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The Missouri Slope Area United Way has a $407,861 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, based in St. Paul, Minn., to provide greater support to the nonprofit sector in Bismarck.

Jena Gullo, executive director at MSA United Way, said the goal is to improve the nonprofit sector.

“We need to have the right internal processes and the structure to make sure we’re providing as much support as possible to our community,” she said.

That includes hiring an additional community impact staff member, installing a new software system and offering more comprehensive training to build the skills of the MSA United Way partners.

The new staff member, Gullo said, will allow more time for researching the community needs while the software system will allow the volunteers to view and access the aspects of the investment process.

The grant will also fund comprehensive training opportunities to be offered to all 34 of MSA United Way’s agencies.

“We know donors support nonprofits that run like businesses,” Gullo said. “We want to make sure our donor dollars have the greatest return investment.”

Besides the training, MSA United Way will use the grant to assist agencies in their marketing efforts with more public service announcements, press releases and anything needed by the agencies.

Diane Benjamin, program officer of the Otto Bremer Foundation, said the foundation decided to award the grant because it was pleased with MSA United Way’s idea to improve the nonprofit sector in the Bismarck area.

Benjamin said the Otto Bremer Foundation, which owns a Bremer Bank in Bismarck, is interested in seeing a robust nonprofit community.

“The foundation owns the banks and reinvests those profits in the local communities,” she said.

The two-year grant will be distributed one year at a time with the one-year funding in June totaling about $226,000.

Gullo said the exciting part is that the Otto Bremer Foundation is using the Bismarck program as a model.

“They, too, would like to start being more proactive and work closely with us on this opportunity,” she said. “It will allow our United Way to respond in the most effective way and give donors more trust and confidence in where their dollars are going.”

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Payton Randle is an intern at the Bismarck Tribune. Reach Payton Randle at 701-250-8253 or