Deadlines for physical therapy grants are March 1 and October 1.
Scroll down for funds and eligibility information.

Grants available to community and Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan applicants

The following grant funds are available to both community and Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan applicants.

Abilities First Fund

Individuals with physical disabilities and limited financial resources who reside in Northeastern Minnesota or Northwestern Wisconsin. Eligible applicants are restricted to those individuals who have a primary diagnosis of spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, congenital disability, or other documented neuromuscular or neurological trauma or disorder.
The Abilities First Fund purchases physical rehabilitation equipment and aids that allow those with physical limitations to live life more fully and integrate into the community, workplace, or school.

Van Gorden – Outreach Fund

Eligible entities: 501(c)(3) nonprofits in our community who are working to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities. The Van Gorden – Outreach Fund was established to support and promote new and innovative projects of rehabilitation services, research and education and to foster creativity and excellence in rehabilitation services programming. Programs and projects must show proof of established rehabilitation goals that further the work of Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan Rehabilitation Services. 

Grants available to Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan applicants ONLY

Designated Funds

Eligible entities: Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan departments that focus on the historic specialty areas of the former Miller-Dwan Medical Center, Solvay Hospice House, and Amberwing. Designated Funds have been created through the generosity of numerous community individuals and employees. These funds are used for purchases or projects that assist in patient care and comfort, including new equipment, environmental improvements, patient and family education and staff education. Deadlines dates do not apply. Ongoing applications accepted.

Sarah M. Young Education Fund

Eligible entities: Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan Rehabilitation Services. The Sara M. Young Fund was created to support projects that provide effective and innovative educational programming to rehabilitation patients, family members and/or practitioners in the following areas: library resources, rehabilitation programming, workshops, seminars and educational materials. It was established in honor of Sara M. Young, a longtime staff member of Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and supporter of rehabilitation and services to people with physical disabilities.

Dorothy Ribenack Fund

Eligible entities: Essentia Health/Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and the Essentia Health Fitness and Therapy Center. The Dorothy Ribenack Fund supports and promotes new and innovative rehabilitation service projects that foster creativity and excellence including research, education and facility improvements. It was established with a gift from the will of Dorothy Ribenack.

Albert J. Gonska Fund

Eligible entities: Essentia Health/Miller-Dwan Rehabilitation Services and Essentia Health-Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center. The Albert J. Gonska Fund is dedicated to high-quality, innovative rehabilitation services and programming for children. It was established with a gift from the will of Albert Gonska who as a social worker devoted his life to the welfare of children and their rehabilitation needs. 

Van Gorden – Polinsky Fund

Eligible entities: Essentia Health/Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and the Essentia Health Fitness and Therapy Center. The Van Gorden – Polinsky Fund supports and promotes new and innovative rehabilitation projects, research, and education to foster creativity and excellence in rehabilitation services.

Application Process

1. Check Requirements for Application

The organization must be classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or classified as an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code or have an eligible fiscal agent.

The organization must be located in, or providing services in, northeastern Minnesota or northwestern Wisconsin.

Potential applicants must contact Miller-Dwan Foundation. The applying organization must have a conversation with Miller-Dwan Foundation’s Grants Specialist to review potential funding and determine the proper funding source.

2. Contact the Miller-Dwan Foundation

Contact the Miller-Dwan Foundation office at 218-786-5829 or email Joan Oswald at to discuss your request and eligibility. If eligible, you will be directed to the appropriate fund and be provided with directions for accessing the online application system.

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Reporting Process

How to Report on Your Grant

Miller-Dwan Foundation requires grantees to submit final reports two months after project completion. The terms and dates for reporting are online and in your grant agreement.

Please direct your questions to:
Joan Oswald
Major Gifts and Grants Specialist
Miller-Dwan Foundation
502 East Second St.
Duluth, MN 55805

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