Grants up to $50,000 are offered to businesses in counties bordering Canada that lost 10% or more in revenues between 2019 and 2021 due to border and BWCAW closures

Northern MN – Grants up to $50,000 each are being made available to businesses located in counties bordering Canada. For-profit businesses that lost 10% or more in revenues during the closure of the Canadian border since 2020 and/or the 2021 closure of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will be eligible.

The Northland Foundation has been tapped by the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to help manage the process and award funding of more than $2.5 million. The funding and eligibility guidelines were established in law during the last legislative session.

Eligible businesses located in the Minnesota counties of Cook, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Roseau, and St. Louis, and the Tribal nations of Bois Forte, Grand Portage, and Fond du Lac (businesses located within St. Louis County) can apply. Lake of the Woods County and the Red Lake Nation are served by a separate program through the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.

A portion of the state funds are set aside for businesses that are majority owned (at least 51%) by enrolled member(s) of a Minnesota-based tribe and Tribal government-owned businesses located within a county that borders Canada.

Businesses that apply must have experienced at least a 10% drop in gross receipts between 2019 and 2021, which they can show by providing copies of tax returns from those years.

“Countless Minnesota businesses took a hit during the height of the pandemic. Those in the northernmost communities, who are highly reliant on international traffic and tourism, were hit especially hard by border and Boundary Waters closures,” stated Michelle Ufford, Northland Foundation’s Director of Grantmaking. “We are pleased to partner with the State of Minnesota to get some recovery funding into the hands of those businesses.”

Grant dollars must be used for business purposes, for example, to support payroll expenses, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, equipment, and other similar expenses that occur in the regular course of business, or for special projects to enhance business operations.

Applications will be accepted electronically until 5:00 p.m. on January 12, 2024. More information, along with the link to apply, can be found on the Northland Foundation’s website at

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. All applicants will be notified via e-mail of their application status in early March 2024. If there are funds left over after this round, another grant round may open in the spring. However, interested businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. All grant funding must be awarded by June 30, 2024.

Anyone who has additional questions after reviewing grant details on the foundation’s website should contact Michelle Ufford, Director of Grantmaking, at