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North Shore Area Partners Celebrates 20th Anniversary, T-Mobile Hometown Grant, and Donors

Though the North Shore Area Partners (NSAP) have a mission to provide support for the aging population in Beaver Bay, Sil­ver Bay, Finland, Isabella, Little Marais, and Two Harbors, they also know the importance of creating an intergenerational space. Their website states that their vision is that all el­derly residents are connected to and supported by our community. “We are connecting gen­erations,” Lisa Abazs, executive director of NSAP, smiled as she addressed the crowd.

“Our focus and our goal is to match the kind of welcoming and accessible space we cre­ated inside on the outside,” Lisa Abazs said during the community picnic that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the non-profit organi­zation, the donation of the building they now call home, a giant check from T-Mobile’s Hometown Grant Program, and all the do­nors who brought the dream into fruition.

“We are recognizing all of our donors who helped,” Keri Johansen, executive assistant, told me before the event began.

“We want everybody to be aware of what a great com­munity we have and how much they’ve sup­ported us.”

The assistance that NSAP provides includes home care, groceries, meal prep, laundry, transportation, public programing, classes for technology, legal assistance, grief support, caregiver education, and exercise classes to name only a few of the many amazing offer­ings. The medical loan closet is a huge relief to many seniors who can borrow a wheel­chair, for example, for free and for as long as it is needed. Other services are available on a cost share basis and, Keri pointed out, “regardless of what the bill is, we don’t turn anyone down.”

The dedication of those who work with and for the organization is incredible. Their hearts are in what they do. They’ve had many vic­tories in the last few years, one of which was the donation of the building which tripled the number of people they now serve and gives them an opportunity to host more events on a bigger scale. “It’s always busy,” Keri laughed as she listed the events and programs that are held throughout the month.

Taking on the building was a blessing but also a bit daunting, according to Lisa. The opportunity couldn’t be passed up, however, and a new goal became clear to NSAP. There was a need to incorporate some self-sustain­ability into the rejuvenation of the building. The recently installed solar panels have al­ready started to turn the electric meter back­wards.

Grants from donors such as the Blandin Foundation, which provides funds to com­munity leaders in Minnesota rural areas, were there to help. Minnesota Power donated funds through their solar grant program that funds up to $20,000 for low-income businesses and non-profits. They provide around $120,000 a year to the surrounding communities. Coop­erative Light & Power, the Silver Bay Fund, Medica, St. Lukes, the United Way, Thrivent, the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agen­cy, and many more were honored as contrib­utors to the project.

T-Mobile, who provided the pizza, was present to hand over a large check to NSAP. Lisa almost forgot that part of the ceremony, so overwhelmed with gratitude. “I already deposited it!” she laughed, as those in atten­dance snapped pictures.

According to T-Mobile’s website, T-Mobile Hometown Grants is a $25 million, 5-year initiative to support organizations who help small towns in America thrive and grow. T-Mobile has provided nearly $240,000 in funding across five cities in Minnesota. The North Shore Areas Partners organization was selected this year and received a check for $50,000.

“This is a part of an initiative we’ve had at T-Mobile since 2021 which is to bridge the digital divide that exists in rural areas across our whole country,” John Loughren, a Man­ager, Senior Market Research Analyst who lives in Minneapolis, told me. “In addition to growing our network and distribution, we also look for opportunities to be able to give back to the communities that we serve.”

In recent years, T-Mobile has set up shop in rural areas and small towns like Grand Rap­ids, Virginia, and Mountain Iron. According to John, “Not only are we able to help people stay better connected, we are providing an­other option for their wireless services, and also be able to provide jobs in the commu­nity.”

“In addition to Hometown Grants,” Dave Maurer, the Rural Market Manager out of Duluth pointed out, “We also have our Con­necting Heroes Project, Little League Call- Up Grants, and special plans for Military and Veterans.” Connecting Heroes is a discount program for law enforcement, fire, and EMS first responder agencies.

Josh Young, Bemidji’s retail store manager, stated his favorite product T-Mobile provides enables people to have high speed internet in rural areas and small towns. “It’s rewarding,” he says. “It’s life changing for those who didn’t have the option.”

Congratulations to the North Shore Area Partners and thank you for all you do for the community. Thank you, T-Mobile, for the big check and the pizza. And thank you to all the supporters of NSAP!

You can read more about NSAP at their website: https://www.nsapartners.org/

David Maurer can be reached at David. maurer@t-mobile.com

Joshua Young can be reached at Joshua. young133@t-mobile.com

Feel free to reach out to me at sarahwritesnsj@yahoo.com with any news we should news about!

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