Worthwhile luncheon: Lightening the burden for area organizations

At a luncheon full of representatives from various organizations in the Minot area, bellies were full of warm food as grant money was awarded from the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation. The grant awards luncheon took place Thursday at the Holiday Inn Riverside.

More than $450,000 was distributed at the luncheon to support a variety of agency projects in counties served by St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation. The grants will benefit residents in Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, McLean, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville, Rolette, Sheridan, Ward and Wells counties.

St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation is an independent public charity foundation that was set up with proceeds donated by the Sisters of St. Francis from the sale of St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1998. The foundation gives money to promote and support the improvement, availability and provision of the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs for people residing in the 11 counties served by the foundation. The foundation meets this goal by welcoming grant requests from area agencies committed to meeting the needs of residents in their service area. Additionally, the foundation may also identify an area of need in north central North Dakota and fund an initiative.

About 45 organizations received money from the foundation at the luncheon with executive director Shelly Weppler serving as the emcee. Weppler explained what each grant was given for and the representative from the organization would walk up to the front to receive the check from board of director members. The luncheon was sponsored by Bremer Bank, First Western Bank and Trust and First International Bank and Trust.

The five organizations receiving the most grant money include the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, $40,000; the YWCA Minot, $40,000; Domestic Violence Crisis Shelter, $32,000; Minot Family YMCA, $20,000; and the City and Country Health Clinic, $20,000. The grants awarded to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, the YWCA Minot and the City and Country Health Clinic were matching grants.

Matching grants were awarded to area church camps for camper scholarships. Area food pantries also shared in the grant money. Numbers from the food pantries for 2012 identified 1,875 families being served per month.

New to the grant awards this year was a social work scholarship worth $2,000 for a student attending Minot State University. Additionally, five nursing scholarships worth $2,000 for students attending Minot State University will be awarded in honor of the Sisters of St. Francis. Nursing scholarships in the amount of $2,000 will also be awarded to a student attending Dakota College at Bottineau and to a student in nursing who is attending Williston State College.

“As a community health foundation, we are able to help organizations and individuals establish endowment funds that will help meet emerging and changing community care needs,” Weppler said.

For further information regarding the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation, people are encouraged to write to them at 308-2nd Ave. S.W., Minot, N.D., 58701, or by calling 837-1726. People can also send an email to