Fargo INC! January 2022

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Nonprofit Tactics For The ForProfit World, Wher to Donate and More!







// JANUARY 2022


17 26

What do you support?


American Foundation For Suicide Prevention


8 Tips For Donating To The Great Plains Food Bank


The Business of Doing Good


Nonprofit Tactics For The ForProfit World


Good For Nothing Is Good For Something


Where To Put Your Money: 10 Small Budget But Impactful Giving Hearts Day Charities


10 Questions With John Machacek: Thunder Coffee


Does your business need a Holding Company?


15 Charities to Support Local Youth


Small Business Budgeting For Success


Get Your Sales Team in Shape


Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: Ruth's Pantry Cart


Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: Afro-American Development Association


Ladyboss of the Month: Annie Hough


Academic Insight: Overcoming Resistance to Change



Sponsored Content: Signs Your Business Has Outgrown Your Bank

Events Calendar







All our stories in one place

Business events calendar

Read all the past issues

Extra video content

E d i t o r ’s n o t e

A Worthy W Cause

e all have things we're passionate about giving back to. The number of charitable causes worth supporting in the community are plentiful. However, in our sister magazine, Fargo Monthly, the cause we highlighted this month is something we can all get behind, supporting our youth. Now, there are many ways to give back to our area's youth. There are so many ways to target and help different segments of the population. You can donate items to a school supply drive, you can help a struggling family financially, and you can even offer yourself to serve in a mentorship role. Whichever way you choose, you can't be wrong. Children these days, like many of us, find themselves in the middle of a very confusing and oftentimes frightening world: pandemic scares, social distancing, masks and irregular school schedules. These challenges are only heightened for the most disadvantaged of our area's youth. And they're dealing with all of these things on top of the very unique forms of anxiety that are the result of childhood and adolescence.

Think back to that period of your own life. Yes, I'm sure they contain some of the fondest memories of your existence. However, nobody can argue that even the "perfect" childhood isn't filled with unique and stressful challenges. Maybe those challenges involved a struggle with trying to find your sense of self while under the control of your parents. Maybe there was too little supervision and you wish there were more opportunities to receive guidance from someone trusted. Maybe you got picked on in school for being different and you learned to selfcorrect, but had to deal with a certain loss of yourself along the way.

have a duty to especially support those children in our community that face the harshest of circumstances: poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, abuse, trauma and mental illness. If we do not, we have failed. This is not to say that there aren't other causes you should look to this Giving Hearts Day, there certainly are. What I am saying is that we should also support our youth, now and always.

Brady Drake Fargo INC! Editor

Whatever the case may be. Children don't have it as easy as we think, even those in the most ideal situations. That is why we as a community

Brady Drake, Fargo INC! Editor







Moore Holding Company

FM Area Foundation

What do you do when faced with a difficult decision? What guidance do you use when multiple choices are ethical but mutually exclusive?

Happy New Year from all of us at the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation. I hope you enter the new year with great enthusiasm and optimism. I continue to be encouraged by our growing metro area and the many talented individuals who help make it one the best places to live. I am so grateful for the philanthropic spirit that so many of our local businesses possess. 2021 was a great year for local philanthropy and I’m predicting an even bigger year in 2022. The FM Area Foundation helped hundreds this last year to give back to the charities they care about. Through their generosity and our guidance, over $11 million was granted from the FM Area Foundation in 2021. It was a record-breaking year and I invite you to come learn how the FM Area Foundation could help you maximize your philanthropy to create a vibrant community full of opportunities for everyone. Giving should be easy, let us help!

Lead Content & Public Relations Strategist

President and CEO

FMWF Chamber of Commerce


The start of the new year makes me think about all the ways people are given a “new start” in life. At United Way, a “new start” often comes with removing the barrier of transportation – simply having the option to travel to and from work opens up a whole new pool of potential employees for businesses in need of a quality workforce, and a whole new world of employment options, especially for those who are stuck in the cycle of poverty.

As we think about all of the past year's accomplishments, this year's goals, and the aspects that make our community so great to live and do business in, we need to also stop and recognize all of the amazing nonprofit organizations in FMWF.

United Way of Cass-Clay

When you give to United Way, you help provide reliable transportation to employees in the Fargo Industrial Park through an innovative, ondemand public transportation service called TapRide. Jenna Simpson, a Human Resource Manager at T.R.S. Industries shared: "United Way has had a huge impact on our employees - because of the TapRide transportation service, many of our employees who previously relied on biking to work or other means of transportation are now more punctual, more productive, and have stress-free transportation to work." As of September 2021, more than 12,247 rides have been provided - that's almost 13,000 moments of impact helping both employees and local employers. That’s the power of community.



Our nonprofit organizations play an absolutely critical role in the health and vibrancy of our community, and their services and contributions can be seen and felt in nearly every facet of our lives. It is crucial that our business community continues to support the missions of these organizations and find ways to become or stay involved. Volunteer your time and skills, go to an event and learn more about what they do, advocate for them, share your network and create connections, or become a donor and help them fulfill their financial needs. These are all meaningful ways to bring our community to new heights. Giving Hearts Day, which is right around the corner, is an effective and powerful way to put your dollars to work in our community. Let's start off 2022 with an intensity and focus on accomplishing big things together!

That’s when you turn to your organization’s mission and values. Clear mission and values can often guide you to the answer you seek, especially amid chaos and conflicting priorities. Being in the midst of a difficult decision is not the time to develop your mission and values; it is the time to use them to guide you. Establish and integrate them into day-to-day work when your organization has a calm and clear mind. Spend an appropriate amount of time, energy and care on developing your mission and values when you are not in a whirlwind, and you can be calmer when the storm inevitably arrives.





Emerging Prairie

The Executives Club of Fargo - Moorhead

Greater FM Economic Development Corporation

A salute to these exceptional business leaders, and active Members of our Executives’ Club of Fargo-Moorhead, serving the non-profit community:

In my monthly “10 Questions With” feature, I generally interview primary sector type entrepreneurs (tech, manufacturing, science, etc. & most of their customers aren’t local), as that is the focus of my role at the EDC. However, lately I’ve mixed it up with some interviews that include more locally-based (customers) businesses that I appreciate for their community-centric mentality – such as Ashely Morken from Unglued and Jeremiah & Rachel Utecht from Off The Deck/ Flannel Fizz. I’m doing the same with this issue, as I interviewed “the Duttons” from Thunder Coffee.

Director of Ecosystem

What makes a robust community? You need the public investment and infrastructure to make sure our community functions properly. Businesses need to create a robust economy and highpaying jobs to ensure high quality of living. Where do nonprofits fit in? Who supports those struggling? Who creates a vibrant art scene? Who works to fill in the gaps between the public and private sector? Nonprofits clearly fill an essential need. Whether it's Churches United providing crucial services for our homeless population, United Way with all their initiatives or one of the hundreds of important nonprofits constantly striving to make our community a place we want to live. (And they often work behind the scenes without due recognition. Let's remember and recognize what makes a robust community and that the nonprofits need to be supported and celebrated as we grow our community.

Founder and Director

Tim Eissinger, CEO, Anne Carlsen Center; Steve Dusek, CEO, Dakota Business Lending; Paul Smith, Fargo Director, ND Small Business Development Center; Amber Metz, Executive Director, Lake Agassiz Development Group; Robin Nelson, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of the Red River Valley; Stacie Loegering, Executive Director, Emergency Food Pantry; Adam Martin, CEO, F5 Project; John Fisher, Executive Director, Friends of the Children Fargo-Moorhead; Beverly Boone, CEO, Boone Charitable Foundation and Donor Development, New Life Center; Stephanie Larscheid, Executive Director, Prairie Family Business Association; Brittney Hogan, Foundation Director, ShareHouse; Jeffrey Missling, CEO, North Dakota Farm Bureau;

Chief Innovation Officer

I invite you to check out my feature later in this issue to get to know Thunder Coffee as well as Dex, Nicole and Skyler. I don’t visit, drink and support Thunder Coffee just because their locallyroasted coffee tastes great and they have a warm & inviting coffee shop in West Fargo. I also support them because of the wonderful & engaged citizens and community members they are.

Thank you.



Meet the team





















Learn more about us at SpotlightMediaFargo.com


Signs Your Business Has Outgrown Your Bank Your banking relationship is one of the key professional partnerships for your business. Your banking partner is responsible not just for protecting and managing your assets, but also helps arrange financing to leverage your strategic plan and provides you with insights that come from working with a wide range of businesses. But your bank also needs to be the right size to support your needs. For fast-growing and dynamic businesses, it is possible to outgrow a bank. How will you know when that happens? Here are five signs to watch for:

Technology that doesn’t support your geographic growth It used to be that a business that grew geographically would keep its business with a bank that matched its footprint. These days, having a bank around the corner where you can deposit your daily receipts isn’t nearly as important as the bank’s technology capabilities. As transactions have moved virtual, your bank should be able to support your cash management needs from wherever you do business and provide you with guidance and service as effectively in a digital environment as if you were in the same room. If your bank doesn’t support that experience as you grow, you may need a new partner.

A lack of expertise in the issues facing your business

As businesses grow, they need bankers who can provide advice and recommendations as much as service. If your business is reaching a size where you are engaged in succession planning and repositioning of equity, complex acquisitions or expansion, or doing more business internationally, your bank may not have the experience to provide the level of guidance you need. Working with business advisors who have been there and done that is a powerful asset for expanding companies.

A product line-up that isn’t as broad as your needs

or a benefits package for your employees as you grow? Some financial institutions might not be able to offer the full range of solutions your business can use. Banking, payroll, and other benefits through a single source can help your business gain efficiencies and operate more smoothly.

Lacks the scale to support your credit or funding needs

Especially for businesses that are making big moves, working with a bank that has the resources and flexibility to support your plans is critical. When you need a larger loan or credit facility, being able to access increased financing in a timely manner is critical. You want to work with a bank that understands your business and vision and has the capability and risk tolerance to provide the financing to make your plan happen.

Not able to anticipate your challenges or properly match solutions Sometimes it’s not that a bank lacks a certain product or capability, but that your contacts don’t have experience creating solutions from scratch or working with a broad array of resources to suggest options that may benefit your business. U.S. Small Business Administration loans are a notable example. Many SBA loans have specific guidelines, and only an advisor with SBA experience may recognize that you are eligible before you even ask.

Finding a good banking match is about understanding your own needs and the capabilities of your banking partner. It’s also about finding a bank you trust, one that takes a personal interest in your business, a broad view of your strategy, and helps you build a holistic plan. Alerus offers a team of highly experienced advisors to tailor your needs to your plan, with a wide range of technology and solutions. To experience the Alerus difference contact us today.

Any bank can provide you with deposit accounts and some degree of credit, but what if you are also looking for a one-stop payroll provider,

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Alerus does not provide legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation. Alerus Financial, N.A. is Member FDIC.

JANUARY 2021 Volume 7 Issue 1

Fargo INC! is published 12 times a year and is available at area businesses and online at FargoInc.com.

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Mike Dragosavich Brady Drake FargoInc@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Geneva Nodland, Grant Ayers

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In this month's issue of Fargo Monthly, we highlight a cause that should be considered important by everybody's standards this Giving Hearts Day, our youth. These are unprecedented times that have created unique challenges for our youngest community members. Flip through to learn about a few charities working to make a difference in their lives. Coming Soon!

Coming soon in February! Coming Soon!

Coming soon in February!





What Do You Support? Nodak Insurance Company "Giving back to the community is a big part of our corporate culture. Each year, we look for more opportunities to strengthen our connection to our communities, whether it’s financially or lending a helping hand. We support a variety of local organizations that address food insecurity, housing, poverty, health and well-being, and education. Our charitable philosophy is two-fold. We want to benefit as many people as possible and make an impact on both a local and statewide level. In 2020, Nodak Insurance supported over 30 charities in North Dakota. Donating to organizations like Great Plains Food Bank, the Red Cross, Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation or Farm Rescue is a good fit for us. They are on the front lines of helping people and it is our duty, as a good corporate citizen, to help support our communities. This year, three charities were chosen for a donation in honor of our 75th anniversary. Those charities–Ronald McDonald House, 4 Luv of Dog Rescue and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, were the top charities our employees donated to during the recent Giving Hearts Day. We took their lead and made an even greater impact with our anniversary donations. Nodak Insurance has a longstanding partnership with the United Way of Cass-Clay. It is a great way to reach agencies they support. We appreciate that our employees across the state can contribute to United Way and those dollars are spent in their communities. Volunteer activities like Day of Caring and the school supply drive encourage teambuilding for our employees too, which is an added benefit. The United Way does outstanding work which makes it easy for our employees to give. Our charitable giving does not stop with monetary contributions. Our employees have participated in Meals on Wheels each Wednesday for the past 20 years. Employees are the heartbeat of our company. They give of their time, talent and resources to make the Fargo area a better place to live."



Jim Alexander President & CEO



Jim roers CEO



What Do You Support? Roers

"At Roers, one of our core values is community. A strong community is important for ensuring future success, no matter what it’s for. We stay involved in various ways with the United Way through different events like the Chili Feed, School Supply Drives, Day of Caring and various committees. We believe in their vision of making the community better and providing opportunities for those in need. We also volunteer with Box of Balloons and Friends of the Children. These organizations are focused around children and provide them such a great experience, uplifting them whether it's for a special occasion or for a long period of time as a mentor. Making a positive impact on children can lead them to great possibilities as they grow older and become active in our community. It’s so important to give back by giving our time to those who give back to the community directly. Giving back and giving often, is what Roers believes in."

What Do You Support? Two Men and a Truck

"In her first year of business, Founder Mary Ellen Sheets made $1,000 profit and donated $100 to 10 local charities in Lansing, Michigan. Since then, Two Men and a Truck has made a core value out of “Giving Back To the Community.” Through fulfilling this core value, we’ve come across many non-profits that have been amazing to work with and have inspired us to continue giving. Three that stick out are the YWCA, Furniture Mission of the Red River Valley and Open Doors-65. We are very proud of our partnership with the YWCA, who’s mission “... is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” The YWCA supports victims of abuse and poverty when they need it most. The staff there is all very compassionate and works hard in their representation of these ladies! YWCA offers many kinds of assistance aimed at helping women live free and happy, and we’re honored to donate the items from our Mover’s for Moms campaign to them every year. Furniture Mission of the Red River Valley is a faith-based non-profit that has a very cool mission. They accept donations of lightly used furniture and then warehouse it to be regifted to people coming out of crisis. They are supporters of the YWCA, providing furniture for people’s first apartment after escaping traumatic situations. They have also gifted furniture for victims of fires and floods. They have been an amazing resource for us and our customers as well by providing an alternative to sending items to the landfill. Another charity that we’ve had the opportunity to get to know is Open Doors-65. They provide “…hope and help to those in need, serving people of all ages and backgrounds," and do their best “…to be a blessing to everyone who comes through our doors.” We were able to see them in action and were very impressed with how kind everyone there is. Like Furniture Mission, they too collect donated items to be regifted or sold at the thrift store. Earlier this year we had the pleasure of moving them into a new space, and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve with the new space!"




Josh Hutchins Franchise Owner



Nick Killoran founder



What Do You Support? Great North Insurance Services

"We support a number of local non-profits financially, through volunteerism and sharing their message in our agency or through our social platforms. We are committed to non-profits that support local families in our community. We also believe in reviewing the financials of the non-profits that we financially support to ensure that expenses are not administratively heavy. We want to be sure the dollars we invest in local organizations are reaching those in the most need. A few of the non-profits we support are the YWCA Cass-Clay, The Great North Pole, The Great Plains Food Bank, Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI), and the Little Red Reading Bus of West Fargo. These organizations promote education, help with basic needs and support some of the most vulnerable in our community. There are so many amazing opportunities to give/invest in the counties of Cass and Clay. One of our team’s favorite days of the year is in February. We love the energy that comes from so many community members, businesses and individuals alike, during Giving Hearts Day. The Impact Foundation does such an amazing job boosting the efforts of our non-profit organizations and so many other community partners during Giving Hearts Day. The energy and sense of community they provide are others reasons to give. We are moved by the efforts of so many throughout the year."



What Do You Support? Office Sign Company

United Way of Cass Clay


We have chosen to support the important work of United Way of Cass-Clay as their mission is directed at the improvement of our community for long-term and sustainable change. We appreciate United Way's core focus of empowering individuals from all walks of life. Their work directly impacts our community by giving backpacks to our children's classrooms, helping our neighbors be independent and reducing homelessness and hunger. We appreciate the opportunity to support their mission of lifting up community members to succeed. United Way's focus of coming together to change our community inspires us to become further involved each year, and we have been grateful to be a part of their work as a Live United Sponsor. We truly appreciate the opportunity for our team to engage with and support their mission in many ways, from volunteering our time to pack backpacks to producing the LIVE UNITED t-shirts to our internal donation drives.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley has always been incredibly important to us, as their support and resources are crucial to families during their children's medical journies. Their team's focus is on creating a home environment and feelings of comfort to aide families in some of their toughest times. Our team has been able to feel the impact of the Ronald McDonald House firsthand, as we have had family members utilize their resources. This direct connection has strengthened our ties to this important cause, and we have always appreciated the opportunity to volunteer to cook meals for families or add signage to create a more welcoming environment. Their focus on instilling hope and ensuring all aspects of life are supported inspires our team and excites us to get involved whenever we can. We are grateful to be a longstanding supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley, acting as their Official Sign Sponsor for over 5 years.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River



Dakota Medical

Foundation – Giving Hearts Day The team over at the Dakota Medical Foundation is truly impacting our community by uplifting non-profits and acting as facilitators to connect nonprofits with resources and individuals. We enjoy the partnership with DMF, as they have been able to dynamically connect us with causes in and outside of the Fargo-Moorhead area. Their ability to energize non-profits of all sizes has inspired us to get further involved each year. We have always prioritized giving back to the Fargo-Moorhead community, but have grown to support causes across the region as we have continued to grow. We recognize the continued substantial growth that Giving Hearts Day has each year in donation dollars and donors and are excited to see what is in store for our region in 2022 and beyond. Dakota Medical Foundation and Giving Hearts Day has been a cause that I am heavily involved with personally, as I have been able to impact causes close to my heart, such as Make-A-Wish North Dakota, while connecting with many great individuals in our community. This has allowed me and other team members to become further engaged in our community, and we are grateful to be living in a region that highly values generosity and giving back. Alzheimer's Association With countless options for giving back, we always want to prioritize causes that directly impact our team and their families. We have grown connected with the Alzheimer's Association through team members who have had family members who have suffered from Alzheimer's. This was the initial connection to the cause, but it has been great to see how our partnership

impacts their work in different ways. For example, our partnership with Alzheimer's Association allows us to utilize our expertise and time to maximize our impact while supporting the causes that directly affect our team members. Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce We choose to continue to support the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, whose essential mission of building a more cohesive and empowered community amplifies the efforts of companies across the area. Their community-building efforts have strengthened our area, enabling growth from small businesses to larger corporations. We have been able to utilize the Chamber's resources to positively impact our team and organization, and are grateful to be integrated into many components of their work. Their ability to cultivate community, build connections between businesses and provide leadership development opportunities continue to strengthen our community's companies and individuals. The Chamber has been vital for our area's involvement with local and state legislation to continue to improve our livelihood and those of our neighbors. We have been grateful to partner with the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce as a Community Builder, and we have continued to lean on their team to better improve our business and connect with other important community efforts and members.

Tate Hovland President



ccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 47,511 Americans died by suicide in 2019. In North Dakota in 2020, we had the 17th highest rate of suicide in the country. The North Dakota chapter for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is working to lower both of those numbers through education and community awareness. America Foundation for Suicide Prevention's mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.





8 It’s always a good time to give back to the community, but with Giving Hearts Day around the corner some might be more driven to do what they can. We talked to Great Plains Food Bank, North Dakota’s only food bank, to see what donation items may be needed in our communities. Jared Slinde, communications manager at Great Plains Food Bank, explained that over time the food bank has shifted its model from giving the communities food, to giving the communities nutritional and healthy food. But they don’t just work to reduce food insecurity, they also take donations for household and hygiene products—which are always highly appreciated. We created a guide to help you donate in the best way possible for our community.

1. High protein items

Peanut butter, canned meats and even soups and chili can provide necessary protein.



2. Boxed meals, cereals, grains

Rice, pasta and instant potatoes are filling and great non-perishable items.


3. Produce

Canned fruits and vegetables are common donations. If you garden and find you have a few extra peppers or potatoes than you planned, Great Plains Food Bank will take those as well. They have worked to increase the amount of fresh produce available.

of the food they distribute is fresh produce.

4. Paper products and cleaning supplies These are easy, non-food items to donate, and they can go a long way.

Great Plains Food Bank works with different businesses and the public to take in excess food and get it to different food pantries and programs to ensure it's distributed to those in need.

There are other ways to help. You hear it often, volunteer. Jared explained that they can accommodate many types of groups who volunteer at their Fargo warehouse. Whereas some places can’t work with a 3-year-old volunteer, the food bank can take very young volunteers and the kids can do great work. Finally, monetary donations will always be helpful to nonprofit organizations like the Great Plains Food Bank. Learn more about ways to help at greatplainsfoodbank.org, and consider supporting the food bank as part of this year’s Giving Hearts Day.

5. Diapers

Diapers are essential and, unfortunately, costly. Jared explained that diapers “go like hotcakes” from the warehouse and are always, ALWAYS a great thing to donate. In saying that, the food bank cannot accept baby food or formula.

6. Personal hygiene products

Products like shampoo, soap, shaving cream, etc. are always needed, they must be unopened and separate from food donations.

7. Avoid glass

Your donations should be in non-glass containers in order to help keep the volunteers safe.

8. Think outside the box

Think about things that you would need, according to Jared, the food bank will find a home for a lot of different things. He even said the food bank will take leftover Halloween candy—no matter who you are, a piece of candy can bring a smile to your face.



Doing Good The Fargo-Moorhead community has always stepped up when needs arise. From filling sandbags to protect local neighborhoods during flood season, to filling backpacks full of supplies for children getting ready for school, to filling the Fargo Dome with food for those in need, this region gets it. Employees, leaders and investors have a unique desire in common: making an impact while making a business grow. It’s a philosophy that many in our business community have embraced to use their gifts and success to improve the lives of those around them.

Patrick Kirby, Founder of Do Good Better Consulting, has spent over a decade working in almost every role of the nonprofit world.

Without realizing it, our local businesses have been practicing the African philosophy of ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.” We get to witness amazing acts of kindness, compassion and philanthropic leadership that help combat current social challenges, and facing it together, we get to realize a better future for us all.

That’s why the future of business is giving back.

It’s pretty neat how no matter how far apart we might be politically or socially, we rally close together under the same banner when needed: doing good for others.

Do businesses really seek out and invest time, talent and treasure into causes simply because it feels great to those that work there?

The countless businesses that care and show genuine empathy and understanding for what people are enduring are playing the long game in developing their companies.

Turns out, the answer is a resounding YES.

But what if supporting, partnering and cheerleading nonprofit organizations was more than just part of a marketing plan to attract new customers and increase the bottom line? What if dedicating people and fiscal fire power to help solve some of our regional challenges was a bonus benefit used to recruit and retain skilled and passionate employees? Relationships built on a foundation of aligned values and organizations creates a unique bond between company and customer.



Whether it is the innate way that helping others is seemingly ingrained in our Midwest culture, or the way giving back warms the soul in a place where we freeze our faces off six months out of the year, the business community has created a roadmap for embedding philanthropy into their day-to-day operations. From empowering employees to seek out volunteer opportunities to leveraging their influence, brand awareness and customer base to increase donations and visibility to organizations, local businesses have made it their business to do good in their community.

Vivian Fellman, Founder of Kota Botanics

Small Business. Big Heart. When your business model is helping others on their wellness journey, you better believe that model involves a passion giving back. Vivian Fellman, Founder of Kota Botanics, has seen firsthand how her CBD products change the lives of individuals who stop into her storefront. Her drive to help outside of her business is as natural as the merchandise she sells. “I try to say ‘yes’ to as many individuals seeking gifts or donations as possible,” Vivian says. “Generosity has always been something I want this business to be associated with.”

House or No Kid Hungry sets the tone for the type of impact we strive to make every day.” Listening to her speak about how much joy donating time and effort to her nonprofits of choice is a mirrored passion of her talking about her storefront. If a business’s philanthropy philosophy is any indication of what sort of customer or employee experience you will have when buying from or working for a company, you’ll find no better authentic roadmap on how to conduct your venture than Kota Botanics.

Vivian recalled a young mother whose child was suffering from a rare debilitating disease that caused incredible anguish. The mental strain of the mom watching her son with no way to help was too much. So, without hesitation, she and her team put together a customized, wide ranging series of products to help the family find relief, calm and comfort to give light to this mother’s darkest, anxiety-ridden chapter of life. People first. Whether they are customers or not. “Hearing about children suffering needlessly–whether it is hunger or medical issues–is at the heart of my passion,” Vivian continued. “Giving back to organizations like Ronald McDonald



Real(tor) Impact Should a company be concerned when the general public seemingly expects a business to give back to the community because they have done it for so long, so passionately, and so impactfully, that it just becomes the norm?

“The passion he had for this mission, combined with the opportunity to leverage leaders who got to witness his enthusiasm, helped propel the total fundraising to nearly $300,000 in one night,” Erik said. “It was unreal.”


What an amazing community we live in that this type of generosity is seemingly the norm, and what an incredible business model that helps facilitate such giving.

Unless your name is Erik Hatch, Founder of Hatch Realty. In that case, you’re right where you wanted to be when you set out to live your business philosophy of passionate servant leadership to help others succeed in order for them to be able to donate generously. “We don’t just talk about a culture of generosity,” Erik said. “We live it.” A perfect example of Hatch’s culture takes place yearly at his leadership conferences. Real estate professionals from across the United States descend upon Fargo to learn the skills necessary to build better relationships with customers and employees alike. The theme of giving back is woven into each speaker, breakout session and break. “Everyone has natural talents and gifts meant to amplify their life and others,” Erik said. His company puts that to the test. “In the middle of our event, we host a fundraiser to raise money for a local charity. This year, we worked with Unseen– an organization helping save children from global trafficking, and one that aligns closely with our company’s values,” Erik recalls. “One of our team members, when prompted to donate to the cause, raised his hand for an amount that equaled 1/10th of his annual salary. And challenged others to match him dollar for dollar.”



Erik Hatch, Founder of Hatch Realty

Fields of Opportunities One of the largest names in agriculture has been cultivating a culture of giving since their inception over 15 years ago. And like the seeds they produce for the global breadbasket, a lot of the good is done under the surface and behind the scenes.

Keith Peltier, President, Proseed

What started out as giving Christmas presents to partner dealers, turned into donating directly to charities of their choice. “We started by simply giving gifts for the sake of just doing it,” Keith Peltier, CEO/President of Proseed, said. “But when we shifted our focus to help others maximize impact in local communities, giving became more important, fun and fulfilling. Each year, Proseed donates to a nonprofit organization that each dealer and partner chooses. They also challenge those partners to match the gift to make even more impact. “The guys really enjoy and look forward to seeing which charities each other gives to,” Keith said. “Whether it is a local animal shelter, church or club, we get a great sense of who the people we work with are.” So much so, that dealers reach out to Keith to personally celebrate the impact that the company’s gifts make. Keith believes by giving locally and using their partners to help financially lift up organizations, that his company vicariously learns more about the communities they do business with. That type of knowledge and understanding of customers, clients and partners has helped Proseed become the agriculture powerhouse it is today. Indeed, a pretty good benefit of giving back.



Julie Peterson-Klein, SVP of HR and Culture, Bell Bank

Paying it Forward If there was a True North that businesses should look towards on how building philanthropy as part of their culture can be woven into the fabric of a business model, Bell Bank would fit the description of the shining star to follow. “Giving back is actually at the heart of our company!” Julie Peterson-Klein, SVP of HR and Culture, said. “One of Bell Bank’s core values, which have held true from the very beginning, is paying it forward by giving back to the communities we serve.” That means giving money to every employee, every year to give as they choose to individuals, families and organizations in need. That also equates to more than $19 million in giving since 2008.

including through philanthropy and paying it forward, we can accomplish that.” Sure that sounds good on paper, but what about real and tangible ways Bell Bank helps make that philosophy happen in the community? Julie’s stories of success in implementing such an audaciously philanthropic mission leave no room for doubt that her company not only believes it but lives it. “One thing I love is that giving back through something like our Pay It Forward initiative allows everybody in the organization to be a leader and show their heart,” she said. “Just one example is Tony Lee, who works in Bell Bank’s mailroom in Fargo.”

“We believe when we focus on carrying out our values and helping other people, we will continue to find customers and community partners who share those values,” Julie said.

“Tony has rallied other team members to pool their funds and help people in big ways–including giving a $42,000 check to a family that had lost nearly everything in a house fire. We have seen that time and again, in every part of our company– people being leaders who see a need, then come up with a project that not only helps someone else, but inspires their co-workers and others in the community to be part of that opportunity to pay it forward.”

