Foundation awards community groups grants for mind-body programs

The George Family Foundation has launched a new program called the Catalyst Initiative, which will commit $3 million over the next three years for mind-body programs in the community.

Foundation board chair Penny George, a philanthropic leader in integrative medicine, said the goal is to keep spreading the word about the potential of mind-body practices.

“Catalyst is grounded in our firm belief in the power of the human spirit and in the individual’s innate wisdom about his or her own health,” George said.

She co-founded the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health in 2003, which has served as a national model for holistic health care.

Suzanne Koepplinger, director of the Catalyst Initiative, said program leaders will reach out to community leaders to come up with solutions that blend today’s mind-body practices with traditional healing customs.

“We aren’t about telling anyone what they need — we are all about listening to what they need, and helping them get there — often through only small seed grants or convenings,“ she said.

Here’s a list of Catalyst Initiative grants announced May 12:

— $25,000 to Altair, the Accountable Care Organization sponsored by Lutheran Social Services, to build the capacity of organizations that serve the long-term disabled, and to enhance mind/body/spirit healing practices for caregivers and clients.

— $25,000 to Centro Tyrone Guzman, to support their Train the Trainer model to build traditional healing practices, leadership and a network of healers in the South Minneapolis Latino community.

— $25,000 to the Hennepin Health Foundation, to conduct evaluation on the Resilience Training Program by Dr. Henry Emmons with the Whittier Clinic and NorthPoint clinical staff.

— $25,000 to Kwanzaa’s Northside Women’s Space, to support community leaders in their “Creating, Incorporating, and Expanding Integrative Health Practices” project, and for the planning and visioning for a Northside Healing Center. 

— $25,000 to the Community Health Workers Alliance, which builds leadership and mental health intervention skills based upon the mind-body medicine model for community health workers.

— $20,000 to the Minnesota Humanities Center and Women Veterans Initiative, to support their Train the Trainer project to build capacity among Minnesota’s women veterans for mind/body/spirit healing and community outreach.

— $22,500 to Open Path Resources and the Islamic Civic Society of America, to develop messaging and toolkits for Islamic mind-body medicine to be disseminated in Somali mosques.

— $20,000 to the Southeastern Minnesota Area Agency on Aging, to expand the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, increase clinical referrals and build local capacity to lead CDSMP support groups, particularly among rural men.

— $20,000 to Voices of East African Women, to support Somali women healers teaching traditional healing practices, and to build capacity for women leaders to shape messaging around wellbeing and self-care among Somali women and children. 

— $15,000 to the Minneapolis chapter of MAD DADS, for the training of core leadership in mind-body medicine training, and for supporting community engagement in integrative self-care practices, as preparation for a sexual health intervention with college student outreach. 

— $15,000 to the Rochester Healthy Community Partnership and Somali Resettlement Services, to support piloting a digital storytelling project featuring Mexican and Somali voices sharing success stories of using integrative self-care to manage diabetes. 

— $25,000 to the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, to support building out mind-body medicine (MBM) in Indian Country work, host Native gatherings on mind body healing, and support two elders’ training in MBM community outreach.

For more information about the Catalyst Initiative, go to