Essentia Health contributes almost $1.75M in community grants for latest fiscal year

August 15, 2023  By: Anthony Matt

Mentor North

At Essentia Health, we are honored to be engaged members of the communities we're privileged to serve.

That mindset helps us advance our mission of making a healthy difference in people's lives. And it compels us to invest in our communities by supporting projects and programs that improve health and well-being. We've crunched the numbers for our most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, and Essentia contributed nearly $1.75 million to more than 140 nonprofit partners across our service area. These partners reported that the funds they received would impact nearly one million people.

Heart Walk

We prioritize giving to nonprofit organizations working to address social determinants of health in four key priority areas, including economic stability; access to education and healthy youth development; access to right-time, right-place health care; and neighborhood improvements that promote health and safety.

"Providing high-quality health care is what Essentia does best, yet our ability to promote positive change goes so much further," said Tonya Loken, community relations director. "We know that up to 80% of what makes us healthy comes from the communities in which we live, work and raise our families. Working side by side with trusted partners allows us to be more proactive in improving the health and vitality of our communities. Not only is it important work; it’s incredibly rewarding, as well."

Our giving included:

Economic stability

  • $593,499 for housing
  • $202,392 for food access
  • $49,000 for employment opportunities
  • $15,000 for transportation

Access to education/healthy youth development

  • $270,675 for child and youth development
  • $98,300 for education

Right-time, right-place health care

  • $126,829 for mental and social well-being
  • $55,000 for rural access to health care
  • $25,000 for substance use

Neighborhood improvements that support health and safety

  • $168,474 for active living
  • $42,295 for health equity
  • $37,500 for safety and violence prevention

Underscoring the importance of these funds, every organization that applies for a community grant from Essentia is asked to approximate how many people the grant will impact. Based on reporting from these organizations, that projected number is 998,761.

Brainerd National Night Out

Beyond community grants, employee volunteerism is surging across Essentia. Last fiscal year, our colleagues accumulated 18,137 volunteer hours. Every employee who reaches 20 volunteer hours in a year is eligible to select a nonprofit to receive a $100 donation on their behalf.

"It's imperative that we repay the support our communities show us every single day," Loken said. "And that means donating our time, energy and resources when and where we can to make a healthy difference. We're so grateful for that opportunity."

To learn more about community giving at Essentia, or to apply for funding, visit

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