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
Ann Poeschal West
Darren Albrecht
Barb Dusek
Joe Kern
Trina Papenfus
Rachel Ray
Peppi Trontvet
Molly Zahradka


Russell Carignan
910 Hill Avenue
Grafton, ND 58237

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

Grant applications for the 2019 grant round are now available.  Print an application from the "apply for a grant" tab, or pick up an application at Bremer Bank, 910 Hill Ave in Grafton.  Completed applications must be returned to Bremer Bank by July 1, 2019 to be considered for funding.  


*Applications that are incomplete/missing required information will not be considered for funding.

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.


Applications must be received by July 1 to be considered for funding.

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

Russell Carignan
910 Hill Avenue
Grafton, ND 58237

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

Grants shown here are from the Grafton Community Endowment Fund, the Sig Jaglielski Memorial Fund, and the Harry & Merle Stephenson Memorial Fund, all benefiting Grafton and the surrounding area.

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


Grants Awarded in 2018:

  • Christian Unity Hospital Corporation - $2,200 toward Chemotherapy Infusion Chairs
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse Center, Inc. - $1,500 for rural/remote resource accessibility
  • Grafton Parks & Recreation - $5,000 for figure skating on-ice harness system
  • St. Thomas Park Board - $4616 toward renovation of picnic shelter
  • St. Thomas School District - $1,500 for program using technology to bridge gaps in learning
  • St. Thomas Senior Citizens - $500 for building repairs, carpet cleaning and window repairs
  • Walsh County Veterans Memorial - $1,500 for a military memorial in Leistikow Park


Grants Awarded in 2017:

  • Grafton Parks & Recreation - South Complex Field Dugouts - $5,000
  • Unity Medical Center Foundation - Courtyard Improvement Project - $2,000
  • Grafton Education Foundation - Audio Equipment for Grafton Performing Arts Center - $4,047
  • St. Thomas Park Board - Dugout Replacement at baseball field - $2,000


Grants Awarded in 2016:

  • Red River Regional Council - Help with expenses associated with the Ideas to Action Summit - $756
  • Grafton Volunteer Fire Dept. - Fire Dept. Fire Hall Facilities Study - $3,000
  • Historic Elmwood - House paint and repair projects - $1,000
  • Walsh County Heritage Village - Shingle Merry-Go-Round Building - $1,000
  • Angel of Hope Memorial Park - Construction and establishment of memorial to lost loved ones
  • Sunshine Memorial Foundation - Sunshine hospitality room/suite for Walsh County at Altru Hospital - $2,000
  • Grafton Airport Authority - Terminal renovations - $3,000


Grants Awarded in 2015:

  • Grafton Educational Foundation - Purchase books for the Dolly Parton Library for kids in Walsh County ages 0-5 yrs
  • Historic Elmwood - Ongoing paint and exterior repairs - $1,400
  • Grafton Educational Foundation - Audio/Visual Equipment for Performing Arts Center - $4,221
  • Walsh County JDA Foundation - Develop business/organization/marketing plan for the County - $2,500
  • Carnegie Regional Library - Update tables & wall-mounted air conditioner units - $1,000
  • St. Thomas Booster Club - Enlarge elementary school playground - $2,000
  • St. Thomas Park Board - New sign for city Park - $1,500


Grants Awarded in 2014:

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