Blandin Foundation: Blandin Foundation sets new course

Blandin Foundation: Blandin Foundation sets new course Main Photo

23 Oct 2023


When Charles Blandin donated his wealth to serve the people of Grand Rapids and Itasca County 80  years ago, the community around his paper mill looked different than it does today.

And while Itasca County residents have lived through many changes in the past eight decades, today’s community may be facing the biggest changes yet.

The state mandate to end coal production by 2035 will shutter the Boswell Energy Center Unit, located near Cohasset. A population reaching retirement age plus younger people moving away shifts the age demographic and shrinks the workforce. Skyrocketing online retail shopping has negatively impacted local retailers. A critical need for affordable childcare affects employees and employers. The implications of these issues – and more – extend to housing, healthcare, education and beyond.

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