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About the Grafton Community Foundation

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

Established in 1981 to support Grafton area community projects, the Grafton Community Foundation 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 Foundation is managed locally by a group of volunteers whose main activities are building the fund and recommending grants annually. 

Local Advisory Committee

Russell Carignan, Chair
Ann Poeschel West
Dan Holt
Josie Lopez
Joe Kern
Trina Papenfuss
Rachel Ray
Peppi Trontvet
Katie Gorder
Molly Zahradka


Russell Carignan
c/o Bremer Bank
910 Hill Avenue
Grafton, ND 58237

Send an Email to Russell
or contact Amy Stromsodt, NDCF Development Director at 701-741-3193.

Since the Grafton Community Foundation’s inception in 1981, the Harry & Merle Stephenson Memorial Fund in 2003, the Sig Jagielski Memorial Fund in 2017 & the Lynn D Ebert Memorial Fund for the Grafton Community Foundation in 2021, over $473,200 in 197 grants has been awarded. Recent grant awards are listed below.

Grants Awarded in 2023

  • SuperGrant:
    • Grafton Parks & Recreation: $50,000 for Westview Pickleball/Basketball Courts
  • Other Grants:
    • Angel of Hope Memorial Park: $5,000 Shea's Nursery landscaping the area surrounding Park
    • Carnegie Regional Library: $20,000 Restoration of Library's original front entrance
    • Fair Oakes Foundation Corp: $13,000 for 3-hole short course/practice green, sand trap & chipping area
    • Lutheran Sunset Home: $18,190 Cycling Without Age
    • Walsh County Job Development Authority Foundation: $20,000 Community Mural Project

Grants Awarded in 2022

  • SuperGrant: 
    • Walsh County Job Development Authority Foundation:  $50,000 toward Indoor Play Center
  • Other Grants:
    • Lutheran Sunset Home: 
      • $12,314 for Cycling without Age
    • Life Skills & Transition Center/Collette Fitness Center: 
      • $10,000 for an infrared sauna & massage chair​​​​​​​
      • $10,000 for a gathering space for all ages
    • Walsh County Job Development Authority Foundation:
      • $10,000 for a Grafton, ND mural
      • $5,000 for the Kid's Alley at the Armory
    • Great Plains Food Bank:  $5,000 for Hunger Relief for Walsh County
    • BIO Girls:  $2,110 for their 2023 program in Grafton

Grants Awarded in 2021

  • SuperGrant: 
    • Grafton Parks & Recreation - $50,000 toward Leistikow Park Outdoor City Fit Station
  • Other Grants:
    • Grafton Volunteer Fire Dept - $2,504.14 Battery Operated Chainsaws
    • Save Our Strand - $3,784.80 Save Our Strand Popcorn
    • St. Thomas Senior Citizens - $800 Chairs with Arms
    • Great Plains Food Bank - $4,000 Hunger Relief for Walsh County

Grants Awarded in 2020:

  • SuperGrant: 
    • Save our Strand - $50,000 toward renovations of the Strand Theater
  • Other Grants:
    • BIO Girls, INC - $740.73 Support for the Beauty Inside and Out (BIO) programming
    • Grafton Parks & Recreation - $5,000 for8th Street Ball Field Restrooms & Concession Stand
    • Grafton Volunteer Fire Department - $2,500 for Grain Bin Extrication Training
    • Girl Scouts - Dakota Horizons - $1,661.27 for the Grafton Girl Scouts Service Unit Outdoor Adventures Project

Grants Awarded in 2019:

  • BIO Girls, Inc (Beautiful Inside and Out) - $1,500 to cover the site fee and participant registration fees for the Annual Program
  • City of Grafton - $5,300 to support SOAR Community Connection Longest Table Event
  • Grafton Educational Foundation - $4,259 to purchase new playground equipment for Century Elementary School
  • Save Our Strand - $5,500 to purchase and install Hearing Impaired Devices and aisle lighting
  • St. Thomas Fire Protection District - $7,184 to purchase safety gear and clean-up equipment
  • Walsh County Heritage Village - $3,603 to install handicapped accessible entrances on the Theater Building

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

How to Apply for a Grant from the Grafton Community Foundation

We have two grant-making opportunities each year:


The SuperGrant  will be awarded in late Spring of each year.  The Advisory Committee plans to award one SuperGrant in an amount up to $50,000 each year.  The exact amount will be determined each year.

Funding is designed to support a broad range of community needs, including arts and culture, social and health services, education, recreation, preservation and emergency services.  Grant funds may be used to start a new project or program or enhance or maintain an existing program.

Eligible applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits or organizations that are exempt from filing for a 501(c)(3) status, located in and providing services for citizens of Grafton, ND, St. Thomas, ND and the immediate surrounding area.  This includes units of government and school corporations.  To confirm eligibility, please contact Amy Stromsodt at or 701-795-1531.  Only one application will be accepted per qualified organization per year.

Applications accepted March 1- May 1 of each year


Annual Grant

Organizations that do not wish to apply for the SuperGrant may apply for an annual grant of up to $20,000. 

Grants shall be awarded only to those organizations designated by the IRS as 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups or government agencies (such as, but not limited to:  public schools, public libraries, park districts et al). Entities not possessing the proper tax status, but working on behalf of a community project may utilize a fiscal sponsor for purposes of completing the project.  Questions on fiscal sponsorship and whether this is appropriate can be directed to Amy Stromsodt at or 701-795-1531.

  • Grants shall be awarded to organizations that serve the communities of Grafton, ND and St. Thomas, ND
  • Grants to religious organizations shall be limited to those activities which are non-denominational and serve the entire community
  • Only one (1) request per organization per year will be considered

Applications accepted August 1 - September 30 of each year

(Applicants will be notified within 90 days of submission deadline as to success of the application)

To Apply for the SuperGrant or the Annual Grant:

Step 1 - Review

Review the grant guidelines above to make sure your organization qualifies.

Step 2 - Register

Create an account on our Grants Portal. You will need your organization’s name, EIN, and executive officer's name. Be sure to write down your user name (email address) and password.

Step 3 – Complete Your Application

After registering or logging in, you will arrive at the application section. Click “Apply” to the right of the grant program to which you wish to apply. If you do not see your desired grant program on the list, contact our office. You will be able to save your application and return later to complete it.

Click here for more detailed instructions and tips for using our online grant system.

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.

Plan Your Legacy

Making a lasting difference in our community or for future generations may be easier than you realize.  With very simple language in your will or trust, you can help the Grafton Community Foundation (GCF) continue to support important projects and programs in our area forever.

Gifts to the GCF are carefully invested by our partner foundation - the North Dakota Community Foundation - to generate a  permanent source of charitable income.

If you have children or other relatives, you can leave a portion of your estate to them and a percentage to the GCF. Doing so provides for your heirs while honoring your charitable values.

Brothers Russell and Dale Brown left gifts to the communities of Lisbon and Milnor, ND, in their estate plans.

Getting Started

1.  Download our free Estate Planning Guide - it contains helpful information and things to consider as you develop your own unique plan.

2.  Reach out to a Grafton Community Foundation committee member to learn more about the charities and needs in our area.

3.  Consider discussing (confidentially) your vision with our NDCF gift planner Amy Stromsodt.  She has many years of experience helping donors create their charitable vision and better prepare for their discussions with financial planners. Amy's cell is 701-741-3193 or you can email her at

4.  Contact your professional advisors (financial planner, attorney and/or accountant) and ask for help in establishing a charitable gift to our foundation.

5.  Make sure your will or living trust is up-to-date and reflects your charitable goals.

6.  Consider notifying the charitable organizations about the gift you plan to leave them.  They will appreciate your generosity and will want to know what you’d like them to do with your eventual gift if it isn't clear.

Language for Your Will or Living Trust

Susanne Mattheis wished to support several different charitable organizations in Bismarck after she passed. NDCF helped her craft a plan that accomplished her charitable goals and provided long-term support to the Public Library, Symphony Orchestra, and five other local entities.

If you would like to include the Grafton Community Foundation in your will, here is some sample language to consider:

“I give and bequeath to the North Dakota Community Foundation (Tax ID Number 45-0336015), a qualified charitable organization under IRS 501(c)(3), located in Bismarck, North Dakota, ___________ (a percentage of the estate, specific dollar amount, or remainder of estate) for the Grafton Community Foundation, a permanent component of the North Dakota Community Foundation.”

*  Be sure to contact your legal advisor.


There are many other ways to make a deferred gift to your community, including

  • Making NDCF (and your specific community fund) the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, IRA, 401K, or commercial annuity
  • Establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity with NDCF
  • Other more sophisticated tools, depending on your unique situation

To investigate options and learn more about how other North Dakotans have given back, visit our planned giving website at