The Lake Superior Initiative, a joint project of the Duluth Area Family YMCA and United Way of Greater Duluth, will be awarding more than $200,000 to community and faith-based organizations in the region.

The awards are part of a three-year, $2.25 million federally-funded program designed to build capacity and strengthen community organizations as they work towards their mission of providing needed services to the community.

Organizations eligible to apply include those that serve the following populations: individuals and families experiencing poverty; at-risk youth; people transitioning from welfare to work; people facing addiction or incarceration; and former prisoners re-entering the community.

Financial awards of $5,000 to $15,000 will be provided for program improvement, strategic planning, training, equipment and other efforts to improve organizational efficiency and sustainability. In addition to providing grants, Lake Superior Initiative staff and consultants also provide customized trainings and one-on-one technical assistance.

Applications will be considered from organizations throughout St. Louis, Cook, Lake and Carlton counties in Minnesota, and Douglas County in Wisconsin. Review panels consisting of community volunteers throughout the five-county region provide qualitative and quantitative proposal review. Grantees are selected based on their demonstrated need for capacity-building funding, identified goals and the ability to carry out their proposed objectives.

Applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply along with a readiness self-assessment by Dec. 2. Information and application materials are available at www.lakesuperiorinitiative.org. Questions may be referred to Emily Serrano Rivera, Program Manager, at (218) 726-4747 or email: eserrano@unitedwayduluth.org.

Funding for capacity building comes from the Compassion Capital Fund, which is administered through the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Family Services.