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Funding Big Ideas

When a group of committed citizens, passionate about their hometown, experience the impact grants can have on their community, it's no wonder they strive to provide more of the same.

Two women with silver hair sit in chairs, their arms outstretched and their feet on yoga blocks. They are part of a chair yoga class.
Jackie Ross and Margo Howells participate in a kind of chair yoga, made more accessible via the River Falls Community Foundation's Big Idea Grant

Since 2018, the River Falls Community Foundation (RFCF) has been able to provide a $10,000 BIG IDEA Grant each year.

These grants have helped to establish: Sporting World on Main Street - to help lessen the barrier of participation in sports for families in need; the Big Fun Lab at River Falls Public Library - to provide a winter play and learning space for families of young children; a program of Adoray's Treasures of the Heart thrift store - to create volunteer-made repurposed items from landfill-slated textiles all in support of local hospice programs; Abundant Yoga Community sessions - aimed at reaching groups often missed by traditional yoga opportunities, including those recovering from substance abuse, cancer survivors, teens, and elders.

As impactful as these innovative programs have been, it is the pile of rejected "really good" ideas that can gnaw at those tasked with sifting through grant requests. The RFCF board decided to address the shortfall and reach toward even greater impacts for the River Falls community.

The current River Falls endowment - the Forever Fund - is large enough that its earnings support the $10,000 BIG IDEA Grant, plus a few smaller grants each year. Wanting to do more, the RFCF board set a goal to grow the endowment to fund annual grants of $25,000 - and to do so in time for its 25th anniversary in 2024.

"I am so proud of what this community has done," said RFCF board chair Judie Babcock, "but we can achieve more. We can build an endowment that will support the innovators among us who have ready ideas. We can create an endowment that will support great things in River Falls for years to come."


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