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WAMM will be applying for grant to help strengthen ethnic communities

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Area Multicultural Market is eligible to apply for a community development grant from an organization affiliated with the Northwest Area Foundation.

The foundation has awarded $300,000 to the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders of San Antonio, Texas. The money will help fund a collaborative that will make grants to organizations serving communities with low-income Latino populations.

The $300,000 grant will allow NALCAB and its partners to offer training in resource development, grant writing, organizational leadership, and board and staff development. Small grants will also be available to community organizations within the eight states served by the foundation.

NALCAB is the national voice for Latino-led community development corporations and organizations that focus on asset building.

This award is among the first in a set of grants made under the Foundation's new strategic plan approved in October 2008. Part of the foundation's mission is to reduce poverty and build prosperity in the region which includes Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The foundation awarded a total of 14 grants worth $2.04 million to nationally-known and ethnically-diverse organizations working with community organizations that help build financial and human assets.

WAMM will be applying for funding, said Roberto Valdez Jr., the coordinator for the multicultural market.

"The first grant may be small," Valdez said, "but we may also be seeking larger grants." The relationship with the foundation and NALCAB could help WAMM leverage other grants, including funding from the 2009 federal economic stimulus law, he said.

WAMM leaders have been discussing possible community projects with city officials, but Valdez said they haven't settled on a final proposal yet.

"We believe it's important to provide culturally-relevant training that will increase access to capital, strengthen peer networks, and develop leaders in the Latino asset-building and community development field," said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of the Northwest Area Foundation. "The goal is to build stronger and more effective Latino-led organizations that increase prosperity in low-income communities."

The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by the people in its region to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity.