2021 Initiative Foundation Impact Report

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Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst (front), Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce director, with local business owners in downtown Long Prairie.

2021 Impact Report

Dear Friends, In 2021, the Initiative Foundation celebrated 35 years of service to the 14 counties and two sovereign tribal nations of Central Minnesota. While dealing with the unprecedented effects of the pandemic and all that it revealed, we were heartened to see Central Minnesotans standing together and working for each other—just like they’ve been doing since 1986 when the Initiative Foundation was created. Similar to 2020, much of the Foundation’s pandemic recovery support was in the form of small business relief grants through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). In 2020, the Initiative Foundation awarded 742 small business relief grants totaling $7.4 million. A second round of relief grants was initiated in 2021, with 177 grants for a total of $2 million awarded by year’s end. The effort continued into 2022 for a secondround distribution of $8.8 million. In total, since the onset of the pandemic, the Initiative Foundation has awarded $16.24 million in relief grants to 1,527 Central Minnesota small businesses. It’s been a big lift for the team, but everyone on staff is committed to delivering aid to the region for as long as necessary and while supporting resources are available. The Foundation also awarded $330,700 in aid to child care and early childhood providers in 2021 and $1.8 million through 464 traditional grants to nonprofits, school and local units of government. All of this and more was delivered while continuing to provide quality programming and small-business lending that empowers people throughout Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity. This work wouldn’t be possible without valued donors like you and our state- and national-level funding partners. We thank each of you for your generous support. As chair of the Initiative Foundation’s Board of Trustees, I am excited to present this 2021 Impact Report. In the full online version at ifound.org/annual-reports, you will find a host of stories to illustrate the important work of the Foundation. Read about grants supporting Central Minnesota robotics clubs, a fast-growing extracurricular activity for local students. Gain insights into the touch-and-go fluctuations experienced by Wes and Lori Jones, small business relief grant recipients and owners of Casting Creations in Howard Lake. And learn about the communityminded generosity of Colette and Paul Cameron through their Initiative Foundation-hosted donor-advised fund. Through these challenging times, Central Minnesotans have been standing together. I have no doubt this spirit of collaboration and cooperation will continue. From all of us at the Initiative Foundation, thank you for your support and partnership. This work would not be possible without you.

Kim Ellingson


Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees Chair



Grants to 821 Nonprofits, Businesses* and Local Units of Government

404 Grants Delivered by 128 Hosted Partner Funds



Loans to 22 Businesses

47 Grants to Children, Families and Schools


Entrepreneurs Trained (Enterprise Academy/ Initiators Fellowship)


Nonprofits Trained

*While for-profit businesses typically are not eligible to receive grants, the pandemic created conditions in which charitable funds can be used to support economic recovery. 2 2021 Impact Report



INVESTING IN REGIONAL PROSPERITY Through leadership programs, grants and business investments powered by local generosity, the Initiative Foundation invested in Central Minnesota by ... • Providing loans to businesses that create quality jobs

• Serving as a resource magnet and funding advocate for our region

• Awarding grants to nonprofits, governments and schools

• Helping generous people give back to their communities

• Building public-private partnerships that lead to action

• Publishing information on local trends and solutions.

2021 EXPENDITURES Thanks to donor support, the Initiative Foundation disbursed $9,311,147 throughout the region, including:




Grants, Fellowships, Scholarships ($5,424,213)

• $5,424,213 in grants, scholarships and fellowships • $2,065,663 in capacity-building, programming and training


Capacity-building, Programming, Training ($2,065,663)



6% 28%

Fundraising ($443,051) Communications, IQ Magazine ($441,104)




COVID-19 Relief ($3,249,200)

Economic Development ($770,114)

Partner Fund Awards ($1,499,693)

Partner Fund Awards ($425,680)

Community Development ($349,550)


Administrative Expenses ($937,116)



37% 12%





COVID-19 Relief ($256,895)




Community Development ($347,706) Business Finance Assistance ($265,268)

Economic Development ($325,770)

Service ($1,124,000) Tourism ($230,000)

An additional $1.88 million was disbursed in the form of new loans and investments.

Retail ($224,000) 60%

Housing ($200,000) Alternative Agriculture ($60,000) Manufacturing ($23,750) Technology ($15,000)

Visit ifound.org/annual-report to view audited results, including a year-over-year comparison of the organization's financial position and a detailed 2021 statement of activities. 3

OUR Mission

To empower people throughout Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity.


Mateo Mackbee (left) and Erin Rae are co-owners of Krewe Restaurant and Flour & Flower bakery in St. Joseph. The couple partnered with the Initiative Foundation, Minnwest Bank and the city of St. Joseph on a startup loan to open the restaurant and bakery/flower shop.

CO MMU N ITY Volunteer Candy Freeman (right) and Mónica Segura-Schwartz worked together to ensure the Melrose Food Shelf had culturally appropriate foods to support individuals and families during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This work was funded by a Center for Disaster Philanthropy grant administered by the Initiative Foundation.

GENEROSITY Bobbie Gorron established the Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation, a Partner Fund of the Initiative Foundation, to honor her son, Corey, who died from injuries sustained in a 2019 avalanche at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. The foundation raises funds for avalanche rescue dogs at ski resorts across the nation. Locally, advisors plan to support Brainerd High School outdoor adventure classes and Central Lakes College Search and Rescue.

4 2021 Impact Report




We have an abundance of talented people and job-creating enterprises that contribute to economic growth and vitality.

We are a region of robust, highly engaged communities where people choose to live, work, give and play.

People across our region give generously of their time, talent and resources.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORT: Foster growth of businesses by providing training, financing and technical assistance, with an emphasis on underserved communities and social enterprise ventures.

NONPROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING: Provide training to anti-poverty organizations, other nonprofits aligned with our values, and Foundation Partner Fund volunteers and board members to enhance their impact throughout our region.

WORKFORCE, CAREER DEVELOPMENT: Tap under-utilized pools of talent and support career exploration and skill development in high-demand fields.

NONPROFIT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT INNOVATION: Use training, technical assistance and grant funding to support innovative early-stage projects that foster inclusive engagement and development of emerging leaders.

CHILDCARE AVAILABILITY: Catalyze innovation within the region and coordinate with partners in support of economically sustainable, quality child care.

WORKPLACE BEST PRACTICES: Model best practices through a holistic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion; workplace wellbeing; organizational culture; and other operational activities.

ENDOWMENTS: Grow endowments and secure major gifts by cultivating donor relationships and making direct asks across multiple forms of media. LEGACY GIVING: Preserve and grow the region’s wealth by encouraging bequests and maintaining and initiating region-wide relationships with priority stakeholders. INTEGRATED IMPACT: Multiply impact by seeking opportunities for coordination across Innovation Fund grantmaking, Foundation programming and Partner Funds, and by connecting to external grant-makers.

OUR PROGRAMS & SERVICES • Business Financing and Technical Assistance • Enterprise Academy • Grants for Career Exploration, Workforce Development • Initiators Fellowship

• Child Care Solutions • Disaster Response • Energy Transition • Grants • Nonprofit Development • Underserved Outreach

• Community Builders Circle • Donor Services • Hosted Partner Funds • Planned Giving

The Initiative Foundation’s 14-county service area includes Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties and portions of the sovereign native nations of the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe. 5

OUR Supporters 2021 Initiative Foundation Program & Endowment Contributors Your support of the Initiative Foundation’s endowment and its programs is the financial backbone of our longterm success. The endowment provides resources each year for staff to stand together with local leaders to spark economic development initiatives, to help businesses get started or expand, to provide workforce and leadership skills and to pioneer child care solutions to help communities thrive. President: $50,000+ Anonymous Bush Foundation Community Development Financial Institutions Fund Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities Granite Partners, LLC McKnight Foundation Minnesota Department of Education, Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Morgan Family Foundation Otto Bremer Trust Sourcewell U.S. Bank Foundation Market Impact Fund U.S. Small Business Administration Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund Executive: $30,000+ Center for Disaster Philanthropy Leader: $15,000+ Cass County Marie M. MacMillan Trust Wells Fargo Foundation Director: $9,000+ Connexus Energy Crow Wing County East Central Energy Gloria M. Cessna Transitional Trust Stearns County Wright County Associate: $6,000+ Bremer Bank Compeer Financial Gerald C. Cessna Family Trust Isanti County Pine County Morrison County

Schlagel, Inc. Stearns Electric Association Todd County U.S. Bank Entrepreneur: $3,000+ Anderson Brothers Construction Company Benton County Chisago County City of Baxter City of Becker City of Brainerd City of Elk River City of Little Falls City of Milaca City of St. Cloud City of Wadena Clow Stamping Company Consolidated Telecommunications Company Crow Wing Power DeZurik, Inc. First National Bank of Milaca McDowall Company Microbiologics, Inc. Mille Lacs County Sherburne County Dorothy & Mike Simpson St. Cloud Hospital / CentraCare Health System Maggie & Matt Varilek Investor: $1,000+ American Heritage National Bank American National Bank of Minnesota Arvig Communication Systems John E. Babcock BankVista Benefit Innovations Kristi Westbrock & Mike Bjerkness Brenny Transportation Michael & Kathleen Burton Lynn & Darren Bushinger Cambridge Medical Center on behalf of Allina Health System

Central McGowan, Inc. Harvest Bank West Central Telephone Citizens State Bank of Waverly Teri & Tom Hoggarth Association City of Albertville IPEX, Inc. WiDSETH City of Annandale Dianne C. Tuff & Murdoch Jeff & Laurie Wig City of Big Lake Johnson Wyoming Machine, Inc. City of Cambridge Don Hickman & Sandra Kaplan Friend: Up to $1,000 City of Clarissa Jo & Larry Korf Doug & Candace Adams City of Crosslake LINDAR / Avantech AmazonSmile City of Eden Valley Little Falls Area Chamber of Julie & David Anderholm City of Lake Shore Commerce Anonymous City of Long Prairie Long Prairie Packing Company Jessy Beto City of Maple Lake Dr. Robbyn Wacker & Jani Nathan & Kathryn Bjorge City of Melrose Malkiewicz Charles & Kathryn Black Lance City of Monticello Marco Technologies, LLC Steve & Katy Botz City of Mora MINPACK, Inc. Rosemary Brabec City of Nisswa Monroy Law Office, PLLC Brainerd Lakes Area Community City of Pierz Neighborhood National Bank Foundation City of Pine City NOR-SON, Inc. Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst & City of Princeton Martin Paradeis Juergen Brunkhorst City of Rockford Park Industries, Inc. Dan & Marie Bullert City of Sandstone Pequot Tool & Paula & James Christensen City of Sartell Manufacturing, Inc. CITCO City of Sauk Centre Pine Country Bank City of Aldrich City of Sauk Rapids Rick & Helga Bauerly Family City of Backus City of St. Joseph Fund of Central Minnesota City of Belgrade City of St. Michael Community Foundation City of Bertha City of Waite Park Rick and Helga Bauerly City of Breezy Point City of Waverly Foundation City of Brooten CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, RiverWood Banks City of Burtrum Northern Minnesota Robert Shadduck Family Fund City of Cass Lake DAYTA Marketing of the Minneapolis Foundation City of Center City Linda Eich DesJardins & John & Bonnie Schlagel City of Cokato Joseph DesJardins Schlenner Wenner & Co., City of Cold Spring Dick & Mimi Bitzan Family St. Cloud City of Delano Fund of Central Minnesota James & Dr. Wendy Shear City of Eagle Bend Community Foundation Sherburne State Banks & City of East Gull Lake David & Kim Ellingson Sentry Banks City of Emily Don & Deanna Engen Kimberly & Denise Slipy City of Fifty Lakes Falcon National Bank Rita & Everett Sobania City of Foley First Bank & Trust Stearns Bank NA City of Garrison First National Bank North Charlotte Stephens City of Grey Eagle First State Bank of Wyoming The Bank of Elk River City of Hackensack First Western Bank & Trust Todd-Wadena Electric City of Hanover Frandsen Bank & Trust, Baxter, Cooperative City of Henriette Crosslake, Nisswa, Foley, Ludmila Voelker City of Hewitt Braham, Forest Lake & Wadena County City of Hinckley Pine City Wadena State Bank City of Holdingford Kathy & Neal Gaalswyk Bernie Waldorf City of Howard Lake

Supporters with this symbol also are members of the Community Builders Circle. Members are businesses and individuals who contribute $1,000 or more per year to support the Initiative Foundation’s general endowment or programs. When you become a Community Builders Circle member, you widen the circle of the Initiative Foundation’s work, driving economic progress and community vitality in Central Minnesota. 6 2021 Impact Report


I Give

The Initiative Foundation receives support from a host donors to support its endowment and programs. We are thankful for every act of generosity.

Debbie Russell

Joyce Brenny

Charlotte Stephens

“I set up a legacy gift to the Initiative Foundation, which will benefit the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, because it’s a wonderful opportunity to make the world just a little bit better. It is also a way for me to be able to leave this Earth knowing that I took an action that will directly help others. I’m really excited when I consider what the Refuge might be able to do with these funds.”

“Brenny supports the Initiative Foundation because the Foundation supports small businesses. After 26 years in business, Brenny has become a successful transportation provider in the area, due to the support of many of the founders and friends of the Initiative Foundation. Now it’s time to give back, whether it be through monetary donations, mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs and working with the Initiators Fellowship program. Supporting the Initiative Foundation will keep our area working together and thriving far into the future!”

“I’ve always been impressed by how much the Initiative Foundation is doing to benefit people and strengthen communities in the region. In recent years, I’ve observed their innovative response to emerging needs and I’ve donated to support specific new programs. I plan to continue giving annually as a member of the Community Builders Circle.”

Our Supporters Friend: Up to $1,000 (continued) City of Ironton City of Isanti City of Jenkins City of Kimball City of Lastrup City of Longville City of Menahga City of Montrose City of Motley City of Ogilvie City of Onamia City of Otsego City of Paynesville City of Pease City of Pequot Lakes City of Pillager City of Quamba City of Randall City of Remer City of Rice City of Richmond City of Riverton City of Rockville City of Royalton


City of Rush City City of Sebeka City of Swanville City of Upsala City of Verndale City of Wahkon City of Wyoming City of Zimmerman Michelle Clarkin Joseph Nayquonabe & Christina Clitso-Nayquonabe Santo Cruz Abdi Daisane Geoff & Martha Davidge Donovan Group Rick & Michelle Eder Glen Palm & Jane Ellison Melody Evans Tammy & Pete Filippi Ray & Gwynne Gildow David Gruenes Brenda & Manfred Gugglberger Bruce Hanson Chris Fastner & Kathy Hakes-Fastner Noel Harness

Chuck & Lois Head Brad Hoheisel Tom & Gail Honek Heather Hoskins Bill & Sarah Israelson Janet and Tim Wensman Family Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation Betty & Clifford Johnson Dr. Paul Van Gorp & Roberta Knutson Nathan Korfe Gary W. Y. Kwong Jeremy & Barb Larson Laura Larson MaryAnn & Peter Lindell Lois A. & Donald A. Manske David C. Martens Hannah Mayhew Bob & Lisa McClintick Sara McKeever David & Jan McNair Microsoft Matching Gifts Program Midwest Security & Fire

Michele & Zachary Miller Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Minnewaukon Enterprises Jordan & Connie Moe Ismail Mohamad Joe Mulford Julie & Kevin Nelson Loren & Louise Nelson Tim & Kelly Nelson Carl & Jenny Newbanks NextEra Energy, LLC Allison & Pete Norgren Robert & Marilyn Obermiller Jeffrey Ohlmann George Peters Melissa & Joe Peterson Philip & Susan Prosapio Donniel & Brian Robinson Steve & Beryl Roe Stacy Salo John Wertz & Margaret Schlangen Nancy Shallcross Steve & Leila Shurts Robin & Ben Skinner

Southwest Initiative Foundation Mike & Kathleen Spanier Pat & Guy Spence Robert Steele Kasey & Jackie Stevens John & Lissa Sumption Zachary & Jessica Tabatt Jerome & Roberta Takle Dickran & Ann Tashjian James M. & Elizabeth Thares Kerie & Jeff Thoma Greg & Karen Van Zuilen Carie & Kelly Verley Brian Voerding & Mollee Sheehan Voerding Warsame Warsame Dan Weber Anthony & Marie Wagner David Wall Western Bank Wayne & Lori Wolden Irene Wolf




INNOVATION FUND IMPACT Robotics Programs Drive Students Forward

The Minnesota State VEX Robotics Championship, open to all Central Minnesota schools, was held at St. Cloud’s Rivers Edge Convention Center in March 2022. The event featured 120 elementary, middle and high school teams.

From dispensing medication to weeding a bean field, robots may be the answer to repetitive tasks in many industries. Students who learn robotics concepts are likely to open a world of career opportunities. The Royalton School District received a 2021 Initiative Foundation grant to serve as a challenge match for local sponsorship. The grant paved the way for a robotics team during the 2022-2023 school year. Statewide, robotics has seen an 800 percent increase in popularity since 2011, making it the fastest-growing extracurricular activity for Minnesota middle and high school students. Central Minnesota has more than 140 robotics teams from elementary to the college level.

PARTNER FUND GRANT Grants for the Birds Around Lake Mille Lacs Have you ever seen a blue-gray gnatcatcher or a great crested flycatcher? How about a cooper’s hawk or a ruffed grouse? Thanks to the Mille Lacs Area Community Foundation, a Partner Fund of the Initiative Foundation, bird watching will be easier along the 68-mile Lake Mille Lacs Scenic Byway. A 2021 grant is supporting a birdwatching website, checklist, signage and events along the statedesignated byway. A 2018 Initiative Foundation grant supported initial planning for the scenic byway designation. Hop in the car, grab the binoculars and drive to Lake Mille Lacs for this low-cost, high-reward hobby. You might even see a white-winged crossbill flying overhead!


The common loon, our Minnesota state bird, can be spotted on Mille Lacs Lake.


The Initiative Foundation and its hosted Partner Funds awarded more than $1.8 million to nonprofits and local units of government in 2021 through 464 grants. These grants supported our more traditional missionbased work to close opportunity gaps and to increase the economic and social well-being of our region. For a comprehensive listing of grant awards, including Partner Fund grants, visit ifound.org/community/grants. Innovation Fund Grantees

• Brainerd Restoration

• Community Growth Fund, Inc., Long Prairie

• Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, St. Paul

• Bridges of Hope, Brainerd

• CommunityGiving, St. Cloud

• Anderson Center, St. Cloud

• Central Minnesota Community Empowerment

• ConnectAbility of MN, St. Cloud

• Anishinabe Legal Services Inc., Cass Lake

Organization, St. Cloud • City of Baxter • City of Braham • City of Isle • City of Lindstrom • City of Little Falls • Community Aid of Elk River • Community Connection Allies, Bruno

• Crow River Trail Guards, Inc., Paynesville

• Anna Marie’s Alliance, St. Cloud • Avivo, Minneapolis • Benton Economic Partnership, Inc., Foley • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

Education Association • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation 8 2021 Impact Report

• Cuyuna Range Youth Center, Crosby • Ellison Center, St. Cloud • Friends of the Paynesville Public Library • Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable

Communities • Goodwill Industries, Inc. • Great River Children’s Museum, St. Cloud

Grant Award Highlights Innovation Fund Grantees (continued) • Greater Minnesota Partnership, St. Paul • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation • Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation • Hands Across the World, St. Cloud • Higher Works Collaborative, St. Cloud


Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund Grantees Thanks to a grant from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, the Initiative Foundation awarded 38 GRANTS worth $380,000 to support underserved business owners in St. Cloud and Stearns and Todd counties.

Minnesota Department of Education Grantees The Initiative Foundation was awarded a series of grants from the Minnesota Department of Education to support vulnerable children during the COVID pandemic. In 2021, the Foundation awarded 47 GRANTS worth $330,700.

• Ababa, LLC, St. Cloud

• Amanda Billig Child Care, Little Falls

• Abdirashid Ahmed, St. Cloud

• Arissa Kordell, Cambridge

• Ahmedrashid Awdiriye, St. Cloud

• Ashdown Forest School, Breezy Point

• And Immigration Services, St. Cloud

• Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud

• Auto, LLC, St. Cloud

• Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area, Cass Lake

• Barkhadle, Inc., St. Cloud

• Brainerd Family YMCA, Brainerd

• Bash Bash, LLC, St. Cloud

• Brainerd School District, Brainerd

• Careconnect Health Services, LLC, St. Cloud

• Cambridge-Isanti School District, Cambridge

• Chevy’s Pit, LLC, St. Cloud

• Catholic Community Schools, St. Cloud

• City Builders Construction, St. Cloud

• Center For African Immigrants and Refugees

• Jugaad Leadership Program, St. Cloud • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, St. Cloud • Kanabec County Economic Development Agency, Mora • Kinship Partners, Inc., Brainerd • Lakes Area Food Shelf, Inc., Nisswa • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota • Main Street Family Services, Elk River • Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, Onamia • Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement,

St. Paul • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, St. Paul • Minnesota Council on Foundations, Minneapolis • Minnesota Learning Center, Inc., Blackduck • Morrison County Food Shelf, Little Falls • New Pathways, Inc., Cambridge • North Star Family Advocacy Center, Braham • Oasis Central Minnesota, Little Falls • Open Doors For Youth, Elk River • Pine Technical & Community College Foundation, Pine City • Project Forward, Inc., Princeton • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud • Region 5 Children’s Museum, Brainerd • Region Five Development Commission, Staples • Rise Incorporated, Spring Lake Park • Rivers of Hope, Monticello • Royalton School District • Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc., Little Falls • Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Backus • Sherburne County Area United Way, Elk River • Sourcewell, Staples • Success Academy, Bloomington • Terebinth Refuge, Waite Park • The American Association of University Women Saint Cloud-area Branch • The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes • Too Much Talent, St. Cloud • Tri-County Community Action Partnership, Inc., Little Falls • True Directions, Inc., Mora • True Friends, Annandale • United Way of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud • Wadena Development Authority • Waite Park Somali Community Association • Wright County Economic Development Partnership, Buffalo

• Dahir, LLC, St. Cloud • Dalal’s Delivery & Transportation Services, LLC,

St. Cloud

Organization (CAIRO), St. Cloud • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment

Organization, St. Cloud

• Day Services, Waite Park

• Charlotte Brown, Grasston

• DUB Global, LLC, St. Cloud

• Cherished Moments Daycare, Waite Park

• Filsan Talent Partners, St. Cloud

• Creative Kids Academy, St. Paul

• Gabobe Trucking, LLC, St. Cloud

• Early Years Academy, Inc., Cambridge

• Genyo Trucking, LLC, St. Cloud

• Family Life Church of the Assemblies of God, Verndale

• Greater MN Transportation, St. Cloud

• Field of Dreams Daycare, Foley

• Gure Express, LLC, St. Cloud

• Hands Across the World, St. Cloud

• Hassan Yusuf Tax Services, St. Cloud

• Happy Dancing Turtle, Pine River

• Hindi Kosar Family Daycare, St. Cloud

• Happy Hearts Childcare, Walker

• Hodan Transportation, St. Cloud

• In-Harmony Child Care, Little Falls

• Jaime Coker Creations, LLC, Waite Park

• Jessica Stonestrom’s Tots and Toys Daycare, Sartell

• Kadar Ahmed Dakane, Waite Park

• Kid’s Haven, LLC, Buffalo

• Lakeside Carriers, Waite Park

• Kind Hearts Daycare, Princeton

• Lovely Child Care Center, LLC, St. Cloud

• Lidia’s Little Rascals, Randall

• Mi Pueblito, Long Prairie

• Linda D. Kolar, Walker

• National Home Health Care Transportation, St. Cloud

• Lora Nielsen-Henry, Foley

• Nogob Transportation, Inc., St. Cloud

• Lynette Nichols Family Daycare, Jenkins

• OGS Properties, LLC, St. Cloud

• Melissa Skog, Isanti

• Rosa Hernandez, Melrose

• Michelle Reimer, Long Prairie

• Samatar Wireless, St. Cloud

• Milestones, Waite Park

• Samira Fashion Store, St. Cloud

• Minnesota Foster and Adoptive Families, Edina

• SBS Logistics, LLC, Waite Park

• Patricia Orth, Randall

• Smart Growth Transport Sgt., Inc., St. Cloud

• Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City

• Sunshine Care Services, Inc., St. Cloud

• Renee Elden’s Daycare, Rockford

• Taqueria Chavez, Long Prairie

• Rita K. Vetsch, Monticello

• Xidig TV, LLC, St. Cloud

• Rock Creek Critters Childcare, Pine City • St. Cloud Rotary Foundation, Inc., St. Cloud • St. Mary’s Early Learning Academy, Pine City • STRIDE Academy, St. Cloud

“The Initiative Foundation has been so helpful to me as an executive director! They really believe in supporting nonprofits in our area.”

