About the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation

The Duluth Area Chamber Foundation was launched in 2022, and received tax-exempt status in 2023, as a 501(c)(3) arm of the Duluth Area Chamber to open the door for state and federal grants, private tax-deductible contributions, and other funding for which the Chamber of Commerce might otherwise have been ineligible. This structure allows the Foundation to direct those funds to where they can have the most impact for Chamber members and in support of our local business community.

Launching a Foundation, in conjunction with a policy and advocacy position, gives the Duluth Area Chamber the opportunity to deepen our impact on our members, business community, and economy. Simply put, having a 501(c)3 arm of the Duluth Area Chamber opens the door for state and federal grants, private tax-deductible contributions, and other funding, which otherwise the Chamber may not be eligible for, and allows us to direct those funds to where we can have the most impact for our members. Many Chambers, especially large ones such as the Duluth Area Chamber, operate with a Foundation. Foundation funds may be used to help support local businesses and the community with initiatives like public policy and political advocacy work, workforce development and recruitment, market based research, equity and inclusion work, funding for the Duluth Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC) and Policy Committee, recruiting and supporting developers for much needed housing and other economic development projects, key Chamber programs like Duluth & St. Louis County Days at the Capitol and Leadership Duluth , and more.

Taking Action, Delivering Results


In the fall of 2023, the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation commissioned a citywide-citizen survey to get a better understanding about the top issues and concerns of Duluthians. Homelessness, lack of affordable housing, downtown safety, taxes, street conditions and workforce challenges were identified as the top concerns. These and other findings will now be used by the Foundation to help prioritize areas of focus for enhancing the community’s prosperity and livability, as well as improving business conditions and growing the community’s tax base. See the full survey results.

Workforce Development Grants

With workforce development named as a top concern, and something we hear often and consistently from Chamber members and regional businesses, the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation partnered with the Wisconsin Business Development (WBD) Inc. to help address workforce challenges in the region.

The Duluth Area Chamber Foundation was awarded $50,000 in Opportunity Funds from WBD Inc. to help address workforce challenges in the NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin region. WBD recently expanded their footprint to include all of Wisconsin, Minnesota and a portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The goal of WBD’s Opportunity Funds is to Grow Businesses, Create Jobs and Build Communities. WBD and the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation are now strategically partnering to help support local businesses, local potential employees and to help connect the two and remove barriers of potential employment.

Workforce Development Grants of up to $1,000 are now available from the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation. The goal of the program is to help address regional workforce needs by helping connect potential employees with employers, while also helping remove barriers to employment, promoting career opportunities of local businesses/Chamber members and helping recruit and retain workforce talent to our region. Please complete the form below to the best of your ability. The Duluth Area Chamber Foundation will work to determine eligibility of each applicant. Preference will be given to applications related to careers at businesses and organizations who are active members of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Preference will also be given to in-demand career fields. Each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are determined to be eligible and approved, and funding is available, Chamber Foundation staff will follow up with you to discuss next steps. Please contact the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation foundation@duluthchamber.com if you have any questions or need assistance with the application. Please also understand that funding is limited and is a combination of funding provided by WBD and potential matches by area employers. Limit one grant per individual and/or a total of up to $1,000.00 per individual.

To apply, please complete the online grant application.

Aviation Advocacy

Duluth Area Chamber Foundation Partners with Monaco Air On Aviation Advocacy

The Duluth Area Chamber Foundation and the Monaco Air Foundation merged in early 2024 to create one unified and effective voice for aviation advocacy in our region. The Monaco Air Foundation has worked with closely with the Duluth Airport Authority and other aviation partners for many years, helping advocate for expanded air service in partnership with the Duluth International Airport. They have also been helping arrange and organize tours for school groups throughout the region to help introduce youth to careers in aviation. Monaco Air and the Monaco Air Foundation have been working closely and collaboratively with the Duluth Area Chamber and Chamber Foundation in recent months on these and other joint efforts, allowing the merge and transition to be seamless. Moving forward, the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation is excited to build on the success of the Monaco Air Foundation as we take the lead on aviation advocacy efforts in strong partnership with Monaco Air, the Duluth Airport Authority, Cirrus Aircraft, the 148th Fighter Wing and other key partners in the local aviation sector. Monaco Air and the Duluth Chamber Foundation will partner on school tours, which have recently include several high school groups throughout the region, robotics clubs in local middle schools and even college programs including UW-Superior’s transportation and logistics program. These tours often include stops at Monaco Air, Duluth International Airport, Cirrus Aircraft, 148th Fighter Wing, LSC’s Center for Advanced Aviation and Lake Superior Helicopters. They are a great way to continue to build excitement around aviation careers and a pipeline of local talent to fill current and future workforce needs.

