Duluth gets $500,000 Cargill grant for flood relief

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 11, 2012 - 8:07 PM

Part of the grant from the Cargill Foundation will be spent to replenish depleted aid programs.

An Eden Prairie foundation has pledged $500,000 to northeastern Minnesota residents struggling to recover from the torrential rain and flash flooding that overwhelmed Duluth and surrounding communities over three days in June.

The grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation is the largest outside donation to the flood-stricken region, which sustained widespread damage to roads, homes, businesses and parks in a record downpour and flood June 19-21.

Of the more than 1,700 homes that were significantly damaged, only 5 to 10 percent had insurance to cover the losses.

"This is a wonderful level of support," Holly C. Sampson, president of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, said Sunday. "Because of this grant, local recovery efforts will surge forward."

Sampson said the grant will provide financial support to disaster case managers with Lutheran Social Service who work to help clients gain access to resources that will help them to rebuild their homes and lives.

The money also will be spent on rebuilding the resources of local nonprofit organizations, many of which sustained significant property damage that undercut efforts to help people with mental health and housing needs.

Earlier this summer, legislators met in a special session to approve $167.5 million in flood relief. The package included millions of dollars in aid to homeowners and small businesses denied federal help when the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which pledged assistance to repair public infrastructure, ruled that the flood damage was not severe enough for individual assistance.

At the time, Gov. Mark Dayton, who toured the flood-stricken communities, said the aid wouldn't be enough to repair the damage.

Sampson said Sunday that, with winter near, the timing of the grant was critical.

"A lot of work has been done here on roads and bridges, but individuals have been very hard hit and the need is enormous," she said. "This grant will really ramp up our early recovery efforts."

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

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