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Braham Area Education Foundation Distributes Thousands in Grants

Press Release:

Thanks to consistent and generous support over the last five years from local businesses,

individuals, and alumni, the Braham Area Education Foundation recently distributed $8,100 in its first two rounds of grants for the 2022-23 school year. The Foundation sought applications from faculty and staff within the Braham Area School District for projects that support and expand learning opportunities for Braham’s students in ways that extend beyond the reach of the ordinary school budget. These two rounds of grants included funding supporting a multi-day trip for 5th Grade students to the Long Lake Conservation Center, where students had opportunities for team-based learning opportunities focused on nature; funding supporting the purchase of a pottery kiln, to enhance creative learning opportunities within high school and junior high art classes; funding enabling staff working within the district’s early childhood programs to assemble home backpacks containing books and other learning tools, to provide the district's earliest learners with educational opportunities in advance of preschool; funding supporting enhancements to school spaces for the district’s paraprofessionals; funding supporting additional materials and enhancements for a resource room to assist students experiencing mental health and behavioral challenges with improving self-regulation skills; and funding supporting scholarships and transportation supports for Braham’s preschool, to expand access to those critical early learning programs. (For more information on how to access expanded opportunities in Braham’s early childhood programs, families can contact Lori Auers at 320-396-5169, or at

The Braham Area Education Foundation launched in September of 2017, with a mission of

providing Independent School District #314 with enhanced educational opportunities and

resources, supporting academic excellence, and encouraging student achievement. The

Foundation is a partner fund of the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, which provides the

Foundation with professional support in identifying educational needs, building relationships

with donors, and managing the Foundation’s investments in Braham’s future. The Foundation’s priorities were developed after the board gathered input from more than 120 members and friends of the Braham community, and its current focus is on building an endowment fund that will provide a consistent and sustainable source of support for Braham’s students long into the future. The development of that fund is off to a terrific start, thanks in part to three successful Spring Gala events at the Braham Event Center, and thanks to several hundred contributions from individuals and businesses in the Braham area and beyond. The foundation succeeded in raising more than $100,000 in its first year of operations, and its assets surpassed $280,000 in late 2022.

To add your support to the Foundation quickly and securely online, please visit You can also contact members of the advisory board if you would like assistance with making a contribution to the foundation by mail or in your will. The members of the advisory board include Chair Tim Nelson, Vice Chair Terry Turnquist, Secretary Connie Gelle, Treasurer Kelby Jennisen, Chris Grote, Peter Hesselroth, Edie Kaunonen, Dan Klemz, Sue Riesing, and Heather Sward, with Superintendent Ken Gagner serving as a non- voting member of the advisory board.

Photo provided

Left to Right: Aitor Leniz (5th Grade Teacher), Tim Nelson (Chair, Braham Area Education Foundation), Terry Turnquist (Vice Chair, Braham Area Education Foundation)

Shandell Harvey (5th Grade Teacher), Ray Abraham (5th Grade Teacher)

Ken Gagner (Braham Superintendent), Peter Hesselroth (Grants Committee Chair, Braham Area Education Foundation)

Photo provided

Left to Right: Ken Gagner (Braham Superintendent), Tom Kingsland (Art Teacher), Deb Kelley (Paraprofessional), Lori Auers (Early Childhood Coordinator), Amie Shockman (Special Education Teacher)

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