Military Advocacy/Military Affairs Committee

The Duluth Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee is now housed under the Duluth Chamber Foundation. The Duluth Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC) was formed in 2003 as a community-led effort to help promote and support the vast economic impacts of local military branches. The MAC’s primary goal is to support local military units through legislative advocacy, as well as through building community support through education, fundraising and advocacy efforts.

The MAC works with all military branches and especially with local U.S. Coast Guard units and the MN Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing. The 148th is an integral part of the state and nation’s military network with numerous national performance awards that speak to their exemplary service. The 148th also serves as one of the largest employers in the region and provides an estimated annual economic impact of $112M. Shortly after the MAC’s formation, the 148th was selected for closure through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The MAC unified voices and actively began lobbying for the 148th, engaging business leaders and elected officials at every level. Thanks to the strong community support, the base remained opened and has only grown since. The MAC was also instrumental in successfully advocating for the 148th to receive Block 50 F-16s as well as active association status. For over twenty years the MAC has consistently been effective in advocating on behalf of the 148th, who cannot lobby for themselves due to federal restrictions.

Now, the Duluth Area Chamber and Duluth Chamber Foundation’s Military Affairs Committee, led by Chair Jennifer Cady and Chamber Foundation Executive Director Daniel Fanning, is advocating for state funding for much needed hangar upgrades on the base. State funding would help leverage additional federal funding and would not only enhance safety for members of the 148th but would also help prepare the base for updated aircraft and future missions, further securing the long-term mission and success of the 148th for decades to come. Learn more about this legislative request.

Partnering With the American Red Cross to Support Military Families

The Duluth Area Chamber Foundation is proud to partner with the American Red Cross to help support military members and their family members. Finding babysitters/childcare is currently one of the biggest needs for local military families. So, the Chamber Foundation is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds to help cover the cost of their well-respected babysitting and childcare training certification program to encourage even more to go through the program and help grow the pool of trained babysitters available for military families. Each course is approximately $50 per individual, and covers issues including: Basic Care for Infants and Children, Basic First Aid, Child Behavior, Age-Appropriate Activities, Emergency Protocols, Professionalism, Leadership, and Growing Your Business. The goal is to raise approximately $5,000 in order to cover all expense for interested children of family and friends of local military members to take these courses and become a certified babysitter and join a network of available sitters to help support military families. 100% of funds raised will be used directly for this cause. To learn more about these training, please visit the Red Cross websiteTo make a contribution to help support this cause, please donate online and indicate Red Cross in the notes.

Donate to the Chamber Foundation

Contribute to the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation to help support our local business community, Chamber members and business advocacy efforts.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation online or by sending a check to the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation, 5 West First Street, Suite 101, Duluth, MN 55802. EIN: 88-2181306

Connect with Daniel Fanning

Fanning Headshot

We invite you to connect with Daniel if you have any questions pertaining to policy initiatives or the Duluth Chamber Foundation, and/or if you are interested in contributing to the Duluth Chamber Foundation. With your support, we will continue to strongly advocate for our membership and the business community while working to address a number of key issues that many of you have shared with us over the past year and during our strategic planning listening sessions.

We look forward to working with you as we continue to move business forward in the Duluth area.

Background & Experience

Daniel’s experience in legislative advocacy, public policy, public relations, and building relationships, coupled with a formal education in leadership, makes Daniel the ideal fit to grow our influence at City Hall, the State Capitol and beyond. In addition, Daniel joins us with proven skills in fundraising and nonprofit leadership that will help establish and grow the Duluth Chamber Foundation.

Daniel holds a Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership from UMD, is a combat veteran with several years of military experience and decorated leadership, and has over 20 years of experience in government relations at the local, state, and federal level having worked for the City of Duluth, the State of Minnesota and the United States Senate. Further, he has over 5 years of proven executive experience leading a foundation to historic success.

  • Legislative Advocacy

  • Public Policy

  • Public Relations

  • Building Relationships

  • Leadership Education

  • Public Services