Grafton Community Endowment Fund

About the Grafton Community Endowment Fund

Established in 1981 to support Grafton area community projects, the Grafton Community Endowment Fund provides a method of receiving funds/donations to benefit projects or nonprofit organizations in Grafton, North Dakota. The Foundation is affiliated with the North Dakota Community Foundation, which is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation under IRS code 501(C)3 and North Dakota State law.

The Grafton Community Endowment Fund is managed locally by a group of volunteers whose main activities are building the fund and recommending grants annually. 

The Grafton Community Endowment Fund has supported many local organizations including the Regional Carnegie Library.

Local Advisory Committee

Russell Carignan, Chair
Dawn Keeley
Bob Meyer
Patty Leighton
Amy Vollrath
Trina Papenfuss


Russell Carignan
910 Hill Avenue
Grafton, ND 58237

Send an Email to Russell
or contact Amy Warnke, NDCF Development Director at 701-795-1531.

How to Apply for a Grant from the Grafton Community Endowment Fund

Grant Guidelines:
Organizational Overview
The Grafton Community Endowment Fund (Endowment Fund) was created to be a resource to support local community initiatives which provide a higher quality of life in the Grafton area.

Mission Statement
The mission statement for the Grafton Community Endowment Fund is "To Improve the Quality of Life for Citizens of Grafton and the Surrounding Area Through Charitable Giving and Promoting Philanthropy."

The Advisory Board has established the following grant guidelines for determining funding decisions. Though the Endowment Fund Advisory Board retains the latitude to make individual funding decisions on a case-by-case basis, these policies generally guide the fund distribution decisions. Grants to religious organizations will be limited to those projects which are non-denominational and support the entire community.

Projects/applicants which have a higher priority include:

  1. Projects/programs which have a broad or overreaching positive impact on a larger group or community.
  2. Project/program development activities which demonstrate the ability to become self-sustaining.
  3. Projects/programs which have or will leverage additional investment for overall success.
  4. New applicants.
  5. Projects/programs which illustrate financial need.
a. Applicants need to show how Endowment Funds will work to address a particular aspect of the overall need.
b. Applicants need to describe other financial efforts related to the proposed project and the success thereof.

Projects/applicants which have a lesser priority include:

  1. Prior grant recipients for similar activities unless a part of a multi-year strategy which continues to build upon success or an overall funding raising strategy for larger project.
  2. Social services operations.
  3. Operational expenses.
  4. Maintenance and deferred maintenance expenses.

To Apply: Download application form and send completed form to:

Russell Carignan
910 Hill Avenue
Grafton, ND 58237

Grants Awarded by the Grafton Community Endowment Fund in 2014

The Grafton Community Endowment Fund has supported the Carnegie Regional Library for many years, including a grant in 2014 for interior updates.

  • Carnegie Regional Library - For Interior Updates:  $2,000
  • Grafton Educational Foundation - For Drain Tile Project: $2,500

Grants from the Harry & Merle Stephenson Memorial Fund

  • Grafton Volunteer Fire Dept. - Costs of Rescue Rope & Accessories:  $1,000
  • North Valley Area Career & Technology Center - Save Our Strand 2nd Digital Projector Project:  $2,500
  • Walsh County JDA Foundation - Grafton Community Center Marketing & Legal Fees:  $5,225


Other Funds Administered by NDCF in the Grafton Area


George H. Bliven Scholarship: The Fund was established in 1981 by memorial gifts from family and friends. Applicant must be graduating senior of Grafton High School. Preference is given to those showing interest and potential in the fields of banking and finance or library science. Applicant must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better.

Kiwanis-William Meier Scholarship: The Fund was established in 1966 by the Grafton Kiwanis Club in memory of one of its long-time members, W. F. (Bill) Meier. The scholarship was later endowed with the North Dakota Community Foundation. The award will be made after the student returns a copy of their first college semester transcript.

laPlante Family Scholarship:  The laPlante Family Scholarship Fund was established in 2000 by Margaret laPlante to honor her family.  Graduating seniors from Grafton High School may apply for the scholarship. Applications must be turned in before April 1. Students must attend the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks.

Lloyd & Martha Haas Scholarship Established with a gift from the estate of Lloyd Haas to assist Walsh County, North Dakota students who wish to study in field of medicine/nursing and who express an interest in returning to Walsh County to work.

Noela Kingsbury Memorial Scholarship:  The fund established in 1987 in memory of Noela Kingsbury by her husband, Harley Kingsbury. The scholarship will assist a graduating senior from the Grafton High School who plans on attending a vocational school.

Theo Torgerson Memorial ScholarshipThe Theo Torgerson Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1985 through the will of Mr. Torgerson who was a resident of Park River. To financially assist students from Walsh County attending a public supported post secondary institution in North Dakota and who will be in the last two years of the educational process. 

Victor & Verna Johnson Scholarship The Victor and Verna Johnson Scholarship Fund was established with a gift from the Verna Johnson Estate in the year 2008. Recipient must be a graduate of a Walsh County High School

Other Funds

Mary E. Finley Endowment Fund for Seniors of Walsh County: Established in 1996 by the estate of Mary E. Finley to support senior programs in Walsh County

Glasston Cemetery Association Fund:  Established in 2005 to support general maintenance of the Glasston Cemetery.

Harry & Merle Stephenson Memorial Fund:  The fund was established by the will of Harry L. Stephenson to benefit organizations, individuals and charities in Grafton, ND.

Historic Elmwood Endowment Fund:  Established in 2005 for the future maintenance of the Historic Elmwood property in Grafton, ND

Northeast Regional Education Fund:  Established in 1992 to improve and promote education in the Northeast North Dakota area.

Save Our Strand Fund:  Established in 2012, the purpose of the Save Our Strand Fund is to provide monies for the costs associated with the renovation/upgrade of the historic Strand Theatre in Grafton. Grants from the fund will be used to update/preserve the historic Strand Theater in Grafton, ND.