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Bremer celebrates non-profit efforts

Heather McAbee, Bremer Bank market manager for New Richmond's office, opened Thursday's community celebration at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-New Richmond.

For the past 10 years, Bremer Foundation has been conducting a "Community Celebration" event to recognize the efforts of non-profit organizations in St. Croix County.

Recipients of previous Bremer grants are invited to attend and tell a bit of their story.

This year's event was held Thursday, April 25, at the New Richmond campus of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. Representatives from those non-profits attending the celebration were then invited to stick around of a "Building Healthy Communities" seminar held the rest of the day.

"We want to celebrate all the great work that happens in this community," said Heather McAbee, market manager for Bremer Bank, New Richmond. "Thank you for all you do."

McAbee said the Bremer Foundation, which owns 92 percent of the three-state banking operation, awarded about $36 million in grants and loans over the past year.

According to Maltee McMahon, non-profit resource specialist for Bremer Bank of Wisconsin, said the funding helped a variety of non-profit organizations, including those who help with youth issues, health and dental care access, literacy, transitional housing, parent education and more.

She said that the Bremer Foundation receives about 1,500 grant applications every three months. Because of limited funding, only 30 percent of the requests are approved for funding.

She said the requests that go unfunded are usually good ideas, but Bremer has to decide which projects will best meet the local needs.

"It doesn't mean they don't like you," McMahon said of the decision making process.

Among the local grants during 2012 were: $164,800 to Anu Family Services in Hudson for a project addressing the current foster care system; $25,000 to the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties, Inc. for health care access to low-income residents; $80,000 to the St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program, Inc. for expansion of services and educational programs; $50,000 to the St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team, Inc. for forensic nurse examiner programs in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties; $40,000 for Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence, Inc. for general operating expenses; $106,352 to the West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency, Inc. for its JumpStart project to fund vehicles for low-income clients and energy conservation programs; $50,000 for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin mentoring program; $100 to The Salvation Army to provide emergency assistance and shelter for homeless families and individuals; and $4,000 to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College to support the non-profit conference held there.