“Banking or partnering with us then becomes a natural fit for them. We know we have to win people’s business and earn their trust. Hopefully, when our hearts are in the right place,

Our region is lucky to have a Tony in our lives, and fortunate to have companies like Bell Bank to foster creative ways to give way more together, than alone.

That’s a pretty big deal. It also adds up to aligning with the perfect customers.



Josh Christy, Founder of Codelation

Nerd Culture Sure, they can build you a website, customize a tech solution for your business, or tell you how many hit points it takes to defeat a Dracolich in Dungeons & Dragons. But for Codelation, the biggest reason to work with them on a project might be the value-driven passion to help others. “We take creating a sustainable community as seriously as we take creating a sustainable business,” Founder Josh Christy said.

A Win-Win-Win

Attracting and keeping talent at Codelation is a huge benefit from living those values. Josh and his leadership team look to their employees for perspective, ideas and connections when finding organizations to give back to.

We believe when we focus on carrying out our values and helping other people, businesses will continue to find customers and community partners who share those values. Not only that, but potential employees will be drawn to the companies who align with their sense of community and purpose.

The result? Authentic and meaningful acts they can do together as a team to help nonprofits in need, and that translates to driving value to their customers, clients and community.

Additionally, current employees will naturally be more inclined to stay, become involved and develop long-term relationshiplike affinity to their companies which leads to less turnover and better company culture.

“Although we don’t aggressively track what our gift of time or talent does to impact each nonprofit we support, we find that some of our new customers are drawn in from our social media or digital posts talking about how we are helping organizations move the needle forward,” Josh said.

In order to win people’s business, or attract the perfect employee, companies typically have to earn their trust.

No need for Bardic Inspiration to add to the perception (and reality) that doing good for others is good for the bottom line.

As Julie Peterson-Klein so wonderfully states, “Hopefully when our hearts are in the right place, including through philanthropy and paying it forward, we can accomplish that.” I think we can all agree on that.





By Brady Drake/Patrick Kirby For-profit businesses are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. One of the main ways they are trying to do this is by figuring out a way to interact with potential customers and current consumers differently. We all know that the definition

of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, but this is often how businesses operate when it comes to sales and marketing. I propose that for-profit businesses look to the nonprofit sector, which often rely, and have nearly perfected the art of transformative relationships, as their muse. This will allow for-profits to come up with creative ways on how to refresh the way that they interact, recruit and retain customers. The nonprofit world has to think differently in the way that they curate relationships and interact with the person, not the sales pitch, in order to project critical revenue coming into their organizations. For-profits, take note!



Develop transformative rather than transactional relationships If the only time you contact your customers is to ask them to buy something, they're going to stop picking up the phone and quit opening their emails. If you are a nonprofit, you have to be genuinely interested in why a person donates to you, as your ability to customize the message and match a supporter’s passion with a program is critical. Similarly, for-profits should be genuinely interested in why a customer is a customer. Furthermore, you need to be asking better questions, developing loyalty to the brand, telling stories of success and celebrating wins with them, all without constantly asking them for the sale. 52


If everything was based on price, good luck. Amazon will always win. Walmart will always win. You have to do something above and beyond. If I'm a hardware store, I need to know my customer that is coming in. I need to know what projects they are working on, what big hairy audacious goals they have for renovating, or what chronically needs fixing. I need to be genuinely concerned, not necessarily about selling them the best item, solving the problem they have. Nonprofits solve the need of individuals to make a difference in the world. What’s your transformative fix for your customers?

A lot of businesses will get a business deal done, and then that's the last they'll talk to that customer… until they need to sell something else. But what if your absence in communication and lack of follow up results in a loss of a customer? How much money and energy does it take to get them back? So why wouldn't you spend the time, energy and effort on retaining them? Follow up and ask how a project goes. Find out what other things they have on the horizon. Find out what they thought about the experience with you. Find out what you were able to help solve.

Follow Up

Eventually, they will start coming to you for advice. Even though they might not buy from you right away, you're beginning to build a better relationship with them for the long run.

Again, same thing with the nonprofit sector. If you know your donors on a more intimate level; you know how many kids they have, you know they like to go on vacations, you know that they are very into education, you can now cater your solicitations to projects they want to support and champion. Take a page from Netflix. They know you better than anyone else on the planet. If you scroll through Netflix and you click on something that they suggest you'd like to watch, there's a 99.9% chance that you're going to love it. Their algorithm is paying attention the way you need to understand your customers. If a streaming network and nonprofit community are connecting the dots – your business better be doing so too.

If someone, truly, isn't into what you're selling, don't sell them on it. It's okay to not have a connection with somebody. Seriously. Really good nonprofits have an abundance mindset, knowing that there are tons of people throughout the region they can reach out to that would connect emotionally to their story of impact. But sometimes, a person just doesn’t. Rather than bemoaning the fact you lost a potential donor (or customer in your case!) see this as an opportunity to focus on those better suited and more ideally matched to your mission or product.

If they're not into your mission or organization, you sure could high-pressure sell them on a gift, but at the end of the process, the potential donor is not going to feel great about it. They're probably not going to interact willingly with you again, or even worse, tell others about what a bad experience they had with the interaction. If you're a business, you need to realize that there are a ton of customers out there and that one person not being interested in your product is sometimes a good thing. It frees up time to sell to somebody who is interested in what you have to offer, enjoys your products and services, and frankly makes the process of selling much more enjoyable.

Show Random Appreciation Here’s a fun fact: If a nonprofit doesn't say thank you for a gift, they probably won’t get another.

It’s critical to show appreciation for a gift, whatever the size, as it acknowledges that all donations help in strengthening the mission of the organization. However, the nonprofits that thank donors for things other than money, or show appreciation for their talents and perspective rather than just their treasure, are going to build deeper, stronger and longer termed relationships.

Why can't the for profit business do that as well? Random, handwritten notes of appreciation for just being a customer, without asking for something, or expecting a sale, goes a long way. The time spent retaining the loyalty of those who are a part of your business’s family, is well worth it. And showcasing your genuine gratitude for their trust and money, is an attractive quality that customers brag about to their network. Pretty easy organic marketing if you ask me.

A Roadmap Although it seems that a lot of nonprofits could take tips and tricks from the for-profit business space, it turns out we should flip the script. Organizations that rely on building, holding on to, and investing heavily in relationships for their financial independence to serve the community are the perfect institutions to mirror sales and marketing tactics. If rising above the competition, and being recognized as a business who cares more about the customer relationship than treating them like an ATM, you might find an incredible organic marketing plan that attracts the perfect type of buyers, the way nonprofits attract the perfect type of donors. FARGOINC.COM




By Jack Yakowicz

Good For Nothing is good for something 56


Good For Nothing is an international organization made up of 48 verified chapters across the world. The mission of Good For Nothing is simple: “bring creative energy, ideas and skills to those already innovating on social issues but doing so with very limited resources." Fargo’s chapter of Good For Nothing was originally founded in 2015 through the coordinated efforts of Jeff Knight, Brittany Sickler, and Sam Kundinger.

Inspired by the goal of doing good for nothing (no pay), a group of designers, developers and general marketers got together in 2016 for the first-ever “24-hour Gig.” Five years later, Good For Nothing Fargo is still going strong and is coming fresh off their 2021 24-Hour Gig which took place on December 3rd and 4th. Absorbed in 2017 by the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota, Good For Nothing’s organizing

group is a rotating team of marketers and advertisers with a passion for serving the non-profits in our community. Here’s how the event works. Good For Nothing’s planning committee (aka the “public service committee” on the AAF-ND Board of Directors) put out two calls: a call for non-profits in need of marketing assistance to apply, as well as a call for volunteers with marketing backgrounds to assist. After non-profit applicants come in, the planning committee interviews qualified nonprofits and selects between 3 and 4 non-profits that we will serve at the “gig.” Selection is based on the needs of the organization, and which organizations are the best fit for the volunteer skills that Good for Nothing has for the event (i.e. if they have an influx of graphic design volunteers, they look for non-profits with heavy graphic design needs). Furthermore, they have sponsors who assist with pulling off the event (i.e. Emerging Prairie offering the Prairie Den space, Drekker offering beer for our volunteers, Office Sign Company offering print & merch, etc.). On Friday night, volunteers and non-profits arrive at the Prairie Den for the opening ceremony/ event kickoff. They start by introducing people to the rules and expectations for the event. Then, nonprofits are introduced one

by one to give a “pitch” discussing who they are, and what marketing help they need. Marketers and volunteers hear the pitches and at the conclusion of the opening presentation and are encouraged to autonomously select which non-profit they want to serve. Teams then form and meet with their non-profits. Typically, there are around 3-5 volunteers per team to complete the work. Teams will ask their non-profit contact questions about their business and their goals to help develop their marketing strategy. Nonprofits will exchange contact information and assets (i.e. current logo files, fonts, web logins, etc.) with their team of volunteers, and build out their game plan for the next day before departing. On Saturday morning, volunteers arrive again and get to work! The work typically goes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., before closing presentations. In closing presentations, non-profits are welcomed back and each team of volunteers goes through the work that they produced. This season, there were three non-profits extensively involved in the event. These non-profits included Pray for Gray, Soul Solutions and Northern Plains Japanese Garden.

Pray For Gray Pray for Gray's mission is to educate and raise awareness for brain tumors, along with meeting the needs of tumor patients and families by raising funds for the American Brain Tumor Association. During Pray for Gray's time at Good for Nothing, they made progress on a new logo, brand identity and an upcoming benefit concert (known as Funk For Thought), among other future plans. Sandie Kuehn, a graphic designer who volunteered on the Pray for Gray team, had this to say about the event. “I chose to volunteer for the GFN event because there

is nothing like getting together with other talented marketing professionals and really powering out some awesome content in a short time frame that does so much good for our community. My favorite part of every event is seeing the surprised and happy looks on the faces of those we have the privilege of helping. They are always so grateful and appreciative of everything and it’s a refreshing reaction compared to the daily grind. I’m already looking forward to the next GFN event."

Old Logo

new Logo

Soul Solutions Old Logo

new Logo Soul Solutions offers substance use disorder treatment and recovery services to help people learn to live a sober life. During their time at the 24-hour Gig, they developed general marketing recommendations, new cover photos and other visual/graphic design elements across the company.



Northern Plains

Japanese Garden Northern Plains Japanese Garden is a new garden being developed by Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. During the conference, Good for Nothing volunteers were able to assist in the finalization of the name, as well as the designing of the logo, brochure and more.

Scottie Knollin, a member of the Good For Nothing planning committee, who helped supervise and oversee the event, said this of Good for Nothing's impact. “The most impactful part of helping to organize this event was meeting with each of the nonprofits and hearing their stories of how they are impacting the community in such different and unique ways. I’m glad

we got to be a small part of how they are changing Fargo-Moorhead for good!” Good For Nothing Fargo has been able to assist over 20 local non-profits & charities since 2016. Volunteers continue to take part in the event not only because of their desire to support local organizations, but also for the fun and collaborative energy that exists at the

event. Good For Nothing not only fuels up volunteers with meals, snacks and beverages, but also provides a unique opportunity to work on a team with other marketers in the community they wouldn’t ordinarily get to collaborate with.

page for future event details. The next “24-hour Gig” is planned for December 2022, and they can’t wait to have a chance to serve more area non-profits soon!

If you’re interested in getting involved with Good For Nothing Fargo, feel free to check out their Facebook



10 Small But Impactful Giving Hearts Day Charities

Founded in 1985, Christian Adoption Services (CAS) is a nonprofit child-placing agency licensed in the states of North Dakota and Minnesota. Formerly known as Christian Family Life Services, CAS has a strong history of serving clients across the two-state region. CAS looks to make a difference one family at a time throughout our community. The Lotus Center, Inc. provides aid to members of our community facing the struggles of substance use disorders. The Lotus Center, Inc. takes a harm reduction approach to working with clients. While abstinence remains the ultimate goal for most clients, they understand it may not be achievable, nor desirable, for everyone. Any positive change is met with encouragement and seen as a step in the right direction. Their Mission: "To holistically meet the needs, provide opportunities, and improve the quality of life for those impacted by all aspects of substance use disorders."

Their Mission: "Our mission is to display God’s love to children, birth parents, and families by providing Christcentered adoption services that have an eternal impact by growing forever families."

The Cat’s Cradle Shelter is a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and kittens located in Fargo, ND. Their residents live in colonies of 6-10 cats in individual units based on compatibility,and are cared for by a core group of shelter volunteers. Young kittens are frequently fostered in private homes where they get 24-hour care, as well as lots of love and attention. Cat’s Cradle Shelter is funded 100% by donations, fundraising and adoption fees. Their Mission: "Our mission is to create a more humane and compassionate world one cat at a time. We rescue, care for, protect, and place cats for adoption in loving lifelong homes, and work to prevent abuse, neglect and cruelty to animals by educating the citizens of our community in the proper and humane care of not only cats, but all animals.”



With growing multi-cultural populations in the metro, Cultural Diversity Resources' (CDR) goals are to inform, educate and assist everyone, increase diversity and inclusion in communities and create opportunities by eliminating barriers to community participation. CDR’s programs range from certified bilingual interpretative services, to job readiness and diversity education. Their Mission: "Serving as an intercultural bridge that strengthens bonds, educates and empowers ethnically diverse communities."

Harvest Hope Farm is located just north of Moorhead on 13 acres of woods. The farm offers those who visit an authentic experience in nature, with several species of wildlife amidst oaks and native flora. Their Mission: "Harvest Hope Farm strives to enhance the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial well-being of others through a hands-on farm experience and education regarding sustainable food resources and environmental stewardship."

Since 2014, the Kicks Band's focus has shifted towards Jazz Arts Education and providing high-quality Jazz Arts Programs for our community. On March 28, 2018, Kicks Band became a non-profit organization with the specific purpose of music performance and education. Their Mission: "The Kicks Band of Fargo Moorhead educates, performs and promotes America's authentic art form, Jazz."

Memory Cafe, located in Fargo, North Dakota, offer free social gatherings for people experiencing mild to moderate memory loss and their care partners to come together in a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. Memory Cafe is committed to reminding its participants they are valued, significant members of our local community by changing the way we think about memory loss. Their Mission: "The mission of Memory Cafe of the Red River Valley is to enhance the quality of life for individuals living with memory loss and their loved ones through socialization, education, the creative arts, community services and community engagement."



New American Consortium has a broad range of programs including youth mentoring, social work case management, women's empowerment and tutoring services. The one thing in common with every initiative is that they advance the wellness and empowerment of new Americans in the Fargo-Moorhead community. Their Mission: "The New American Consortium promotes wellness and empowerment by building bonds among people, bridges between diverse communities, and links to organizations. Through celebrations and programming, we facilitate trusting relationships and create healthy partnerships in the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Area. Our work is designed to provide access and support for refugees and immigrants as they navigate life in our communities. We base our services on the Wellness Wheel; what we all need for holistic wellness: spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational, social/family and environmental needs."

One of the common goals of North Dakota Association of the Blind (NDAB) is to enhance the way of life for persons who are visually impaired. They promote education and social and cultural betterment for these individuals, and encourage and assist them. They focus especially on, those who are newly blinded, and help develop their abilities to assume their responsible places in their communities. Another important goal is to create public awareness about persons with sight loss. NDAB has worked and will continue to work with organizations and agencies that are involved with adults who are losing their sight. Their Mission: "We strive to enhance the way of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, to encourage employment opportunities, and to educate the public."

Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band's fundamental mission is promoting patriotism through music. Many members of the band are military veterans or are currently serving in the National Guard. Other members are civilians who play for the love of the music and the desire to entertain area audiences, with most having relatives who are or were military veterans. All members are non-paid volunteers. The musicians range in age from early 20s to over 80-years-old, and the musical skills of each also range from amateur to professional. Above all, an entertaining performance is their goal! Their Mission: "The mission of the Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band is "Promoting Patriotism Through Music. Our Band accomplishes this by having 35+ concerts per concert season from September through May. Honoring all Veterans and their families at each concert. All concerts are free and open to the public. Most concerts are held at retirement homes, nursing homes and service clubs although we also have concerts at the Lisbon, Fargo and Fergus Falls Veterans Homes."



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• 31:8 Project • 4 Luv of Dog Rescue • 4-H Foundation of North Dakota • A Place For Hope: Recovery, Wellness & Daily Bread Distribution Center • A Wife Like Me • Abused Adult Resource Center • Adapt Music, Inc. • Adult & Teen Challenge, North Dakota • Agassiz Environmental Learning Center • Altru Family YMCA • Altru Health Foundation • Alzheimer's Association • American Cancer Society of North Dakota and Minnesota • American Diabetes Association • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-North Dakota Chapter • American Gold Gymnastics • American Heroes Outdoors • American Red Cross • Amistad Worldwide • Angels Hockey • Anne Carlsen Center • AO1 Foundation • Assumption Abbey • Audubon Dakota • Badlands Ministries • Barnesville Area Community Fund • Benedictine Living Community - Crookston (Benedictine Villa St. Vincent and Benedictine The SUMMIT) • Benedictine Living Community Dickinson • Benedictine Living Community Wahpeton • Benedictine Living Community-LaMoure/ St. Rose • Best Friends Mentoring Program • Bethany Retirement Living • BIO Girls • Birthright of Fargo-Moorhead, Inc. • Bis-Man Mentor Squad



• Bismarck Art & Galleries Association • Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation • Bismarck Global Neighbors • Bismarck Public Schools Foundation • Bismarck State College Foundation • Bonanzaville USA • Box of Balloons - Fargo • Boy Scouts of America, Northern Lights Council • Boys & Girls Club of the Perham Area • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley • Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes • Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation • Brave the Shave • Bridging the Dental Gap • Camp Bentley • Camp Joy • Camp of the Cross Ministries • Camp ReCreation • CAPLP - Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership • Care and Share of Crookston, Inc. • Cass County Rural Community Emergency Food Pantry Inc. • Cassia - Fargo Elim • Cathedral Elementary School • Catholic Charities North Dakota • Cats Cradle Shelter • CCRI, Inc. • Central Cass Dollars for Scholars • Central Dakota Children's Choir • Central Dakota Humane Society • Chahinkapa Zoo Association • CHI Friendship • CHI Health at Home - Hospice • CHI Lisbon Health Foundation • CHI Mercy Health Foundation • Child Evangelism Fellowship of Fargo/ Moorhead • Christ the King Catholic Montessori School • Christian Adoption Services

• Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center • Churches United • Circle of Friends Animal Shelter • Community Ambulance Service of New Rockford • Community of Care • Concordia College • Connect Medical Clinic (CMC) • Cooperstown Bible Camp • Cooperstown Medical Center Foundation • Cross Training Ministries • Crossroads Lutheran Campus Ministry MSUM • Cru Northern Plains Campuses • Crystal Springs Camp • Cullen Children's Foundation • Cultural Diversity Resources • CVIC - Community Violence Intervention Center • Cystic Fibrosis Association of North Dakota • Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch • Dakota Children's Advocacy Center • Dakota Hope Clinic • Dakota Zoological Society, Inc. • Dear NICU Mama • Designer Genes of North Dakota, Inc. • Detroit Mountain Recreation Area • Devils Lake Public Schools Development Fund • Diamond in the Ruff Pet Rescue • Dickinson Public Library Foundation • Down Home • Ducks Unlimited - North Dakota • Eastern North Dakota Synod, ELCA • Elks Camp Grassick • Embrace ND Inc • Emergency Food Pantry • Emerging Prairie • Empire Arts Center • Empowering Kids Perham • Essentia Health Fargo Foundation • Essentia Health St Mary's Foundation Detroit Lakes

• Ethos Home Care and Hospice • Eventide Senior Living Communities • F5 Project • Faith in Action Health Coalition • Family HealthCare • Family Voices of North Dakota • Family Wellness • Fargo Air Museum • Fargo Invaders • Fargo Memorial Honor Guard • Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre • Fargo Moorhead Opera • Fargo Park District Foundation • Fargo Public Schools Development Foundation • Fargo Youth Hockey Association • Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum • Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra • Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley • Farm Rescue • Fathers Farm • Feed My Starving Children Fargo MobilePack • First Care Health Center • First Care Medical Services Foundation • FirstLink • Fix It Forward Ministry, Inc • FM Ballet • FM Coalition to End Homelessness • FM Haiti Medical Mission • FM Rotary Foundation • Fort Ransom Sodbuster Association • Fraser, Ltd. • Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living, Inc. • Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge • Friends of the Children Fargo-Moorhead • Fuller Center for Housing- Detroit Lakes Area • Furniture Mission of the Red River Valley • Furry Friends Rockin Rescue, Inc • GiGi's Playhouse Fargo • Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons • Gladys Ray Shelter • Global Friends Coalition • Good Samaritan Society - Lakota



• Good Samaritan Society - Park River • Grace Lutheran School • Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc. • Grand Forks Growth & Support Center • Grand Forks Parks & Recreation Foundation • Grand Forks Senior Center • Great Plains Food Bank • Growing Hope in Pembina County • Guardian Angels Inc. • Habitat for Humanity Northern Lights • Haiti Eye Mission • Haley's Hope • Handi-Wheels Transportation • Harvest Hope Farm • HC Community Care Center & Food Pantry • Headwaters Animal Shelter • Healing Vets Initiative • Health Resources Center Fergus Falls • Health Resources- Detroit Lakes • Heart of Clay formerly Clay County Jail Ministry • HEART Program • Heart-N-Soul Community Cafe • HeartSprings Community Healing Center • Heartview Foundation - Bismarck • Heartview Foundation Cando • Heavens Helpers Soup Cafe • HERO - Healthcare Equipment Recycling Org • Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County • Holy Rosary Catholic School • Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation • Home On The Range • Homeward Animal Shelter • Hope Blooms • Hope Center • HOPE, Inc. • Hopeful Heart Project • Hospice of the Red River Valley • Humane Society of the Lakes • Humanities North Dakota • Immigrant Development Center

• Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota • Inspiring Minds, Center for Dyslexia and Literacy • Jacobson Memorial Hospital Foundation • Jail Chaplains • James River Senior Center and Public Transit • James Valley Youth For Christ • Jamestown Dollars for Scholars • Jamestown Fine Arts Association • Jamestown Gymnastics Club • Jamestown Regional Medical Center • Jamestown United Way • Jasmin Child Care and Preschool • Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead • Jessy’s Toy Box Inc. • Journey Home Animal Rescue • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest • K9 Crew • Kaidra's Good Vibe Tribe Foundation • Kamp KACE • Keeping the Promise • Kicks Band of Fargo Moorhead • KIDSon Cares • Kritter Krazy- Reptile and Exotic Rescue • Lake Agassiz Concert Band • Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity • Lake Park Audubon (LPA) Legacy Foundation • Lake Region Healthcare Foundation • Lakes Crisis & Resource Center • Landon's Light Foundation • LB Homes • Legacy Children's Foundation • Lend A Hand Up • Life 97.9 - KFNW-FM • Light of Christ Catholic Schools • Lost and Found Recovery Center • Love Your Buns • Lutheran Brethren Bible Camp, Inc. • Lutheran Brethren Seminary • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota/LSS Meals • Lutheran Sunset Home • Magic City Aquatics • Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota • Martin Luther School

• Master Chorale of Fargo Moorhead • Matthew's Voice Project • Mayville State University Foundation • Memory Cafe of the Red River Valley • Mind Shift • Ministry on the Margins (Benedictine Ministries) • Minnesota Flyers Gymnastics • Minnesota State University Moorhead Foundation • Minn-Kota PAAWS • Minot Area Men's Winter Refuge • Minot Youth for Christ • Missouri Slope Areawide United Way • Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center Foundation • Missouri Valley Family YMCA • Moorhead Legacy Education Foundation • Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities League • Moorhead Youth Hockey • National Kidney Foundation Serving the Dakotas • National Multiple Sclerosis Society • ND Assistive • ND FFA Foundation • ND Open Foundation • ND Women's Network • NDSU Bison Strides • NDSU School of Nursing • Nelson County Health Services Foundation • New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment • New Life Center • Nexus-PATH Family Healing • Nome Schoolhouse • North Country Food Bank • North Dakota Association for the Disabled (NDAD) • North Dakota Association of the Blind • North Dakota Autism Center, Inc. • North Dakota Dental Foundation • North Dakota Dollars for Scholars • North Dakota Family Alliance • North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation • North Dakota Museum of Art • North Dakota Safety Council



• North Dakota State College of Science Foundation • North Dakota State Fair Foundation • North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation • North Dakota United • North Dakota Veterans Cemetery Foundation • North Dakota's Gateway to Science • Northern Plains Children's Advocacy Center • Northern Plains Dance • Northland Christian Counseling Center • Northland Health Centers • Northlands Rescue Mission • Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) • Northwood Deaconess Health Center • Oak Grove Lutheran School • Open Door Center • Opportunity Foundation, INC. • Optometric Foundation of North Dakota • Our Redeemer's Christian School • Outdoor Adventure Foundation • Park Christian School • Park River Lutheran Bible Camp • Pathways • Pembina County Memorial Hospital Foundation • Pembina Gorge Foundation • Peoples Rising Academy • Pink It Forward • Plains Art Museum • Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports • Prairie Harvest Mental Health • Prairie Public • Pray for Gray • Prescription Assistance Program - South Central Adult Services • Presentation Partners in Housing • Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota • Project BEE • Project HART (Homeless Veteran Program) • Project Ignite Light • Public Arts Commission (PAC) Grand Forks • Pulse



• Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of FargoMoorhead • Reach the Heart • Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area • Red River AMBUCS • Red River Children's Advocacy Center • Red River Dance & Performing Company • Red River Human Services Foundation • Red River Infinity Volleyball Inc • Red River Scripture Circles • Red River Valley Community Action • Red River Valley Dental Access Project • Red River Valley Fair Foundation • Red River Valley Habitat for Humanity • Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band • Red River Youth for Christ • Red River Zoo • Red Willow Ministries • Redemption Road Ministries • Resonate • Richland Wilkin Kinship • Riverside Christian School • RiverView Foundation • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Bismarck • Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley • Rural Enrichment and Counseling Headquarters, Inc (REACH) • Sacred Heart Foundation • Safe Alternatives for Abused Families • Sakakawea Medical Center Foundation • Sanford Fargo Hospice • Sanford Hillsboro Medical Center • Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center • Scottish Rite Speech and Language Center for Children • SENDCAA • Service Dogs for America • ShareHouse • Shiloh Christian School • Smith-Lemli-Opitz Foundation • SMP Health - Ave Maria • Soroptimist of the Red River Valley • Soul Solutions Recovery Center • Souris Valley Animal Shelter • Southeast Senior Services

• Special Olympics North Dakota • St Vincent de Paul/Holy Spirit • St. Alphonsus School • St. Ann's Parish • St. Bernard's School • St. Gerard's Community of Care • St. Gianna's Maternity Home • St. John Christian Preschool • St. John Paul II Catholic Schools • St. John's Academy - St. James Basilica • St. John's School • St. Joseph Catholic School Devils Lake • St. Joseph's School - Moorhead • St. Joseph's Social Care • St. Mary's Catholic School • St. Michael's Catholic Church and School • St. Michael's School • St. Paul's Newman Center • St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center • Sunrise Foundation • The ALS Association MN/ND/SD Chapter • The Arc of Cass County • The Banquet • The God's Child Project • The Great North Pole • The Human Family • THE LITTLE RED READING BUS OF WEST FARGO • The Longspur Prairie Fund • The Lotus Center, Inc. • The Perry Center Maternity Home • The Salvation Army Bismarck-Mandan • The Salvation Army Fargo • The Salvation Army Jamestown • The Salvation Army Minot ND • The Salvation Army of Grand Forks • The Salvation Army- Williston, ND • The Summer Performing Arts Company • The Village Family Service Center • Theatre B • Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation • Third Street Clinic • TNT Kid's Fitness • Tobacco Free North Dakota • Tracy's Sanctuary House • Tri-City United Soccer Club • Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue/ Kitty City

• Trollwood Performing Arts School • Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue • UC Hope • United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area • Unity Medical Center Foundation • University of Jamestown • University of Mary • University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation • Unseen • Upper Missouri Ministries • USpireND • Valley Christian Counseling Center • Valley City State University Foundation • Valley Lake Boy's Home, Inc. • Valley Senior Living • Valley Senior Services • Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN • Victory Christian School • Vocational Training Center • Volt Volleyball • Welcome House, Inc. • Wellspring for the World • West Fargo Educational Foundation • West Fargo Events • West River Health Services Foundation • Western North Dakota Honor Flight • Williston Basin Youth for Christ • Williston Parks and Recreation (WPRD) Foundation • Williston Trinity Christian School • Women's Care Center • Women's Care Center Bismarck • Women's Pregnancy Center • YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties • Young Life Fargo Moorhead • Youthworks • YWCA Cass Clay • Zach's Foundation



10 Questions


Questions ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past nine years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for the Co-Founders of Thunder Coffee, John Dutton, Skyler Dutton and Nicole Dutton.

By John Machacek Photos by Josiah Kopp and Hillary Ehlen



01 Will you please tell us your Thunder Coffee elevator pitch? Thunder Coffee is a specialty coffee shop and coffee roasting company dedicated to serving exceptional coffee and providing extraordinary experiences. Community is our priority, and coffee is our passion.

02 You started as a mobile coffee shop before opening your coffee shop. Was this part of the game plan from the start? Skyler: Operating as a mobile unit was not part of the game plan. We had originally wanted to start a brick-and-mortar location. As we began forecasting how much upfront capital we needed, we quickly realized that we weren’t equipped to open a brickand-mortar. Around the same time, I was working full time for a different company and was spending a lot of time on the road. So, I spent a good amount of time listening to business

podcasts. One day I heard a self-described serial entrepreneur answer the question, “what is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?” This person answered by using the analogy of building a large expensive warship versus building a canoe. In his opinion and experience, he sees new entrepreneurs spending a lot of time, energy and money into building this extravagant ship with all the bells and whistles without ever taking the time to see if it will even function. His position was that instead, entrepreneurs should build canoes. They are small, cost-effective and agile. Plus, you can send out multiple canoes and see which perform best, allowing you to make an informed decision before building a big expensive ship. I pulled over as quickly as I could and called Dexter to pitch him on the idea of bailing on the brick-andmortar temporarily and operating a mobile coffee cart instead. Making this initial pivot allowed us to get to market much faster and allowed us to start building relationships sooner.

03 So, then how and when did you decide on opening your coffee shop in the newly developed

Sheyenne Street corridor in downtown West Fargo? In the early months of 2019, we had already been actively searching for a place to call home for Thunder. We saw a lot of properties and none of them seemed to be exactly what we were looking for. We were also working closely with Steve Dusek at Dakota Business Lending. Many of the properties we had been interested in didn’t quite match anything he was interested in either. Steve eventually connected us with EPIC Management and the City of West Fargo because he was made aware that the city of West Fargo had an enterprise grant available for businesses on Sheyenne Street and EPIC was constructing a new building that might be a good fit for us. We went and looked at prospective spaces that EPIC had available and were excited about all of the new developments that had happened on this section of Sheyenne Street. We could see the potential that this area has for future development, and we wanted to be involved. On top of all that, one of the spaces had large, beautiful windows and checked several other boxes that we had, so we decided to apply for the Enterprise Grant and move forward with pursuing the space. We ended up being awarded the grant and have now called 300 Sheyenne Street Suite 190 home for the past two years.



10 Questions 04 On top of your move into the coffee shop stage, you’ve also added coffee bean roasting into your business model. Why did you decide to get into roasting and how has it been going? Dexter: Roasting coffee has been a dream of mine since starting to work in coffee over 7 years ago, but always seemed out of reach. During the onset of the pandemic, we knew we needed to look into additional revenue streams, and roasting seemed like the natural next step. We bought a small 250gram roaster, and I proceeded to burn the life out of the first 30 or so pounds of coffee I touched. I learned a lot of what not to do and I know I’m a much better roaster thanks to all the mistakes I made when starting. Once I dialed in some of my skills on the 250g machine, we started selling small bags of coffee, which got out of hand quickly. I was roasting 7-10 hours a day on that machine just to keep up. We knew we needed to up our volume but couldn’t quite justify the leap to purchase our own machine yet. We asked another local roaster if they would mind us renting



some time on their machine, to which they graciously agreed. Roasting on their machine gave me a chance to test out larger batches, expand our offerings and learn how to operate a “big boy roaster." In September of 2020 we finally got our hands on our own Mill City 6k Natural Gas Roaster which can roast up to six kilograms of coffee at a time. Learning to build the roasting program has been such an exciting challenge. It’s an entirely different model than catering events or even operating a brick-and-mortar cafe. The love that the FM area has shown us, as well as the coffee we have been making, has made all the trials of building a roasting program so extremely worth it, not only in the business sense, but also in how we can connect our products that come from around the globe to our friends and patrons in the Fargo Moorhead region and beyond.

the folks in Oklahoma City that had been working in coffee since the late 90s. The specialty scene in OKC really had its legs under it and gave me the chance to learn from some really wise and kind individuals. What really excites me about the Fargo Moorhead specialty coffee scene is just how young it really is. Here we have a handful of really great shops that are roasting delicious coffees and serving great drinks, but there is so much room for more great hospitality, specialty roasters and cafes. It almost seems that every day we are hearing people that say “I didn’t know coffee could taste this good,” or that are asking us questions on how to brew better coffee at home. Conversations that tell me that the FM area has yet to experience the coffee boom that other cities have gone through. I'm excited about our future as there are a ton of potential customers around town that just don’t know businesses like ours exist yet.

05 The specialty and craft coffee scene has really blossomed in the Fargo-Moorhead area. What are your views on this scene from being on the inside of it? Dexter: I fell in love with specialty coffee thanks to

06 One thing that makes Thunder Coffee stand out to me is your genuine friendliness and your communityminded persona. It doesn’t surprise me that

people go out of their way to come visit your shop. Is there intentionality to any of this? We absolutely are intentional about treating our community well. On one of our windows, we’ve put, in large letters, “Community. Driven. Coffee.” This phrase serves as a mission statement of sorts and, for us, as our mission starts with community. From the beginning, we’ve set out to offer exceptional experiences to our customers, and to us, that starts with a positive experience for the customer. Whether it's a friendly hello when you enter our store, a goodbye when you leave or righting a wrong on an order, we want our customers to feel welcome, valued and seen. We’ve been fortunate enough to build a team of like-minded and customer-focused people. We seek out those traits in our interview process and what we’ve found is that our team doesn’t need a lot of coaching in customer service. Instead, we get to just tell our team to be authentic in their interactions with customers. Customer service aside, we’ve also been fortunate to really lean into community involvement. A few times per year we find ways to support other small businesses and nonprofits either by promoting them in our shop, raising money or raising awareness for their cause. We do this because we feel like it helps build a sense of community and belonging that we want to see.

10 Questions relationships healthy.

07 Going into this, and through this, you were not only new entrepreneurs but also family members (Husband, Wife, Brother), and at times balancing side jobs. What are some practical operational things you’ve learned? Skyler: The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I know I would have never made it to where we are today without Dexter, Nicole and the rest of our team. The initial days of Nicole, Dex and I doing all the things and wearing all the hats were chaotic and full of valuable lessons, but lately, things have fallen into a nice rhythm for us since we’ve been able to place people into the right roles. Like Jim Collins says in his book Good to Great, it's not enough to have the right people on your bus, you have to have them in the right seat as well. For me personally, I’ve had to make adjustments to my communication style. I’m not always an effective communicator, but I realized it's an area I needed to improve to build the culture we wanted and to keep



Dex: The mindset shift from college student to college dropout to entrepreneur was a whirlwind of identity, personal life and financial crisis all in one that nothing on this earth could have prepared me for. The most practical thing I have learned over the past five years has been to get what needs to be done, done. Thankfully, I had Skyler and Nicole alongside me to help reinforce that simple lesson over and over again. They are both some of the hardest working people I know, and there is no way we would be doing what we are now without them. Nicole: I think it was important for us to define what was important to each of us and figure out what we wanted for Thunder Coffee at an early stage. By creating an identity for Thunder Coffee, we were able to focus and create our mission and vision. Because none of us had been business owners before we had to do a little research. We looked at what other coffee companies were doing, asked questions to local resources in our own entrepreneurial ecosystem and received a great deal of support and guidance. Ultimately, we had to decide what we wanted to create with Thunder Coffee and get behind that vision together, as a team.

08 What lies ahead for Thunder Coffee in the near future? We have a few exciting things in the works that will be really fun to announce soon. Until then, folks can always find us at our West Fargo Cafe, and still count on seeing us around town at mobile events like the Red River Market and continuing to try and grow our wholesale business both locally and beyond. We’ve got a fun project coming up with the Dakota Medical Foundation and Giving Hearts Day which we will announce soon!

09 If you could go back in time to yourselves from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? Nicole: Don’t be afraid to fail, because it’s inevitable that you will. No one gets it all right the first, the second or even the third sometimes! Build in backups and redundancies after each failure. Learn from them, adapt and do something different next time. Then,

share with your other entrepreneur friends and you can all commiserate, laugh and reminisce on all the tough times and how far you’ve come. Trust your gut. pray, meditate and search inside yourself when trying to figure out the right direction for the business. Too many times we talk about ideas with others and work to justify strategies in spreadsheets, but it’s more important to know within your core what to do. My brother Nathan, who also owns his own business, gave me that advice and it bears repeating. He told us, “If you have a great idea, just do it. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) talk you out of it.” Dex: The best way to be great at something is to be okay with being really bad at it to begin with. My biggest fear when I started roasting was making “bad” coffee. I had no textbook to follow and had to figure out how to roast “good” coffee on my own, and that fear kept me using one or two techniques that I thought worked really well at the time. It took me a while to realize the only way I could improve my roasting was to step out of my comfort zone and be okay with the fact that a new idea might not work. After embracing that, I feel like I’ve improved greatly as a roaster and am now confidently putting out much better tasting and consistent coffees, all because I wasn’t afraid for them to not work out.

10 What can we do as a community to help Thunder Coffee succeed? The easiest way is to help us grow our reach by following us on social media (IG @thunder.coffee FB @thundercoffeefargo) and sharing our content or events. Another way to help us is to support locally owned coffee shops. There are so many unique shops to get a great drink, have a meeting and connect with people. We also have some great local roasters for your at-home coffee. We love to see our small business community thriving and think it's great to see people choosing to support not only us, but other locally owned coffee shops versus supporting a larger corporate store.

About John


Does your business need a Holding Company? olding companies are often used by business owners, entrepreneurs, and businesses to hold an interest in another company or asset. Often business owners wonder if a holding company is something they need for their business. Holding companies can provide liability protection, consolidate income for lending purposes, support multiple subsidiaries and centralize operations management. Disadvantages to holding companies include complex legal documentation, additional tax filing requirements and additional ongoing costs. Everyone’s situation is different, so how the benefits and disadvantages affect each business owner is unique. In the following paragraphs, we consider some of the issues that may affect your decision as to whether to form a holding company.

Thomas Kading Attorney at Fargo Patent & Business Law, PLLC




Josiah Kopp

What is a Holding Company? First off, a holding company is simply an entity that owns other companies and assets. For example, a holding company might be a limited liability company (LLC) that a business owner owns. A holding company might own 100% of another LLC that owns a retail store, restaurant, or some other business. A holding company LLC could also own intellectual property, such as a trademark or patent. A holding company could own many different entities and many different assets. For example, a holding company could own an interest in ten different companies and license the intellectual property the holding company owns to each of the ten different companies.

One common way a holding company can be used is to invest in real estate. For example, a real estate investor might own many different rental properties, each of which is owned in a separate LLC. The real estate investor could set up a holding company that owns each of the separate LLCs. As a result the real estate investor would personally own one LLC (the holding company) and the holding company would own subsidiary LLC entities which own real estate.

Lending Benefits to a Holding Company One distinct benefit a holding company provides to a business owner is the consolidation of income from different

business sources. Take for example, the real estate investor previously referenced; if that real estate investor wanted to get a loan to buy a property, a bank is typically going to look at the personal financial strength of the real estate investor. If the real estate investor personally owned twenty different LLCs, the bank is likely going to have to review each of the LLCs. If there was a change in any of the individual LLCs, this could be problematic to the loan approval. On the other hand, a holding company allows for the income of the twenty different LLCs to be consolidated into one revenue source to the real estate investor. The real estate investor with a holding company owns one LLC. This can potentially make the lending approval more simple and easier.

Professional Licensure When considering whether a holding company is correct for you, some business owners need to determine whether their profession has specific ownership requirements. Many professions require some level of licensure with the state or other jurisdictions. In North Dakota, some types of entities must be owned by individuals holding a certain type of license. For example, a law firm must be owned by attorneys. In addition, some types of entities must be comprised of individuals who are individually licensed for a particular profession. For example, suppose you want to form a professional limited liability company (PLLC) in North Dakota. In that case, you must obtain a letter from the regulating board of profession that each member is a licensed individual. There are a few minor exceptions. For professional organizations, setting up a holding company may be challenging, if not impossible.

Taxes Taxes should also be a prime consideration when potentially setting up a holding company. Before setting up a holding company, you should consult with your tax professional. Often a holding company will require the filing of an additional tax return each year. This additional tax return will cause additional filing and bookkeeping costs. Depending on the exact structuring of your holding company, you could save on taxes or pay more in taxes. Therefore, consulting with your tax accountant is essential.

Farming Laws In North Dakota, there are restrictions as to what groups of people are allowed to farm or ranch using an LLC or Corporation. North Dakota generally has corporate farming laws that prohibit LLCs and Corporations from being used by nonfamily members. That said, there are many ways for nonfamily members to farm together using various forms of partnerships. Corporate farming laws by no means stop the use of holding companies, but one should be careful in how they structure a holding company if they are going to be in the business of farming or ranching.

licenses shared branding and trademark information from the holding company. If an incident causes a major liability to one of the retail shop entities, the holding company and the other retail store entities may be protected. Fargo Patent & Business Law is an intellectual property and business law firm. We are always happy to talk to you if you have questions about trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other intellectual property issues. The information provided in this article does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. All information, content, and material is for general informational or educational purposes only. Information provided may not be the most up-to-date legal information, and it is recommended that readers contact their attorney to obtain advice on any particular legal matter.

Liability Protection Liability protection is often one of the main reasons a business owner may decide to use a holding company. Multiple limited liability companies provide multiple levels of liability protection. A holding company can provide additional liability protection when a business has multiple divisions of operation. For example, a business owner could own five retail shops in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Each retail shop is structured in its own entity and



Charities To

By Geneva Nodland

Support Local Youth

Haley's Hope

Haley's Hope was launched in 2011 in West Fargo, North Dakota, and has served over 830 students. Haley's Hope has worked to prevent the negative effects of dyslexia from limiting the potential of youth. The Haley’s Hope Dyslexia Learning Center is the region's only facility providing tutoring and comprehensive services to North Dakota, North Eastern South Dakota, and Northwestern Minnesota. Kari Bucholz, the founder and Executive Director of Haley's Hope, was inspired to launch the organization after witnessing the detrimental effects dyslexia had on her son, Haley, during a time when no resources were available to those struggling with this complex learning challenge. Over the last decade, Haley’s Hope has served more than 830 dyslexic youth through 1:1 structure literacy tutoring, small group study skill instruction, and multisensory math coaching, all while advocating for improvements to our education system’s treatment of the disorder, namely teacher training and screening processes. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Your gift to Haley’s Hope allows kids once failing at reading, spelling, writing and math, to start soaring! Donations are readily used to; support existing program supply and tech implementation needs, build programs for deeper academic and social success, and remove financial barriers to allow access to these services to those in need. Your support is not an investment in things. It’s an investment in people. It changes each and every life that comes to Haley’s Hope. You will be helping to create HOPE for every child coming in our doors; launching them into lives of learning, confidence and success." -Haley's Hope



Jessy's Toy Box Inc.

Jessy's Toy Box collects toys, books, gift cards, Kindles, iPads and other new items for kids who are in the hospital or who are receiving treatments. They deliver toys continually in five states and periodically in many other states. They work closely with the hospital and if they have a child life specialist, work closely to make sure that they can supply the hospitals with toys and other items needed for the playrooms. They also try to help families that need special items to aid with their child's treatments. They have many volunteers, from those who allow toy boxes to be held in their business to 4H groups who help sticker the toys that will be delivered. They also have families who volunteer to help deliver the toys.


"Donating new toys, gift cards, books, blankets, and stuffed animals."

-Jessy's Toy Box Inc.

TNT Kid's Fitness & Gymnastics

TNT Kid’s Fitness is a non-profit 501(c)(3)organization founded in 2005. The TNT mission presented a bright idea to provide an inclusive space for physical activity to serve children with special needs as well as competitive athletes. TNT embraced providing inclusive settings to meet the physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs. The programs serve children starting at 0-99 years in age! Recreational and preschool programming, occupational therapy, special needs, school days out camps, no bummer summer camp, birthday and private parties, open gyms, SOAR after school program, USA team i.e.girls, boys, and USAF cheer, Rock Steady BoxingParkinson's, Adult no limits fitness, and USA military veterans fitness.


"TNT Kid's Fitness provides a wrap-around support program to offer adaptive movement opportunities for students with special needs. We collaborate with 36 local area schools within a 60-mile radius of the Fargo-Moorhead area. More than 435 students received TNT's services with our unique movement-based programming in 2019-20. We are excited to get them all back for the 2021-22 school year after limited participation in the 2020-21 school year. TNT provides the least restrictive environment to foster each student's potential and build their skills. We implement our movement curriculum designed to fulfill the development gap for those challenged physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. In addition to the above focus areas and goals, this program has many residual impacts. TNT partners with area colleges to enhance their student learning opportunity and apply their knowledge with hands-on experience. Your support allows us to continue to grow this program." -TNT Kid's Fitness




FirstLink answers the 24-Hour 211 Helpline and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for North Dakota and Western Minnesota. They are here 24/7 to help people struggling with mental health, suicide, financial and family concerns and much more! Their goal is to be available 24/7 to help support people in all types of situations find help and hope. The organization was founded more than 50 years ago by a group of volunteers. They felt because more women were entering the workforce, that kids left at home may have less support and wanted to start an organization to help support those kids. Since that time FirstLink has grown to be available 24-hours a day to support all people in our community. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "People can donate to help cover the costs of operating 24-hour per day. $24 helps us cover the cost of one life-changing phone call." -FirstLink

Box of Balloons - Fargo

Box of Balloons started as a small non-profit in Sun Prairie, WI in 2013. Since then, 56 more have made their way across the country, of which was opened in Fargo in 2020. Their mission is simple–to spread birthday joy and cheer to children who wouldn't otherwise be celebrated on their birthday. They partner with social workers, child advocates and educators to identify children in these circumstances. Once a request is received, they pull together a unique and customized Birthday Box for the specific child which includes: tableware, decorations, party game/activity, party favors, cupcakes and candles, and a birthday gift, card and necessary wrapping. They then provide the birthday box to the parent or caregiver, signifying their role in the child’s life and making them the birthday hero! The fundamental goal is to provide joy, hope and celebration for the child! HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Aside from financial donations, we are always in need of party supplies, and also have a "build-abox" program in which we provide you with a child's name, birthdate as well as all the empty box and all the info you need to pull it together from start to finish!" -Box of Balloons - Fargo



Matthew's Voice Project

Legacy Children's Foundation

The Legacy Children's Foundation (LCF) is a grassroots after-school youth resource in the Fargo, ND metro area for motivated, yet fragile teens seeking to excel in school, serve their neighbors and thrive as productive leaders. Launched in 2011 by discouraged teens, LCF fills in gaps of academic and life resources to rebuild skills, confidence and relationships so all teens can reach their full potential. Learning, serving, and leading are the pillars of their mission. Building a sense of belonging through meaningful relationships with peers and adults elevates youth to embrace their strengths and drill into their weaknesses to gain confidence and motivation to positively impact their place and time in the community. LCF seeks to be innovative agents of change to bridge the gap of opportunities for vulnerable youth with abundant resources from caring members of the community. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Legacy believes in the value of relationships! We strive hard to build a solid bridge of healthy belonging between our youth and the community. Seven project based volunteer activities are established to offer meaningful time together. Investors can also share financial gifts." -Legacy Children's Foundation

Matthew’s Voice Project (MVP) is a community effort to assist students in the community's public schools who are identified as experiencing homelessness. Much of MVP’s focus is on unaccompanied youth (no parents or guardians in their lives), providing them with the support and encouragement they need to complete high school. Over the past several years, their continued goal is to assist homeless students with more pressing day-to-day needs like housing, quality shoes to last, clothing needs to include dress clothes for work, winter/snow gear, etc, cell phones & pre-paid minutes, technology needs such as jump drives to store homework to transfer between computers, YMCA memberships, gas cards & taxi fares for transportation to their jobs and gift cards for food and daily needs. Monetary donations are made directly to Matthew's Voice Project a 501c3 organization, and dispersed to the local Homeless High School Liaisons to help take care of the needs of the students so they can succeed and graduate from school. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "On our Matthew's Voice project Webpage, we have a donate button, or people can reach out directly via matthewsvoiceproject@gmail.com to see what needs the liaisions are searching for at that time. We also have amazon wish lists for all three schools that individuals can access. The liaisons will post immediate needs and if a community member decides to purchase, it will be sent directly to the liaison for the student in need." -Matthew's Voice Project



We the People North Dakota

We the People is a civics education curriculum that promotes teaching and learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They work with social studies teachers throughout the state to incorporate the curriculum into their classrooms and to prepare their students for the state competition. As on organization, We the People conduct in-state professional development for teachers, partners with other states for professional development opportunities and hold simulated Congressional hearings for secondary students. The winning school qualifies to compete at the National level which is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education. They also provide free textbooks for schools who participate. The work is supported by Humanities North Dakota, the State Bar Association of North Dakota and many lawyer and educator volunteers who help judge and facilitate our state competition. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Individuals can donate to We the People to help fund textbooks and the summer teacher institutes, cover the costs of the state competition and to send the winning team to nationals. They can also serve as a judge for the state competition or serve as a facilitator for the simulated hearings. We also need constitutional scholars that are willing to teach our professional development sessions." -We the People North Dakota

The Human Family

The Human Family promotes human rights and social justice through film and art. They founded the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival, which travels throughout the state providing forums of dialogue and connection on important community topics, as well as stewards of the Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival, the state's only celebration of Queer Cinema. They also founded the North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival to encourage discussion around climate change, renewable energy, climate migration, and the intersections between environmental rights and human rights. Additionally, The Human Family also produces original content and is wrapping production on a multi-part series about the homelessness crisis in North Dakota. The series "Home" will premiere in the second quarter of 2022. The mission of The Human Family is to create awareness, educate, and facilitate community change through empathy. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Individuals can support The Human Family at our website at www.Human-Family.org. They can also support our work by attending any of our in-person or online screenings of films or community conversations." -The Human Family



Jasmin Child Care and Preschool

Jasmin Child Care and Preschool started in 2015 to address the early childhood education needs of low-income families and provide a culturally competent child care service to the growing diverse population in Fargo. Since the beginning, thier philosophy has been to empower families through holistic care of their kids and provide support and connections to other resources in the community. Serving kids ages 6 weeks to 12 years, their volunteers love working with kids by mentoring and tutoring in both academics and life skills. They want to work with the community and other organizations to make a difference in the lives of at-risk kids. They aim to eliminate disparities in early childhood education through fostering innovation and providing quality affordable, convenient, dependable child care services. And most importantly to provide a nurturing environment. They embrace teamwork, communicate openly, seek to understand effectively, respect diversity and support families. Currently, they have kids from ten different ethnicities and the staff speaks a total of nine languages. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Your donations can ensure we can help the most vulnerable and underserved families and children have access to quality affordable early childhood education. Your support and donations can help reduce educational disparities and have a lasting impact on the children providing them with the tools and resources to become academically successful in school and life. Give monthly to help support the most atrisk kids who have access to quality care and become more involved with our community work. You can also contribute by becoming an Ally. Advocate and show your support to ensure we provide an inclusive environment and opportunity for the children of the Fargo Moorhead community. We also welcome volunteers who want to tutor kids or offer professional skills." -Jasmin Childcare and Preschool

The Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities

The Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities League aim to serve at-risk and underserved youth in the Moorhead area with a variety of programs aimed at building relationships between law enforcement and youth. They build positive relationships with youth in the community through mentoring and one on one contact. Through several programs, like Shop-with-a-Cop and Bikes for Kids, they have had direct contact with youth that have unfortunately become victims of crime later down the road. These existing relationships helped with investigations and having that existing relationship put the children at ease during the investigation. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Most volunteer opportunities are designed for our officers to have direct contact with kids. The most pressing need is financial to cover program costs and administrative needs." -The Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities

Fargo Moorhead Science Museum

The Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum started as an idea several years ago, and now, through some major donations is just moving into hiring an Executive Director. Their motto is: "Breaking barriers to ignite the curiosity in all of us. We are working towards creating a science museum in the Fargo-Moorhead area that will appeal to all." FMSM is a community project to design and build a place where curious minds – adults and children alike – can explore and engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, subjects collectively known as STEM. The museum will feature hands-on interactive exhibits and programming that promote science literacy and facilitate learning for visitors of all ages. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "You can donate on the www. fmsciencemuseum.org page." -Fargo Moorhead Science Museum



31:8 Project

31:8 Project’s mission is to educate individuals and communities across North Dakota and the Midwest about the realities of human trafficking. Since 2016, 600 victims of human trafficking have been served in North Dakota, with 80% of the individuals being residents of this state. Founded in 2015, 31:8 Project offers programming statewide, serving both urban and rural communities. 31:8 Project focuses programming in three different, and distinct, areas: provide audienceappropriate educational training and awareness campaigns regarding human trafficking and its related issues, their Bravery Backpacks program oversees the collection and distribution of supplies and backpacks to children ages 0 to 12, and offer a mentorship program to enable survivors to become familiar with necessary life skills and personal achievement goals. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "31:8 Project strongly believes that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Those who are able to give their time or expertise are always welcome to volunteer with us during informational or fundraising events. As our survivor mentorship program grows, we will be seeking mentors with specific skillsets to assist our survivor mentees. Our mission is to provide our communities with accurate information about human trafficking. Advocates can help us by sharing our social media content; educating themselves by attending informational webinars and presentations or reading our monthly newsletter; or, you can offer to host a presentation. Finally, we accept donations in many forms. Our Bravery Backpacks program is dependent on the donation of backpacks and supplies. Monetary gifts can assist with everything from helping a school provide a class with educational materials, to providing survivors access to emergency funds for necessities. Every donation we receive goes back into North Dakota communities or to directly support a local individual in need." -31:8 Project



Heart-n-Soul Community Café

Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe Inc is a nonprofit, social entrepreneurship that serves local and fresh food and operates under a pay-what-you-can model. They are committed to addressing food insecurities, building communities and providing delicious food to nurture body, heart and soul. In 2016, they started having popup community cafes, partnering with businesses and community agencies throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pop-Up cafes were suspended, but they were able to prepare sack lunches for community members who didn’t have access to a weekend meal due to the pandemic. They continue to prepare and deliver a sack lunch every other week for community members in need of a weekend meal. Their goal for summer 2022 is to travel with their food truck to reach neighborhoods they haven't previously been able to. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe is always looking for volunteers to help prepare meals, serve meals or help make lunches. We are always looking for volunteers to make cards that go in our sack lunches. Donations are also appreciated. $10 can help cover costs for 3 lunches or a meal to someone in need. $500 can sponsor one of our Food Trailer meals. Any amount is appreciated. Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe can cater your event for breakfast or lunch up to 12- 250 meals. All profits go back to our mission to serve everyone a meal regardless of their means. Follow us on Facebook and share with your friends. Come and join us for a meal! We guarantee you will leave with a nourished body, heart and soul!" -Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe

Tri-City United Soccer Club

Tri-City United Soccer Club is Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo's soccer community with over 3,000 memberplayers. As the largest soccer entity in North Dakota, they welcome soccer players of all ages, skill levels and athletic aspirations. We've had dozens of players start young and stay with us until they began their college careers. They've also had hundreds of New Americans and other underserved community members play in the club for years, playing a key role in welcoming New Americans to the community. Tri-City provides all the positive outcomes you can achieve through sports like friendships, teamwork, achieving collective goals, developing a strong work ethic, and providing daily structure - through soccer. HOW YOU CAN HELP: "Our website is set up for donations at www.tricityunited.org. We have several fundraisers throughout the year and we always welcome donations to our Scholarship Program." -Tri-City United Soccer Club





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to CEO’s, Owners, Managers and Decision Makers in the Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding areas


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to the most affluent homes in Bismarck-Mandan where business owners live



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For more details contact Paul Hoefer at Paul@spotlightmediafargo.com SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM | 83

Small Business Budgeting for Success


BY Paul Smith

espite a global pandemic and one of the worst economic downturns in modern history, startup businesses continued to grow at a rapid rate in the United States in 2021. Although there are no final numbers yet at the time of this writing, new businesses starting in 2021 will almost certainly eclipse the record-breaking total of 4.4 million new businesses created in 2020 — the highest total on record and a 24% increase from 2019 (U.S. Census Bureau). These trends were reflected in the number of ND entrepreneurs and small business owners who requested assistance from the ND SBDC. The SBDC served a record high 1,800 clients statewide, a 20% increase over 2020 and an 80% increase over 2019. Unfortunately, we also know that not all of those businesses will survive. Approximately 20% of all small businesses will fail within their first year, and only one in two will be around in five years. Creating a financial plan and budget play a key role in small business success in every business stage but especially during the ‘existence’ and ‘survival’ stages. Poor cash



flow management is a primary reason for business failure. That’s why it is critical for businesses to develop an annual budget and budgeting process. The budget acts as the foundation for the business’s financial decisions. It helps businesses predict incoming revenue, variable and fixed operating expenses and changes in cash flow, which may require strategies to reduce costs or seek additional outside capital, before they happen. That’s why it’s critical to create a budget that can set you up for success. Below are some budgeting mistakes that your company should avoid, along with a practical five-step budgeting process which you can implement to make your business more resilient. Common Budgeting Mistakes 1. Create a budget for only recurring payments Businesses often make the mistake of creating a budget that only includes recurring payments. Unfortunately, ‘surprise’ one-time expenses or certain onetime annual payments can hit, affecting company cash flow. Be sure to map out, plan and budget for those one-time expenditures.

2. Not planning for emergency costs Successful financial planning also requires building an emergency fund, which will help you survive a crisis. If you don’t plan for emergencies, your business can suffer. Similar to our household budgets, I recommend working toward having a safety net equal to at least three months of operating expenses. It may take some time to build sufficient cash reserves, but an emergency fund allows you to avoid going into debt just to pay for these unexpected yet necessary expenses. 3. Failing to track your spending Monitoring your expenses involves keeping tabs on your overhead during the month, and even daily. If you don’t keep track of your costs, you risk frivolous or impulsive spending, which may lead to a failure to reach your financial goals. Finding an effective method to track your expenses is critical, even if it's in a separate notebook or spreadsheet. 4. Not automating payments When trying to be responsible with your finances, the last thing you want is a missed due date. Not only is it bad for your credit, but it also results in late fees and additional charges. Unfortunately, this is a common

mistake. Make sure to set up automated payments wherever possible to ensure that bills and other recurring expenses get paid on time every month. 5. Setting an unrealistic budget When creating a budget and making financial plans, think realistically about what you can achieve with your limited income. For example, don’t plan to buy big-ticket items within a few months if you can barely save any money from rent and other necessary expenses. Instead, take it slow and be prudent with your approach to budgeting. Budgeting Process Best Practices 1. Have a Written Plan The first step in the budgeting process is having a written plan. It’s important to build a financial plan around your business goals. A plan is simply a tool and road map, which lays out the objectives, goals and strategies for achieving those goals. Organizations that stay focused

on the plan know where to allocate their financial resources and, just as important, where not to spend money. 2. Develop Annual Business Goals Annual goals should align with the priorities and initiatives outlined in the plan. These goals should drive the budget so company resources are aligned with and support the organizational strategy. The budget ensures the resources needed to achieve the goals. Make your goals SMARTspecific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound and assign accountability for achieving the goals. 3. Develop Annual Budget Prepare a 12-month projected income statement and cash flow statement. The projected income statement should include: • Projected revenue • Variable costs • Fixed cost • One-time operating expenses • Costs for new or special projects

Paul Smith is Fargo and Director of the ND SBDC Fargo & Southeast Center. The SBDC helps North Dakota entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive through providing nocost business advising services and training in a wide range of areas such as business planning, market research and financial analysis. In 2021, the program assisted 1,800 clients across the State. The Fargo and Southeast Center is in the NDSU Research and Technology Park Incubator. For more information, please visit ndsbdc.org.

The company should also look at its performance vs. industry (benchmarking), especially if the company is a young company without several years of history. Be sure you are comparing your company to similar size companies in the same industry (NAICS code). Also, be sure you are getting your industry data from reputable sources.

Establish a pre-tax net income goal to allow sufficient profit margin to be reinvested in the operations and growth of the business (retained earnings), or as dividends for the business owner or investors. Most established businesses desire a pre-tax net income of 10-20% of sales. While profitability is an important measure of success, cash flow will determine the survival of the business and capacity for growth. A cash flow statement is an explanation of how much cash your business brings in, how much cash it pays out and its ending cash balance per month. The cash flow statement helps you understand your actual cash position.



4. Review and Evaluate Results The owner and/or leadership team should monitor performance by reviewing company financial statements on a monthly basis. Evaluate and discuss how the company performed compared to budget, previous period and the same period the previous year (horizontal analysis). Then, look at the percentage of each component in relation to the total within that financial report (vertical analysis). For example, on the income statement each item should be stated as a percent of sales such as gross profit margin as a % of sales.

Note any significant variances (variance analysis). It’s important to identify what’s causing the variance and the potential impact before you can correct it. Use dashboards or dynamic spreadsheets with conditional formatting and color coding to make it easier to spot variances. 5. Make Adjustments Use your variance analysis to adjust where needed. Unless you are a start-up business with no history, I would recommend not changing your budget during the year. It is important to go through this analysis every month, rather than waiting until the end of the year, so there can be course corrections if needed. 6. Use Online Budget Planning Software Budgeting tools can help automate and standardize processes while minimizing

the chances of errors in your budgeting. Some accounting systems such as Quickbooks Online have integrated budgeting functionality. Otherwise, you should look for a budgeting app that can be integrated with your accounting platform. Several common accounting and/or budgeting solutions include: • Quickbooks Online • FreshBooks • Xero • Zoho Books • PlanGuru (budgeting app only) Wrap Up Having a solid budgeting process is foundational for sound business management, growth and long-term sustainability. The beginning of a new year is a great time to put a budget process in place. If you would like assistance with creating a budget or have questions regarding other areas related to starting and managing a small business, please seek help from the ND Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), another SBA resource partner or business advisor.

Professional athletes train hard to perfect their craft, secure their spot on the roster and elevate their game. Many of them also use goal setting and mental training techniques. They train for muscle memory and reflex. They train for the unexpected. They purposely put themselves in uncomfortable situations. Even with natural talent and ability, the good do not become great without dedicated, focused and repetitive training. We expect this level of commitment from professional athletes, so why don’t we expect this same level of commitment from other professions? Is your sales team truly comprised of sales professionals ready to play



in the big league or do they need to be sent back to the minors to hone their craft? A dynamic and effective sales training program requires a knowledgeable and engaging coach who can motivate the team, has done detailed preparation, and who provides appropriate tools and resources to maximize results. A professional sports team is never sent out on the field without a game plan. The coaching staff has provided the team with a playbook, made sure the team is properly conditioned, repetitively practiced each play, researched their opponents and planned their strategy based on the strengths and weaknesses of their own players as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the competition.

Your sales team deserves and requires the same level of preparation to achieve and exceed expectations. Have you provided them with a playbook including scripts and meaningful sales collateral? Have they role played repeatedly to the point where responses to questions or objections are managed with confidence in an engaging and informative manner? Do they know how to rank and prioritize leads? Do they understand what information to research and gather prior to meeting with a prospect or customer? Do they know the right questions to ask to identify customer objectives and areas of opportunity? At a minimum, your sales training program should include the following components: • Clearly documented expectations

• Mutual commitment between you and your team to achieve results • Goal setting • Product training • Training on sales tools, including CRM best practices • Prioritization • Scripts for calls, emails, and social media outreach and follow-up • How to build rapport with and ask the right questions to identify customer needs • Skill development for prospecting, follow-up, nurturing and closing the deal Get your sales team in shape. Position your team to play among the elite and achieve greatness. Here are six reasons to require

and implement a training program for your sales team: 1. Goals & Mindset: Sales training that incorporates requirements to develop and define personal and professional goals provides motivation and guidance for individual team members. It reminds individuals why they are doing what they are doing, where they are going,and to what they have committed. Writing down these goals daily keeps goals present and top of mind. Sharing these goals with

other team members on a regular basis establishes accountability beyond oneself. Goal setting done right enables individuals and teams to achieve their goals. 2. Sales Team Alignment & Consistency: A team that trains together is unified, represents your products and your organization with a consistent and well-defined message and shares best practices. This results in a team that understands the importance of prioritization for sales activities that



generate results and a clear plan for how to execute on those activities. Well aligned teams have a consistent approach for tackling prospecting, follow-up and closing. 3. Confidence & Recall: Repetition and training builds confidence. Well trained sales teams have practiced, trained and roleplayed together for every scenario. They know what to say and when to say it. They know what questions need to be asked to uncover customer pain points. They know how to respond, even when they don’t have the answer. They are equipped to overcome objections. They are prepared to ask for and close the deal. 4. Safe Zone: Training provides a safe zone to experiment, try out new talk tracks and approaches and even to fall flat on your face. Would you rather your sales team has an awkward role play session or a bad interaction with a live prospect or customer? This is when and where you challenge comfort zones and create the most difficult customer



interaction scenarios. This is how you build stamina and awareness within your sales team. 5. Evaluating Skill Sets: Training lays the groundwork for a level playing field. If all team members are provided with the same training, it is easier to identify who possesses which skill sets, expose individual strengths and weaknesses and determine whether individual team members have the potential to become sales superstars, successful sales professionals or won’t ever be able make the cut. 6. Retention: Sales training can improve employee retention. Employees want to work for companies that invest in and value them. Companies that provide quality sales training send a message that they are willing to develop their employees and help them to grow.



Development Association articipating in a community where you don’t know the local language is a challenge most people will never face. For first-generation immigrants and refugees, however, it can be a daily struggle. When Cani Adan relocated from Somalia to Fargo in 2015 and obtained a job as an Employment Specialist with the Afro-American Development Association (AADA), an organization founded to help immigrants and refugees find jobs, adjust to American culture and improve themselves through education and opportunity, he quickly learned that those with limited English were at a distinct disadvantage in finding employment. “Most of the immigrant community who came to the state came here to work, but without speaking English it was a challenge. I could help them with the applications, but when the jobs called them, they’d have to hand the phone to a family member to understand what was said. The HR person would understand they couldn’t speak English, say they would call back, but wouldn’t. I would go to the companies with hundreds of people with the ability to do the jobs they were looking for, but I found I was only able to find jobs for those who could speak English. Coming from Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Iran, and Iraq, there were many who could not. It was a big

BY Brandi




challenge for the community. So we came up with the idea of starting English classes, where they can come and learn the basic English they need to go to work.” With the help of volunteers from NDSU, Concordia, Moorhead Public Schools and the community, the AADA launched the English Language Learning Program. Starting with about five students, which met in Cani’s home where he served Somali tea to both teachers and students, the program has now grown to 48 current students. With the increased number of students, the group now meets in a larger space in Moorhead— although Somali tea is still served. “No tea, no class,” Cani laughed. “My volunteers are awesome people,” Cani said. “Some of them have volunteered for over five years, to do class preparations, all without pay. Even throughout the pandemic, [volunteers still worked] online.” While many of their volunteers are professors, teachers, students or members of the immigrant community who have also relocated to the area and want to help others benefit the same way they have, volunteers don't need to be teachers or former non-English speakers. Anyone interested in helping the community is welcome. The success of the program is clearly visible in the concrete results.

“People who in 2015 couldn’t work or speak English, are doing both today. The person who couldn’t answer the phone can now talk to HR on the phone by themselves, write emails and read messages from the city, social services and schools. Parents are now able to talk to their kids' teachers, where they couldn’t before. That’s how I know this class is very important,” Cani said. With increased success and class size, however, comes an increased level of complication. The larger class sizes require more space, additional teaching supplies, and extra tables and chairs, for added safety in COVID times, masks and cleaning supplies are also needed. This places a new financial burden on a successful program that has run for five years on zero budget. To attempt to address their new financial needs, the group is requesting donations and exploring grant options. To start what will hopefully be a successful money-raising campaign, the AADA’s English Language Learning Program was selected as one of the two November grantees by the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation. The $1000 gift will go to purchasing books to be used by class participants and to be checked out for home use when needed. While this is only a small first step toward addressing their needs, the organization is hopeful about connecting with resources to help them continue their

work helping members not only develop their conversational and reading skills, and to connect them with local community members through their volunteers. Community members who would like to support this initiative (or any of the programs offered through AADA) are welcome to join the group of enthusiastic volunteers, or to make a donation through the Afro-American Development Association website, aadevassoc.org The Afro-American Development Association was founded in 2014. Today, the AADA supports approximately 520 individuals annually (averaging an 8% annual growth).

The Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a non-profit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/ cassclay.


Ruth's Pantry Cart hen planting their garden, the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Moorhead expected to grow vegetables. They didn’t expect it to bloom into a free little pantry for the neighborhood community. “We have a garden outside and had all this extra produce. Someone in the congregation donated a cart where we could leave it for those who wanted to share. Then we noticed that the people who were stopping really were very hungry. So we started adding things like canned goods and other items that were okay out in the elements. The need was there and growing, and we are trying to keep up,” Lee Grineski, a congregation member who organizes donations and restocking for Ruth's Pantry Cart, said. Seeing the need in their neighborhood, the church consulted with some of the local food banks and realized that while there are many resources available in the area, there are also many hurdles people face in accessing them. Such as unable to get to them during business hours, running low before the next visit, or accessing transportation to reach them at all. With the understanding that small, neighborhood pantries can fill a gap in addressing hunger, the First Congregational UCC Moorhead turned their free vegetable cart into a neighborhood resource.

BY Brandi




“Before going into winter, a gentleman at our church, Dwight Michelson, built our new, larger enclosed pantry, and painted it as well. He’s amazing,” Brynne VanHettinga, one of the coordinators for Ruth's Pantry Cart, said.

challenge that has impacted the initiative is the weather. While food is utilized quickly enough that their issues with food spoilage have been minimal, the outside temperature greatly impacts the donations they are able to put out.

Stocking Ruth's Pantry Cart has been a learning experience for the volunteers from the church as they struggle to address food needs in the neighborhood. They have gone from adding things at random to attempting to schedule regular restocking with volunteers. With six church members/families scheduled to fill the cart two or three days a month on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, a couple who takes the weekend shift, and several other members helping to fill the cart on a less “scheduled” basis, the cart still empties quickly.

“Produce can go bad in the summer, and in the winter you can’t do canned goods, or the seams could split and that wrecks the food. You can do things packaged in plastic because there is give in the packaging, but not cans or glass,” Lee said. “We have to watch the temperatures, but you can do fresh fruit and vegetables in the spring and summer, do things like cheese or yogurt in the fall, and even frozen meat in the winter.”

“We’ve discovered the people who use the pantry are varied,” Lee said. “Some are families, trying to get by between pantry visits when food runs low. We also have a whole group of homeless men who wait when we fill the cart, and take a few things that they can use for lunch. One group may appreciate being able to make a big spaghetti dinner. The other really appreciate cans with pop tops of ravioli, granola bars, cheese and cracker packets, or fruit cups, things they can take with them and eat. We try to address the needs of both groups.” As Ruth's Pantry Cart is available to the community throughout the year, another

Impressed by the group’s efforts, the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation named First Congregational UCC Moorhead one of two November grantees, gifting them with $1000 to assist with their next step in trying to maximize the usefulness of Ruth's Pantry Cart. “We would like to install some type of insulation/weatherization for the cart so a greater variety of food items can have a longer ‘shelf-life’ in the summer and winter,” Brynne said. “We’re learning as we go.” The First Congregational UCC Moorhead free pantry is near the entrance of a courtyard attached to the church

gardens, offering shady trees and benches for the community. Its location is adjacent to the parking lot, which allows for easy access to the cart for both those who need it and any other community members who wish to make donations to help stock it. Lists are posted on the inside of the cart door: one for sharing the locations of area foodbanks and other resources, and other for suggesting useful donation guidelines for food and other "maintenance-type" items like trash bags and paper towels. “It’s very ‘take what you need, leave what you can.' Of course, we accept monetary

donations, as well,” Brynne adds. “I don’t drive well on snow and ice, so in the winter I shift from filling the cart to donating money. The church puts it on a grocery card, and if someone doesn’t have money but does have time, they can take the card and shop to fill the cart. We’d love to do more, but we can only do what we have the people and resources to do. We have to try to focus on the need we are filling, and not the need that goes unfulfilled.”

The Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a non-profit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/ en/chapters/cassclay.

The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Moorhead is located at 406 South 8th Street Moorhead, MN 56560.



Annie Hough

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself. A. I write plays for children about ecosystems. It’s really fun. I love being outside, gardening and celebrating nature. I love seeing kids get excited about nature and theater and make friends through that. When it comes to pampering myself, I especially love getting a massage or getting my hair done. I have a small dog named Elmer whom I adore. I share my life with a friend named Richard who’s great to have around. He’s handy, which is really helpful for a roommate. Q. How did you get involved in your work? A. I was going to graduate school for horticulture. It hadn’t crossed my mind to write a play. I loved writing short stories and really loved hearing them read out loud, so it did make sense that I’d be good at writing plays. During my time at graduate school, there was an agency for artists with disabilities called VFA Arts. I won a grant from them and they offered a scholarship for artists with disabilities to take a playwriting class. I wrote my first play then, which was semi-autobiographical. It was about a young woman who was going to school and had a lot of crazy interactions with people. It was well-received and produced at a few festivals. That gave me the idea that I’d like to write a play for the final project at the University of Minnesota. I had to jump through some hoops to get it done, but it was really fun. The play was about an apple maggot, and it was eventually performed in Detroit Lakes at the Holmes Theatre. My first big break! Q. That’s a pretty big jump to go from horticulture to writing plays. Did you have any inkling that you would become a writer when you were a kid? A. I was a huge bookworm and still am. I didn’t think I’d be a writer when I was a kid, but when I went to college I realized I had a talent for writing

Annie Hough went to graduate school to study horticulture and came out a playwright. She talks with Ladyboss about taking an unconventional route, why sometimes a good cry is the best way to handle rejection and the importance of representation through visibility. Written and photo provided by Ladyboss Midwest 106


and creating characters. It was definitely an interest of mine. Q. People don’t always take writing seriously as a career path. A. Two of my plays were done in Australia about ten years ago. I was interviewed on TV, and found if you’re on TV, then and only then do people take you seriously. I went to the gym and people would say, “I saw you on the news!” It was just a two minute thing, but it made a big impression. My dad was especially impressed. Q. Is that the moment you began to take yourself seriously? A. I still don’t take myself too seriously. I try to just have as much fun as I can when I’m writing. When I research, I’m very serious, and I take myself seriously then. I'm using a different part of the brain when I’m researching than when I’m writing, but I’m just having fun.

kids loved it, but that can really alienate some kids. I’ve tried to maintain a high level of interest and intelligence, but without using those [inaccessible] words. I try to have fun and write things that appeal to the kid that lives in my brain. Q. It’s got to be a fun audience to write for. A. I had one experience with teenagers, and they were not into it! But I love working with the kids that are super enthusiastic and want to play butterflies and run around. Q. This career comes with a whole lot of rejection. How do you handle rejection? A. Like I said earlier, sometimes I just have to cry. I’ll get upset, maybe unfollow the agency that rejected me. Sometimes you have to throw a tantrum. Then I can let it go and focus on the next project. Q. How do you get yourself to keep going when you do get rejected?

I won a fellowship just a few months ago through Springboard for the Arts. I’d applied for a lot of fellowships and never won, and so winning a fellowship gave my confidence a huge boost.

A. I’ve had six plays performed that all got good feedback. I think about that and focus on the successes that I have had. I also really enjoy what I do, and I stay focused on that.

Q. How do you handle the ups and downs of a creative career?

Q. You’re also an active disability advocate. How did you get involved in that work and why is it important to you?

A. It’s heartbreaking when you put a lot of time and effort into a project and get rejected. Sometimes I cry or call a loved one or friend to just vent. Then I’ll move on to the next project. Q. What is it like to write for children? Do you enjoy working with young people? A. It’s really fun! When I first started, I used a lot of big and scientific words and a few

plays. I just try to advocate by being visible and trying to be successful. I stay positive and strong and try to not be deterred by small obstacles. Q. I love the idea of advocacy through visibility. There are a lot of diverse people in the world, and it’s important to see all kinds of people living their lives in our community. A. I don’t see a lot of people with disabilities around [Fargo-Moorhead]. I hope when people see me out, they feel like it’s okay to also be a part of society in the same way. Q. Do you write about disabled characters? A. A play that I’m working on now has a character in a wheelchair. Other than the play I wrote in graduate school, that's the first play I’ve written with a disabled character. I think that’s because it was just really painful for me to be a kid with disabilities and never see myself in movies or plays or even books. A friend of mine asked recently, “Why don’t you use disabled characters?” And it dawned on me, it was because it was so painful. I realized I could empower kids who are disabled by using characters that are disabled. I can’t believe it took me until my seventh play to realize that!

A. I had a traumatic brain injury when I was a teenager. I’ve been disabled since then and at first it was really hard to accept it. I did not advocate or even want to talk about being disabled. Over the years a lot of people have said, “It’s nice to see you out and about.” It’s condescending, but I know they mean well. I just try to be active and do what I enjoy doing. I go to the gym. I see



Academic Insight


elcome to 2022! It’s a new year with new possibilities. New goals and new strategies. And with all that newness may come required changes. I think all of us know, especially when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the idea of change is exciting and promising. However, the reality of implementing changes proves to be more difficult and challenging.

BY Shontarius D. Aikens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at Offutt School of Business at Concordia College




Overcoming Resistance to Change Consider this scenario. Your organization has decided to adopt a new method, procedure, or software system to complete organizational tasks. It will be a muchneeded upgrade and improvement to your old ways of doing things. The end-result will be a tremendous benefit to the organization in terms of organizational effectiveness and efficiency. However, your organization can’t realize those benefits, because employees may not be fully behind the transition. Some are more vocal in their opposition while others are quietly holding on to traditional procedures and norms. In preparation for this month’s article, I noticed that when authors attempt to illustrate and simplify the complexities of organizational change, they often refer to the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton. Some individuals have successfully applied Newton’s Laws of Motion to organizations to help managers understand what is happening during organizational change processes. For this month’s article, I want to focus specifically on Newton’s Third Law of Motion which is described below:

“For every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. If object A exerts a force

on object B, object B also exerts an equal and opposite force on object A.” (Glenn Research Center). This has been demonstrated to occur in organizations. When there is a force for change, there will be an equal and opposite force opposed to change. Several of the common reasons why people resist change in organizations are listed below: • Economic factors • A conflict with self-interests • Different goals and assessments • Fear of loss • Lack of trust • Fear of the unknown/uncertainty • Lack of understanding My guess is that if you have any experience with implementing change within an organization, you have encountered one or more of these obstacles. So, how do we as managers respond to and overcome forces opposed to change? According to the literature, there are several approaches that managers can use. For this article, I want to focus on two general approaches— Education/Communication and Participation.

Dr. Aikens can be reached at: saikens@cord.edu

Education/Communication The education/communication approach for implementing change is used under the following conditions: • When change is technical • When users need accurate information and analysis to understand change From my perspective, I think the education/communication approach applies to both those who will be on the receiving end of change (users) and those who want to implement change (decision-makers). When it comes to users, the common approach is for leaders to present facts, figures, and technical information. What is oftentimes missing is focusing on the why behind needed changes. There is a common saying that the hardest thing to open is a closed mind. In some cases, individuals who have been performing a task a certain way are reluctant to buy into or even try a different method. It is suggested that when educating/ communicating with users, managers should create a sense of urgency and help users understand why changing will benefit them personally. For decision-makers, I think it is extremely important to fully understand factors opposed to change before making transitions. A tool that can be used by managers is a force-field analysis, which is simply listing on one side all the driving forces for change (problems and opportunities) and on the other side listing all the potential forces that would be resistant to change (barriers).

Participation The participation approach for implementing change is used under the following conditions: • When users need to feel involved • When design requires information from others • When users have the power to resist The expectation is that when decision-makers involve employees at the beginning and during change processes, those employees will be

more supportive rather than resistant. In my opinion, managers should also take into consideration both legitimate power and expert power that exists in the organization. Legitimate power is defined as “the degree to which a person has the right to ask others to do things that are considered within the scope of their authority.” Expert power is defined as “the ability to influence the behavior of others through the amount of knowledge or expertise possessed by an individual on which others depend." While managers have legitimate power, some employees could have a tremendous amount of expert power. Employees know the specific details and steps of procedures, what works, and what doesn’t work. And since they are often the first point of contact with customers or external stakeholders, it would make sense to seek their input when implementing change in organizations. I know from personal experience that whenever I involved individuals who reported to me to play a role in making decisions, the result was often much better than what I could have imagined on my own. This brings me to my next point which is the importance of listening to and gathering feedback. If you get employees involved, and they provide feedback, it is important to do something with the feedback if feasible. Otherwise, employees could be demotivated from actively participating in the future.

Resources For more information and additional resources on this topic, I’ve included a list of articles that might be of interest: • Newton’s Law Applied to Organizational Change by Sergio Luis Conte • Involving Employees in Change: 5 Quick Tips by Andrew Horlick • How to Get Employees Involved in Making Changes by Stan Mack • Five Ways to Engage Employees in Change by Rachel Bangasser • Change Management Lessons About Employee Involvement by Susan M. Heathfield • Don’t Just Tell Employees Organizational Changes Are Coming—Explain Why by Morgan Galbraith




Fargo Events

JANUARY 19 Creating a Community of Respect

Wednesday, January 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. An organization's commitment to embrace diverse, equitable and inclusive business practices ranks among the top of issues this next generation of workers cares deeply about. Now, more than ever, employees are looking to their organization to be a leader in this space. But what does this mean for a business? Where should your organization, or even you as an individual, even start on this journey? Join for this training, Creating a Community of Respect where you will learn about cultural differences and be encouraged to think critically about the impact of other cultural values in relation to yours. In addition, we will spend time focusing on self-awareness and the importance of exploring other cultural values, understanding and recognizing stereotypes and unintended bias, understanding microaggressions and their impact, and ways you can positively address bias when you see it. Hilton Garden Inn and livestream 4351 17th Avenue South Fargo, ND 58103

JANUARY 25 You Have Permission

Tuesday, January 25 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

It's time to give ourselves permission to live our heart's desire, to say no to what doesn't serve us and yes to what fills us up. And it's time to really support each other. Let's cultivate our circles of support and hold on tightly to them. Let's invite radical self care into our own lives and watch the world around us change in response to the love we give ourselves. Avalon Events Center and livestream 2525 Ninth Avenue South Fargo, ND 56103

JANUARY 28 Networking Before 9

Friday, January 28 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Join us for our first Networking Before 9



events in 2022! We’ll set up an interactive space to get to know each other and meet our new members! Remember, you don’t have to be part of the POC group to join. Make sure to bring a friend or two along! fmwfchamber.com

FEBRUARY 8 Midwest Economic Forecast Summit Tuesday, February 8 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Developing and maintaining a vibrant economy is essential to the continued growth of the Midwest. The Midwest Economic Forecast Summit will bring together industry leaders and economic experts from across the Midwest to take part in a holistic discussion. Our nation recently faced a global recession, record U.S. unemployment and extreme economic uncertainty. This is an opportunity to learn about regional and

national economic trends, examine factors that keep our region competitive and hear from industry leaders from across various sectors including agriculture, energy, health care, and more. Delta by Marriott and livestream 1635 42nd Street South Fargo, ND 58103

FEBRUARY 9 The Art of Storytelling

Wednesday, February 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Successful leaders and public speakers throughout history have understood and harnessed the power of good storytelling. According to Forbes, it’s a powerful business tool, the backbone of a strong marketing strategy, and a competitive advantage that creates brand loyalty. Every person and business has a story to tell that instills purpose and meaning in what they do. Humans have been using stories as a

MARCH 9 Managing a Remote Workforce

Wednesday, March 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are living in a brave new world. Remote working employees may be a phenomenon that is here to stay. How do we manage a remote workforce effectively? How do we promote collaboration and maximize productivity in a remote environment? It is important to realize the impact of various behaviors and how they respond in a remote workplace. Learning Objectives: 1. How to ensure meaningful communication with remote workers? 2. What does the data tell us about who's most interested in remote work? 3. Gain insight how remote work impacts employee confidence. 4. Conducting effective virtual meetings - what to do and what not to do 5. Key Findings regarding how various types of people respond to a virtual world 6. How do we ensure collaboration and connection to the team? 7. Gain Tips for improving the remote experience based on the person's behavioral style. DoubleTree by Hilton and livestream 825 E Beaton Drive West Fargo, ND 58078

form of communication in every culture throughout history. They are used to share experiences, promote values, build community, or simply to entertain. Regardless of the story’s purpose, choosing to communicate in the form of a story will make you more interesting and memorable. The amount of time that you have to capture the attention of your audience is dwindling. As soon as you utter your first word the countdown begins. Only individuals and teams that have something interesting to say are the ones that win new business, influence investors, and engage colleagues. In The Art of Storytelling, you’ll learn how you can leverage the power of storytelling to attract and hold attention while delivering key messages that will prompt action. Learning Outcomes: 1. Identify how storytelling captures the attention of your audience and increases engagement 2. Enhance communication with memorable

anecdotes and parables 3. Use stories that creatively deliver key messages and establish the value of doing business with you and your organization 4. Demonstrate storytelling skills that make an impact and prompt action. Courtyard by Marriott Moorhead and livestream 1080 28th Avenue South Moorhead, MN 56560

MARCH 22 Quit Being the Victim: Taking Back Control of Your Life

Tuesday, March 22 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

I'm sure all of us have felt, at least once, like we have no control over our lives or what is happening to us. Or maybe even just so stressed out that you don't know what to do next but you know you can't keep going the way you are. I mean, come on, who hasn't been stressed out by COVID?

I have a five-step process for reducing stress and taking some control back over your life again. Together we will work on building a mindset that allows you to let go of the things in your life you cannot control and instead focusing your time and energy on what you can control. My session is all about refocusing your energy for better outcomes in life, in family and at work. In this session, we'll start with the first steps to identifying stressors in your life, setting things into buckets of what you can and cannot control, refocusing your energy, start receiving better outcomes and start living a happier more grateful life. Avalon Events Center and livestream 2525 Ninth Avenue South Fargo, ND 56103