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Funds will support the launch of a DEI task force and a DEI consultant serving the St. Croix Valley's arts sector.

[STILLWATER, June 26, 2024] – Grants awarded to two area nonprofits will help launch local Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts in the Stillwater community and beyond. Stillwater Area Community Foundation’s (SACF’s) Racial Justice Social Justice grant program has awarded nearly $30,000 since the program began four years ago.


United Way of Washington County East (UWWCE) will use $5,775 of grant funding to launch a DEI Coalition, comprised of "individuals, organizations, and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds who come together to advance principles of DEI,” according to UWWCE’s grant application. 


ArtReach St. Croix was awarded $7,000 for a DEI Pilot Program for the St. Croix Valley arts sector, noting that many arts-focused organizations are still recovering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ability to hold events and programs was “greatly impacted,” according to ArtReach’s grant application. They also noted that “while artists and arts organization desire to center DEI in their work, they often don’t have access to DEI education and information due to budget constraints or organizational capacity.” With SACF support, ArtReach will house a DEI consultant, allowing smaller nonprofits and individual artists access to the consultant. The consultant will also help develop DEI training materials and assist outreach to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists throughout the St. Croix Valley. 


SACF’s Racial Justice Social Justice Grant program started in 2020 after a group of high school students and alumni of color penned an open letter to Stillwater Area Public Schools leadership. In the letter, the students shared their experiences with racism, prejudice, and othering. SACF board members saw the letter as a call to action, inviting one of the letter’s authors to serve as a board member and prompting a new grant program in support of racial and social justice initiatives. 


The inaugural grant was awarded to Stillwater Area Public School’s Early Childhood Family Education Program (ECFE) for a series of classes on parenting for racial justice. “We didn’t know enough about racism,” said class participant Marie Sprader, who is white, “nor did we know how to talk to our kids and how to raise them to be the kind of humans we hope them to be.”  The class provided an anti-racist parenting framework for parents, who attended the class over several weeks. 


In the years since the grant program was established, the focus has evolved slightly, now encouraging nonprofits to apply for funding to support their internal DEI efforts. This capacity-building approach empowers nonprofits to assess their own needs and identify solutions, creating a more inclusive region to foster region-wide belonging. 


For more information about SACF, visit


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