Twenty local fire departments receive $1,000 grants from the Funders Network

West Central Initiative awarded grants totaling more than $20,000 from The Funders Network’s Community Foundation Disaster Response Fund to 20 fire departments in west central Minnesota.  

“We received a grant from The Funders Network for emergency preparedness activities,” said West Central Initiative’s Director of Development, Rebecca Lynn Petersen. “We’re choosing to distribute the funds to the fire departments that serve our smallest communities. We’re thrilled to help others help others.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic affected funding opportunities for fire departments nationally because emergency management teams had to focus their resources on pandemic response. Fire departments also saw an increase in expenses due to the increased use of personal protective equipment and inflation. 

Grant recipients  include: Bluffton Fire Department, Callaway Fire Department, Campbell Fire Department, Carsonville Fire Department, Dalton Fire Department, Dent Fire Department, Dumont Fire Department, Elizabeth Fire Department, Felton Fire Department, Forada Fire Department, Foxhome Fire Department, Hitterdal Fire Department, Millervile Fire Department, Ogema Fire Department, Sedan Fire Department, Tintah Fire Department, Vining Fire Department, Wendell Fire Department, Wolf Lake Fire Department and Wolverton Fire Department. 

“The top needs in our area are personnel, equipment funding, and training,” said Dave Coufal, Fire Chief of the Lake Park Fire Department and President of the Northwest Region of the Minnesota State Fire Departments Association. “Recruiting new members is one of the biggest challenges that we face as rural, paid, on-call, and volunteer departments. The baby boomers are retiring, and many departments are seeing a decrease in applications.” 

Local residents can support local fire department in a variety of ways. 

“Whether it’s a simple thank you, a plate of cookies, or a donation to the equipment fund, supporting your fire department is one of the most important things any community can do,” said Coufal. 

About West Central Initiative

West Central Initiative (WCI) is a regional community foundation and an economic development organization serving the nine west central Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin and a portion of White Earth Nation. Through philanthropy and planning, WCI fuels insight and action for the benefit of our region and our world. Since 1986, WCI has provided more than $57 million in loans and $72 million in grants to businesses and organizations. Learn more at