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Community Health

Empowering Health and Well-Being

In pursuit of our vision to empower health and well-being together, Lakewood Health System is committed to providing quality healthcare by being both a funder and a community partner. We strive to be a trustworthy and inclusive leader in healthcare, and pledge to support others who do the work they know best.

Through our Community Benefit Grant program, we can leverage our own resources to benefit the community and make a greater impact for the people and communities we serve. We are proud of our investments and support of community-led efforts that promote the physical, mental and social well-being of all people in Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties, or where Lakewood has a physical presence.

Community Benefit Grant Program

Lakewood, by extension of its Community Health division, awards grant funding to non-profit organizations for small projects and services that eliminate health disparities and improve health and well-being for all. Funding decisions are largely based on grant proposals that target our service area and have the potential to deliver outcomes aligned with our 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) focus areas: to promote access to resources and care, improve quality of life, and enhance the built environments. Therefore, applications must address at least one of those focus areas which are outlined in the CHNA, and more specifically, in the 2023-25 Community Health Implementation Strategy Plan.

When considering a grant application, we encourage applicants to first take the Eligibility Quiz below to determine if the organization is eligible for grant funding. If you answered YES to all the questions, it’s time to review the Grant Guidelines to ensure the proposal aligns with Lakewood’s Mission and funding priorities.

Grant requests are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the calendar year. It is recommended that requests be submitted at least 60 days prior to needing the funds. Maximum grant awards are $5,000, however support typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. Submitting an application does not guarantee your grant funding request will be funded.

For event sponsorships, please contact our Foundation or visit the Foundation page to learn how to request funding support to promote and increase the value of local community events and activities.

Click to download the Community Benefit Grant application.

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General Grant Guidelines

  • Are you designated as a tax-exempt organization under the IRS Code Section 501(c)(3), or do you have a fiscal sponsor who is a tax-exempt organization?
  • Will your proposal address at least one of the focus areas outlined in the 2023-25 Community Health Implementation Strategy Plan?
    • Promoting access to resources and care
    • Improving quality of life
    • Enhancing the built environments
  • Does your organization serve residents in one or more of Lakewood’s key service area communities or broadly serve people in Minnesota counties: Morrison, Todd, and Wadena?

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, you are most likely NOT eligible to apply for a grant.

Lakewood gives priority consideration to the following:

  • Projects that reach residents in Lakewood’s key service area communities, including Browerville, Eagle Bend, Motley, Pillager, and Staples.
  • Projects that align with Lakewood’s 2022 CHNA priority areas.
  • Projects that address health inequities and focus on older adults, ethnic minorities, people with low-incomes, and rural challenges.
  • Projects not adequately served by existing community resources.
  • Projects which facilitate cooperation and collaboration between organizations.

Lakewood will make final decisions guided by the following criteria and considerations.

  1. Grants will be made to IRS designated tax-exempt organizations operating and primarily serving residents in the following Minnesota counties: Morrison, Todd, and Wadena, or where Lakewood has a physical presence. Application from a national organization must focus on local or regional efforts.
  2. Grants will be made to proposals that aligns with Lakewood’s CHNA priorities outlined in the 2023-25 Community Health Implementation Strategy Plan.
  1. Grants will not be made for religious activities.
  2. Grants will not be made for political campaigns.
  1. Grants will not be made for memorials or endowments.
  2. Grants will not be made to benefit for-profit organizations.
  3. Grants will not be made to benefit an individual or family.
  4. Grants will not normally be made for registration fees to charitable races and conferences, or for travel expenses.
  5. Grants will not be made for proposals which have already occurred.
  6. Grants are ordinarily made for a one-year performance period.

Lakewood operates without discrimination as to age, race, ethnic group, gender, sexual preference, disability, religion, or national origin in the consideration of grant requests.

Grant requests are accepted on a continuing basis throughout the calendar year. Completed applications must be emailed to, or printed and mailed to

Attention: Gretchen Bestland
Lakewood Health System
49725 County 83
Staples, MN 56479

Once received, please allow for the application to go through an evaluation process that typically takes 30 days to complete. The process includes:

  • An initial review is conducted to ensure the applicant is eligible to apply, the proposal aligns with General Grant Guidelines, and the application is completely filled out. Applicants may receive a phone call or email from Lakewood with clarifying questions about the request.
  • A thorough evaluation by the Grant Committee, which consists of staff from our Community Health department, will make funding recommendations.
  • Final approval given by Lakewood’s executive leadership team.

Both awarded and declined applicants will be notified by email. If awarded, the Community Health departments will prepare an agreement and provide further instructions to each recipient.

Upon completion of the grant period, Lakewood requires all awarded grantees to complete a brief final report that seeks program outcomes and how funds were used.  Deadlines for grant reports are discussed and agreed upon prior to signing an agreement, but are generally due 30 days after completion of the grant period.

Grantees who do not complete a final report will not be eligible for future funding.