Melrose Fire Recovery Funds Exceed $100,000


Blandin Foundation adds $50,000 to the Initiative Foundation-held Melrose Area Relief Fund to help those displaced by downtown fire


LITTLE FALLS, Minn.--The Blandin Foundation has provided a $50,000 grant to the Initiative Foundation-held Melrose Area Relief Fund to help in the recovery following a Sept. 8 fire that damaged nearly a dozen main street businesses and eight apartments in Melrose, causing about $600,000 in damage.


Those who would like to help can make donations to the Melrose Area Relief Fund. Money raised will help the community meet immediate needs, including support for the nearly four dozen people who lived in the upper stories of the downtown buildings. Donations and contributions also will support long-term recovery efforts.

"We have seen an incredible outpouring of support from the surrounding communities," said Michael Brethorst, Melrose city administrator. "These donations are crucial in our rebuilding effort and give the city the flexibility to address a range of concerns stemming from the fire."

In addition to the Blandin Foundation's $50,000 contribution, relief efforts have been supported by a $25,000 AgStar business recovery grant and a $5,000 Initiative Foundation matching grant. The community of Melrose also has received more than $29,000 in additional donations to help affected downtown businesses and to assist displaced families with food, clothing, housing and transportation needs.


The Initiative Foundation's response to the Melrose fire is part of its Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PRREP) program. The goal is to guide communities to a new sense of normal by aligning civic, faith and nonprofit support systems following a disaster.


"The most important thing right now is to get those families displaced by the fire into stable housing," said Dan Frank, senior program manager for community development at the Initiative Foundation. "The Melrose community has banded together and has been superb at providing for immediate needs, such as food and clothing, but contributions by organizations such as the Blandin Foundation will help to ensure that more long-term needs are met and lasting recovery efforts will be well-supported."


Kathy Gaalswyk, president of the Initiative Foundation, points at the timely and generous contributions to the Melrose Area Relief Fund as evidence of our state's generosity and commitment to helping those in need. "When unexpected tragedy strikes communities, it is organizations such as the Blandin Foundation that step in to help leverage local support that ensures timely and strategic recovery" she said. "We would like to thank the Blandin Foundation, AgStar, the friends and neighbors of Melrose, and other generous donors for their support, and are grateful to the municipal leadership of Melrose for their tireless work to create an even stronger community than that which existed before the fire."


Give Today

  • Make a contribution to the Melrose Area Relief Fund. Money raised will help the community as it works to recover and support the approximately four dozen people displaced by the Sept. 8 fire.
  • To donate to the business recovery fund, or for more information, please contact the Initiative Foundation at (877) 632-9255 or Businesses directly affected by the fire can apply for can complete the Melrose Fire Recovery Fund Grant Application and return it to the Initiative Foundation.
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