The Grand Cities Children’s Choir is a truly unique organization. The Directors, Staff, and Student Mentors (GGs) provide the best in vocal music education to the singers in the Choir in a safe and nurturing learning environment. The Grand Cities Children’s Choir is a non-profit, extra-curricular arts program of the Grand Forks Public Schools. The activities of the Choir are funded by student tuition, by corporate, government and foundation grants, by private donations, and special fundraisers.
If you are interested in supporting the singers and educational programs of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, please contact:
Greg Nelson – Finance Director
610 Terrace Drive, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Melanie Popejoy – Founder & Artistic Director
2587 Glen Circle, Grand Forks, ND 58201
GCCC Grantors & Supporters
The John E. Myra Foundation – Generosity from the Land
There is a good chance that if you were shopping for home or farm supplies at Viets and Twamley Department Store in downtown Grand Forks in the late 1890’s, that you could run into Grand Forks County farmer and businessman John Myra. John was of medium build with a determined nature and a face naturally weathered by farm life on the North Dakota prairie. Through acquisitions, defaults, and foreclosures, he had become one of the largest landowners in the Red River Valley by the end of the Great Depression. Before Mr. Myra passed away in 1939, he set up the first private charitable fund of its kind in the State to administer his estate after his death. The Foundation was to be incorporated and administered by trustees who would distribute earnings from the Myra Estate for charitable, character-building, and educational purposes to residents of Grand Forks County. The land held in trust is currently leased to local farmers and the income generated from the farming operations is distributed to organizations in Grand Forks County according to the Foundation’s Mission. Since its inception in 1941, the Myra Foundation has awarded grants within the County exceeding eight million dollars. The Grand Cities Children’s Choir has been a fortunate recipient of Myra Foundation granted funds for over fifteen years, generously supporting the tuition assistance and student mentor (GG) programs within the Choir. Myra funds have paid for the tuition and uniforms of dozens of Choir singers since 2003, and also funded the Annual GG Training Retreat held each fall. In addition to providing funds to the Children’s Choir, the Myra Foundation financially helped over fifty County and Community organizations in the past year. Thousands of people in Grand Forks County have benefitted from the hard work and determination of a “Man of the Land”… John Myra. The Myra Foundation is under the Direction of its President, John Botsford.
The Grand Forks Public Schools
Dr. Terry Brenner-Superintendent
Mr. Jody Thompson-Assistant Superintendent
The Grand Forks Public Schools have been an instrumental supporter of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir since before the Choirs’ inception in 2002. The School District generously allows the Choir to use its buildings and facilities for rehearsals, and provides administrative support including payroll services and insurance coverage for the singers and staff of the Choir. The singers in the Children’s Choir have been proud to positively represent the Grand Forks Public Schools in performances all across the country including New York’s Carnegie Hall and venues all across Washington DC. The Grand Cities Children’s Choir is extremely proud to partner with the Grand Forks Public Schools in the extra-curricular vocal music education of its singers.
The City of Grand Forks
Mayor Michael Brown and the Grand Forks City Council
The Grand Cities Children’s Choir has been a recipient of Community Arts Funding by the City of Grand Forks for over fifteen years. The Mayor and City Council have been extremely generous in the support of Children in the Arts in Grand Forks, which has helped to attract families to live and work in the Community and to ensure the success and longevity of Children’s Arts Programs like the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, the Summer Performing Arts Company, the North Valley Youth Orchestra and the ArtWise Program.
Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Foundation
Administered by Park District Commissioners Jay Panzer, Tim Skarperud, Greg LaDouceur, Paul Barta, and Terry Dvorak
The Grand Cities Children’s Choir has been a recipient of grant funding from the Ulland Fund of the Grand Forks Park and Recreation Fund. The Ulland Fund was established from the estate of Peter Ulland, a lifelong Grand Forks Letter Carrier, who lived a frugal life-style, and left his financial estate to the Grand Forks Park District to be used to benefit all youth programs in the City of Grand Forks. The Grand Cities Children’s Choir is one of many programs in the Community that are supported by the generosity of the Grand Forks Park District Foundation. The Choir has used Park District funds in the past to purchase music, instruments, and to build a reserve supply of used Choir uniforms to reduce uniform costs for singers in the Choir.
The North Dakota Council on the Arts
The North Dakota Council on the Arts is directed by Kim Konikow, and is a tremendous arts advocacy resource for the people of North Dakota, and supports artists and programs of all kinds from every corner of the State. The Choir has most recently used grant support from the North Dakota Council on the Arts to help fund the Fall and Spring Concerts held in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. There are four representatives from across the State that are on the Arts Council, and Grand Forks is fortunate to be represented on the Council by Emily Montgomery, Executive Director of the Empire Arts Center. The Arts Council is funded by the North Dakota State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Xcel Energy Foundation
This is a corporate giant with tremendous heart that truly supports every Community that has an Xcel Energy connection. They encourage their employees to become active volunteers in all kinds of organizations within the Community and also provide granted funds to those groups that have a financial need. Xcel Energy has been a contributing partner to Choir Programs and has supported the Grand Cities Children’s Choir with grant funding for over fifteen years, most recently helping to provide funding for the Choir’s “Free to the Public” Concerts held in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Judi Paukert is the Community Relations Manager for Xcel Energy here in Grand Forks.
Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, and the Region is directed by Rebecca Bahnmiller, and administers donations given by Community members along with funds that the Foundation oversees for other organizations. For example, the Community Foundation administers the grant funding allocated to Arts Organizations by the Mayor and City Council. This administration by the Foundation ensures that only deserving organizations receive the funding, that the funding is used for its intended purpose, and that all funds are accounted for. In turn for administering funds like the City’s Arts Grants, the Community Foundation receives a percentage for its administrative fees. The Foundation also invests and earns income on a number of funds that groups in the Community have placed in their trust to administer. If you would like to arrange an endowment or set up a giving arrangement for a particular group in the Community, please contact Rebecca Bahnmiller of the Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region Community Foundation.
Just about everyone has ordered something online through Amazon. If you sign up for AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate .5% of the price of eligible smile.amazon.com purchases to the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, once you have designated the Choir as the organization that you would like to support. The link that will designate the Grand Cities Children’s Choir as the organization that you would like to support is https://org.amazon.com/ch/47-4459955.
We are pleased to announce that the Grand Cities Children’s Choir is now enrolled in Thrivent Choice. Thrivent Choice is a member-advised program that allows eligible members to recommend where Thrivent Financial distributes part of its charitable outreach funds each year. When eligible Thrivent Financial members direct Choice Dollars to the Grand Cities Children’s Choir in a designated month, Thrivent Financial reviews the recommendation and usually makes a designated donation within a month. Please contact your Thrivent Financial representative on how you can designate Choice Dollars in support of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir Programs.
Individuals, Established Funds, & Corporate Supporters
The following are individuals, established funds or corporate supporters of Grand Cities Children’s Choir Programs:
- Bremer Bank – provides the Choir with excellent bank service at very minimal cost
- The Theresa Hood GCCC Memorial Scholarship
- The Mildred Monk GCCC Tuition Assistance Scholarship
- Julie Taylor – CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital