MINNEAPOLS, MINNESOTA, US —The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) Foundation, which recently reached its endowment goal of $4 million, will announce its first ever grant application invitation next week.

David Krejci, executive director of the GEAPS Foundation and former executive vice president of GEAPS, said total available funding for the 2021 awards, expected to be announced in October, is $182,000. He said grant funding is available to any organization, institution or individual who can demonstrate competence and capacity for developing and delivery of eligible projects responsive to the Foundation’s purpose to “support development of new and innovative resources for training grain and oilseed supply chain industry professionals that are complementary to the continuing education programs of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society.”

The GEAPS Foundation was launched in 2010 as an initiative to create an independent but GEAPS-affiliated foundation to help support and complement the education and training purpose at the core of the association’s mission. Krejci said the goal was to build a $4 million endowment that would provide “sustainable and independent funding to support development of new and innovative sources for training grain and oilseed supply chain operations professionals.”

To be eligible for funding, projects must be complementary to GEAPS’ professional development program with respect to the following core competencies:

  • Agribusiness environment and management practice
  • Facilities maintenance and design
  • Facility operations management
  • Grain handling equipment management
  • Grain quality management
  • Handling systems and operations technology management
  • Human resources management
  • Process flow operations
  • Property and casualty risk management

Mark Fedje, a plant manager for General Mills and chairman of the Foundation’s governing board, said it has been rewarding to be directly involved in the fundraising work to reach the group’s endowment goal.

“The collective experience, insight, and dedication of the governing board to ensuring sustained success in pursuit of the Foundation’s purpose is inspiring and reassuring,” Fedje said.

Foundation President Cheryl Lansink, who is director of sales for Comco, added: “I have been impressed by the strong industry support and particularly by the many operations industry equipment, services and technology solutions providers that have directly or indirectly contributed the majority of the endowment funding.”

Krejci noted that some 75% of the $4 million endowment was donated by GEAPS and made possible by the sustained success of GEAPS Exchange (its annual conference and expo) in generating surplus revenue from the trade show. The remaining 25% came from direct support by grain companies and industry equipment, services, and technology solutions providers (to see donors, visit https://geapsfoundation.org/donors.

Beginning in 2021, the Foundation intends to make grant money available on an annual basis, accepting applications each spring and announcing award winners in the fall, Krejci said.