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.

Initial Action Steps


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.

Donate to the Chamber Foundation

Contribute to the Duluth Area Chamber Foundation to help us support you and continue to effectively advocate on your behalf.

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.

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