St. Cloud nonprofit to improve access to educational workshops

The Initiative Foundation provided a $62,000 grant to Higher Works Collaborative to expand its learning center and provide childcare and transportation services.

Higher Works Collaborative is one of 15 associations receive grants totaling more than $1 million through the Initiative Foundation’s Transformative Funding for Nonprofits program with funding from the Otto Bremer Trust. Funding from the Otto Bremer Trust is $2 million, and the remaining amount will be used for microenterprise grants or other needs.

The Transformative Funding Program for Nonprofits is intended to help nonprofits recover from the pandemic, said Zach Tabatt, nonprofit development program manager for the Initiative Foundation.

25 nonprofits were selected in March to work with consultants to develop their final proposals due in May, Tabatt said.

Higher Works Collaborative will invest the money in its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center, a space next to his office at 3333 West Division St. in St. Cloud, which the organization moved into in May, said the Higher Works collaboration chief. Operations Officer Buddy King.

Higher Works Collaborative COO Buddy King talks about the plans and features of the new Dr. Martin Luther King Learning Center Thursday, June 23, 2022 in St. Cloud.

“They’re really looking to expand what their organization does by physically expanding and providing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Learning, which really looks, from our perspective, like a really good community gathering space, a place to learning and a place where they can provide their culturally appropriate services in a comfortable place and be recognized as a sort of local hub or community gathering place,” Tabatt said.

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The space provides a cohesive venue for the organization’s various workshops and will include a library – named after WEB Du Bois and with a focus on black creators – a daycare, computer lab and other educational opportunities, King said. In addition to the library, other sections of the space will be named after black historical figures, such as Maya Angelou and Ruby Bridges.

Workshop topics include parenting, health and wellness, end-of-life planning, creative writing and career development, King said. The organization would also like to use the center to support small organisations.

“And so we came up with the idea of ​​calling it the MLK Learning Center knowing that we wanted to create a space that felt more like a community center, that would give our community the ability to come anytime and be educated, right? Whether you’re educated in the traditional way or educated in many ways,” King said.

Higher Works Collaborative COO Buddy King speaks about future uses for new meeting space in the Dr. Martin Luther King Learning Center, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in St. Cloud.

The organization has identified lack of childcare and transportation as two barriers to consistent workshop attendance, so grant money will also be used to hire a childcare coordinator and purchase a vehicle. for transportation to Higher Works Collaborative, King said.

While the space is already open, another percentage of the grant will be used to provide furniture and materials for the space, with a grand opening scheduled for August or September, King said.

“The MLK Learning Center, Transportation and Childcare were our three biggest types of transformative ideas that we felt would help us and our community on another level in terms of being able to serve our community in a useful, efficient and successful way. “, said the king.

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