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BriefCases: $2.5M for nonprofits, a CommonBond grant, and UPS salutes its Minnesota safe drivers

The Blue Cross Foundation is awarding $2.5 million to area nonprofits focused on child health, immigrants. Also: a Kresge challenge grant for affordable housing.

Blue Cross Foundation awards $2.5 million to nonprofits focused on child health, immigrants: Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation  announced that is has awarded $2.5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations “hard hit by the recession and in support of projects … that improve health by tackling key social conditions.”

Launched in 2009, the Resilient Organizations Fund helps Minnesota nonprofits facing budget challenges as demands for their services continue to rise during the recession, the foundation said.  The two-year program combines trainings, webinars and consultation, capacity-building grants and the engagement of Blue Cross employee volunteers.

Grants were awarded in five broad areas: strategic planning and organizational development for nonprofits, childhood health and development, immigrant populations, health policy and employee matching grants.

CommonBond Communities receives $600,000 grant for affordable housing: St. Paul-based nonprofit CommonBond Communities received a “$600,000 challenge grant” from the Kresge Foundation in support of a $21 million capital campaign to expand affordable housing with supportive services in the Upper Midwest.

The “challenge grant” is meant as an incentive to donors to help CommonBond Communities raise an additional $3 million by March 31, 2011. Once that goal is attained, CommonBond will receive the Kresge funding, the foundation said.

The Housing Investment Fund is targeting creation or preservation of 4,000 affordable homes, creating a stable source of funding for on-site resident support services and constructing a new office and housing campus in St. Paul. To date, it has raised $14 million.

CommonBond Communities preserves, builds, and manages apartments and townhomes resident services to help adults get and keep jobs; children succeed in school and bolster independent living and lifelong learning for seniors and people with special needs, according to its website.

UPS recognizes 20 Minnesota drivers with 25 year accident free records: United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) named 20 elite drivers from Minnesota among 928 worldwide newly inducted into its “Circle of Honor.” The recognitions goes to UPS drivers who have achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving.

Raymond Welk of McGregor is Minnesota’s senior safe driver, with 39 years of accident-free driving under his belt. Minnesota boasts 105 active Circle of Honor drivers with a combined 2,989 years of accident-free driving.

Globally, 4,793 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor. Collectively, they’ve racked up 136,091 years and more than 5 billion safe miles during their careers, or the equivalent of circling the Earth more than 212,000 times.

The number of new inductees represents the largest increase in new members in a single year in the company’s history.

Following is a list of Circle of Honor drivers in Minnesota: