior care in the community including nursing care, short-stay therapy centers, independent and assisted living and adult day services. Idea Fund funding will provide resources to enhance the intergenerational playroom space at Bethesda residential facilities, allowing seniors and kids to interact during visits to family members. LEARN MORE
Cinco de Mayo is a local committee dedicated to the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in Willmar, which is focused on embracing the history and rich traditions of the Hispanic and Latino cultures. Through the Idea Fund funding, the committee will add more multicultural components to the 2018 event, while also providing scholarships to young Willmar community members to support their education.
Community Integration Center is a new, local nonprofit providing transition support to new immigrants. This funding will support their English / Somali conversation classes, along with a week-long event in July that deepens understanding and community connections during both Somali and U.S. independence days. LEARN MORE
The Goodness is a local coffee house committed to being a good neighbor to Downtown Willmar and the larger community. Through this funding, The Goodness will host bimonthly community dinners featuring foods from different local cultural vendors, with a focus on building community and creating space for English conversation practice. LEARN MORE
Iftiin, a local Somali non-profit, provides youth in the community with after-school homework help, monthly cross-cultural gatherings and intergenerational activities that bring together Somali youth and seniors. This funding will support these and other activities, encouraging ongoing community connection. LEARN MORE
Jefferson Adult Basic Education offers community members resources to achieve their goals, including learning English, work skills and computer skills, while also providing citizenship materials. Idea Fund funding will support the creation of a multipurpose gathering space where students from diverse backgrounds can connect and practice their English. LEARN MORE
MN You, in partnership with the Willmar Downtown Development, is a local group that runs an entrepreneurial youth farm to market program, focused on empowering diverse Willmar youth (ages 15-24) by providing education and work experience. Its Youth Garden project was established to create opportunities for youth to develop skills while also breaking down barriers to employment including language, work history and transportation. Idea Fund funding will provide support for these ongoing efforts and the establishment of a Community Supported Agriculture program. LEARN MORE
Partners in Care/United Community Action Partnership* is a joint effort to bring together area resources to effectively and efficiently address the growing needs of local communities in Minnesota, including Willmar. This funding will support the convening of childcare providers from diverse backgrounds, to provide support and education related to creating healthy environments for children, while also helping providers understand licensure requirements as needed. LEARN MORE
Rice Memorial Intergenerational Daycare is an innovative daycare program that combines child and senior care in the Willmar community. This approach allows these two age groups to interact, develop relationships, enhance children’s social development and decrease seniors’ feelings of isolation and loneliness.  This funding will provide transportation resources for seniors and youth. LEARN MORE
SWAT is an initiative focused on engaging students around prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Through the Idea Fund funding, SWAT will create a photovoice project featuring young, diverse community members showcasing their surroundings and how those surroundings impact their ability to be healthy, with an emphasis on the role of drug use in the community. LEARN MORE
Talking is Teaching**, in partnership with the Willmar Public Schools, will launch a literacy program focused on supporting healthy relationships between parents and children, grounded in the belief that talking and reading with children enhances brain development and social, emotional skills through trusted relationship experiences. LEARN MORE
Vela Strategy will support a new cohort of local leaders committed to building their intercultural competence and working together to make changes in their institutions.
The Village Children’s Museum, a multicultural children’s museum and community gathering space, is a newly created non-profit organization with the mission to bring a cultural, academic, and physical form of activity to children. Funding through the Idea Fund will support exhibit development designed to encourage community connection. LEARN MORE

*Funding will be jointly provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
**Funding will be provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation