Community foundation awards almost $40,000 in grants to 8 recipients

The Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation recently announced that nearly $40,000 in grants were awarded to eight recipients in the lakes area. The grant awards were announced Friday, April 28.

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Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation board members and grant recipients gathered at La Barista in Detroit Lakes on Friday, April 28, 2023, for the official announcement of the foundation's most recent round of grant recipients. A total of nearly $40,000 was awarded to eight recipients.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — It was a lively crowd that gathered at La Barista in Detroit Lakes on Friday, April 28, for the official announcement of the Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation's most recent round of grant awards.

Eight grants totaling almost $40,000 were awarded to the following organizations: Detroit Mountain Recreation Area; Behavioral Solutions; Cornerstone Hornets Hive; Detroit Lakes Baseball; Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center; Hospice of the Red River Valley; Laker Prep Early Childhood Center and Preschool; and Project 412.

The Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation has a mission to focus its financial support on projects "to build our sense of community and strengthen our social fabric," according to information found on its website, .

Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation

"We only give to nonprofits — we don't give to individuals," says Anna Schmitz, who currently serves as president of the foundation, explaining that the aim is to impact as many people as possible with the projects they fund. According to the grant application form, grant applicants must be "a 501(c)(3) or other nonprofit, their fiscal agent, or a unit of government."

"To help with the distribution and growing of the funds, we work with West Central Initiative," Schmitz added.


The Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation was formed in 1986 by C. Leroy Larson (who was then president of Bremer Bank), Judy Gifford and Dennis Sherman. It was initially funded by a $15,000 grant from the Bremer Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the Detroit Lakes Jaycees. The original board members raised another $17,000 to raise the foundation's coffers to $42,000.

Current Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation board members include (left to right) Anna Schmitz, president; Denise Eggebraaten, secretary; Mike Stearns, treasurer; Garrett Malstrom and Bridget Penton. Schmitz represents the United Way of Becker County; Eggebraaten, the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce; Stearns, the city of Detroit Lakes; Malstrom, the Detroit Lakes Jaycees; and Penton serves as an at-large member.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Donations from the community are also welcomed, Schmitz noted. Those who wish to contribute may do so through the foundation's website (listed above).

Grant requests are generally limited to the Detroit Lakes area; only applicants within a 15-mile radius of the 56501 zip code will be considered, according to information listed on the grant application form. "We fund capital improvements, equipment purchases and some start-up activities," the application states. "It is not our policy to fund operating expenses, or to fund an individual person."

Each applicant can request up to $5,000 per fiscal year (July 1-June 30), and grant requests are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Application deadlines for each quarter are Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1. Questions and applications may be emailed to , or mailed to: Detroit Lakes Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 13440, Detroit Lakes MN 56502. You can also contact any DLACF board member directly for answers to questions regarding the application, qualifications or review process.

Grant applications are available in two places, at the foundation website as listed above, and on the city of Detroit Lakes website (look under Departments — Community Development). Both locations also offer links for the Long Family Medical and Health Care Scholarship, which is administered by the DLACF.

Long Family Medical Scholarship

The DLACF also receives funding from the Frank and Hildred Long Trust, part of which goes to fund and administrate the annual Long Family Medical and Health Care Scholarship, which is open to students in both Becker and Norman counties.

The purpose of the scholarship is "to perpetuate the ideals of Frank and Hildred Long in supporting and encouraging youth to pursue careers in the medical field in small towns and rural areas," according to an informational flyer available on the DLACF's website.

Frank and Hildred Long are perhaps best remembered as the couple who owned Shelley Island on Cotton Lake, in Becker County. This island was later preserved as a wildlife area through efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Program, the Minnesota Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the Minnesota chapter of The Nature Conservancy.


Frank Long, a Detroit Lakes High School graduate, was a member of the faculty at DLHS from 1939 until retiring at the close of the 1962-63 school term. His wife, the former Hildred Shelland, was born and raised in Ada, Minnesota, and graduated from Ada High School and North Dakota State University. She married Frank Long in Ada on May 15, 1942.

"To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must show proof of enrollment in an accredited educational program, and have successfully completed his/her first quarter/semester of study," the flyer states. "The acceptable areas of study will be in human medicine or paramedical fields (including nursing, medical tech, x-ray, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, pharmacy, etc.). The fields of chiropractic, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry and audiology will not be eligible. The students must be admitted to medical school or an Allied Health Program to qualify for an award. The student must also be a permanent resident, be a former resident for a minimum of six years, or have parents who are residents of Becker County or Norman County, Minnesota. If the applicant lives out of either county, he or she must live within a 30-mile radius of Detroit Lakes or Ada."

Awards are based on "outstanding performance as well as need and dedication to the field of study," according to the flyer. Recipients can reapply for the scholarship in future years, so long as they remain eligible.

The deadline for each year's scholarship is Jan. 31. This year's scholarship recipients were awarded a total of $7,000, according to Schmitz.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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