Library News: Library Wins $100,000 Blandin Grant

Two Harbors Public Library receives $100,000 Blandin Foundation Leadership Boost Grant

Two Harbors, Minn.  (November 1, 2022) – The Two Harbors Public Library will use a $100,000 Blandin Foundation Leadership Boost Grant to increase physical accessibility of its historic building.

Leadership Boost Grants were launched to encourage Minnesotans living in rural and Tribal communities to be visionary and creative as they move their communities forward after two years of snowballing challenges.

“The last two years of complex crises have taken a toll on leaders across rural Minnesota,” said Sonja Merrild, director of rural grantmaking at Blandin Foundation. “In times like this, of great challenge and opportunity, the resilience and fortitude of rural people and places shines through. Yet, we recognize the critical need for more resources to move small communities from where they are to where they want to go.”

More than 300 Letters of Interest were submitted for funding, far more than anticipated. Based on the type of requests received, Blandin Foundation opened three grant rounds for Community Planning, Capital Projects in small towns under 3,000 people, and Creative Placemaking. To better support the many strong requests, the total amount of funding available increased from $1 million to $5.5 million after Blandin Foundation’s board approved an additional $3 million in June and a $1.5 million grant was secured from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

“Rural and Tribal places simply don’t get their fair share of funding and resources,” said Merrild. “When we see stats like only 5 percent of philanthropic dollars and 10 percent of federal small business loan funds go to rural, this creates resource roadblocks to future opportunity. While the leaky pipes intended to bring resources into rural communities need a complete overhaul, Leadership Boost Grants are one way we can spark energy and action toward sustainable rural futures.”

The Two Harbors Public Library was invited to submit a full application for a Capital Projects grant.

Funding from the Blandin Foundation will allow the library to update its infrastructure to exceed Americans with Disabilities Act restroom standards. The library aims to provide the most accessible public restrooms for patrons, residents, and tourists alike, on the North Shore. The grant will also be used to improve navigability of the library for patrons of all abilities.

“It is crucial for a public library to be truly accessible, open, and inviting to the public,” said Madeline Jarvis, director of the Two Harbors Public Library.  “This grant, along with Capital Improvement Project funding from the City of Two Harbors, will allow library patrons to extend visits to their local library – and downtown Two Harbors as a whole.”

For more on Blandin Foundation’s Rural Leadership Boost Grants, and to see other grantee projects, visit


Media Contacts

Two Harbors Public Library
Madeline Jarvis, Library Director

Blandin Foundation

Alie McInerney, Senior Rural Advocacy Associate


Scroll to Top