• Swanville School District

Tracy Schreifels, Ellison Center, St. Cloud

• Wright County Economic Development Partnership,

• The Yes Network, St. Cloud • Tiny Tots Childcare, Isanti • Trinity Learning Center, Long Prairie • United Way of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud • WomenVenture, St. Paul





In 2021, the Foundation hosted 128 Partner Funds with a value of $26.8 million. These funds awarded $1.5 million through 404 grants. Creating a Partner Fund allows donors to focus on local charitable needs while leaving the administrative tasks to Initiative Foundation staff.

CAMERONS CELEBRATE GENEROSITY—WITH A KICK! When Paul Cameron suggested to his wife, Colette, that they buy a zebra as their anniversary gift, she thought it was just monkey business. But Paul was serious. And today, Lucy the zebra—and a pair of capuchin monkeys—are part of the Pine Grove Zoo menagerie in Little Falls thanks to a grant from the Colette and Paul Cameron Donor Advised Fund. The couple will use the Initiative Foundation-hosted fund to support organizations they most value. “This is just the start for us, for what we hope will be a lifelong—and after— pattern of giving to organizations that we are committed to in Little Falls,” said Paul. Donor-advised funds are an excellent way to make a local difference. In 2021, Initiative Foundation-hosted donor-advised funds awarded more than $830,000 to 208 nonprofits, schools and local units of government. Photo: Colette and Paul Cameron of Little Falls helped Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls acquire a zebra and a pair of capuchin monkeys. AGENCY FUNDS Birch Lake Endowment Fund • Big Fish Lake Association Emergency Fund • Brainerd Public Schools Foundation Early Childhood Fund • Bridges Manufacturing Workforce Development Fund • Central Minnesota CEO Fund • Conservancy Endowment Fund of the Northern Waters Land Trust • Conservancy Fund of Big Fish Lake • Conservancy Fund of Roosevelt and Lawrence Area Lakes Association • Conservancy Fund of the Rice Lake Association • Conserved Property Stewardship Fund of the Northern Waters Land Trust • Darling Church Memorial Fund • EAA Chapter 551 Fund • Early Childhood Partnership for Isanti County Fund • Fish Trap Lake Endowment Fund • Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Fund • Gull Chain Preservation Endowment Fund • Jim & HK Stuart Memorial Fund • Land and Waters Preservation Trust • Legal Defense Fund of the Northern Waters Land Trust • Minnesota Pioneer Park Endowment Fund • Morrison County Food Shelf Fund • Onamia Early Childhood Endowment Fund • Operational Reserve Fund of the Northern Waters Land Trust • Partnership in Life Fund (Horizon Health) • Paws and Claws Animal Shelter • Sacred Heart Area School Endowment Fund • Salem Lutheran Church Outreach Foundation • Thrive Fund • Wadena City Library Endowment • Wright County Historical Society Fund • Big

BUSINESS LOAN FUNDS Economic Development Loan Fund

• Todd-Wadena

10 2021 Impact Report

BUSINESS LOAN FUNDS - CONTINUED Economic Development Loan Fund • Princeton Economic Development Loan Fund • Menahga

COMMUNITY FUNDS Oak Getty Community Foundation • Cambridge Area Community Foundation • Cambridge Area Economic Development Fund • Delano Area Community Foundation • Greater Pequot Lakes Community Foundation • Greater Pine Area Endowment • Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation • Longville Area Community Foundation • Mille Lacs Area Community Foundation • Morrison County Area Foundation • Rum River Community Foundation • Staples Motley Area Community Foundation • Three Rivers Community Foundation • Black


Family Fund and Tracy Kurpius Fund • Lake Region Conservation Club • Mark Wood Foundation • Scott & Jane Stuart Memorial Park Fund • Skolmate Fund for the Welfare of Animals • Julius

DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS Brothers Family Fund • Artesian Homes Charitable Fund • Betty and Larry Nelson Family Fund • Bob and Marsha Bunger Family Endowment Fund • Bruce and Diane Gohman Fund • Central Minnesota Builder’s Association Fund and Initiative • Chuck Christian Community Spirit Fund • Colette & Paul Cameron Donor Advised Fund • Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation • Edeburn Family Fund • Gaalswyk Family Fund • Granite Partners Fund • Anderson

DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS - CONTINUED and Susan J Kurpius Family Fund • John and Bonnie Schlagel Endowment • Josh Richardson Family Fund • Loren & Kathy Morey Family Fund • Marie and David Fischer Family Charitable Fund • Mel and Jeanette Beaudry Fund • Nancy and Thomas Adams Family Charitable Fund • Patrick and Jane Mitchell Family Fund • Paula and Chad Becker Fund • Playing it Forward: The Kenneth and Evelyn Pinckney Young Musicians’ Fund • Prairie Lights: Pioneering Yesterday and Today • Shawn Grittner Memorial Fund • Teresa’s Stash Legacy Fund* • James

EDUCATION FUNDS Area Education Foundation • Becker Education Foundation • Braham Area Education Foundation • Cuyuna Lakes Education Foundation • Lake Region Christian School Education Foundation • Little Falls Education Foundation • Patriot Foundation • Pillager Education Foundation • Royalton Education Foundation • Sauk Rapids-Rice Education Foundation • Albany

FIELD OF INTEREST FUNDS & Early Childhood Education Fund* • Chisago Lakes Initiative Fund • Early Childhood Fund for Morrison County • Family Farm Fund • Housing Fund of the Greater Mora Area • Innovative Schools Project Fund • Manufacturing Fund of Central Minnesota • Memorial Hospital Foundation (Serving Greater Isanti County) • The Initiators Fund • The Lakes Area Medical Development Fund • Women’s Leadership Fund • Childcare

RELIEF FUNDS Area Disaster Preparedness and Relief Fund • Central Minnesota Emergency Relief and Recovery Fund • Delano Area Emergency Fund • Sourcewell Region 5 COVID-19 Relief Fund • Cambridge

SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS Sources of Energy Fund • Archie and Isabelle Powell Family Memorial Scholarship Fund • Bachman Engelking Scholarship Fund • Bert and Helen LeBlanc Legacy Scholarship Fund • Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund • Beverly M. Pantzke Scholarship Fund • Bob Wright Memorial Scholarship Fund • Dorn Family Fund • Fregin Foundation • H. Eugene Menzel Scholarship Fund • Holdingford Scholarship Endowment • Irene Myres Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund • Little Falls Scholarship Fund • Madden’s Pine Beach Scholarship Fund • Mary Jean Tillman Healthcare Scholarship Fund* • Pillager Scholarship Fund • Silver Lining Scholarship Fund • Staples Knights of Columbus Council #1803Lloyd & Marion Giddings Scholarship Fund • The Bruske-Johnson Scholarship Fund • Tollefson Scholarship* • William & Ethel Nelson Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship Fund • ZES Scholarship Fund • Alternative

SPECIAL PROJECTS Loon Center Project Fund • Sartell DOGPAC Fund • Veterans Art Monument Fund - Phase II (St. Cloud) • National

*Indicates newly created fund in 2021.


COVID Relief Grants

In 2021, the Initiative Foundation partnered with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to deliver Main Street COVID Relief Grants. The grants went to 177 businesses for a total of nearly $2 million to help owners manage through pandemic disruptions. About $6.5 million in additional grants have been distributed in 2022.

MAIN STREET COVID RELIEF GRANT IMPACT Casting Creations: The Heart of Crafting One-of-a-kind Art If you’ve visited Target Field in Minneapolis, you’ve likely seen the big, bronze Twins baseball glove and TC Bear statue made by Casting Creations of Howard Lake. You’ve also likely seen Casting Creations’ work at zoos, parks and museums across Minnesota and the United States. Wes Jones and his wife, Lori, co-own the foundry and fabrication shop and work with a team of four employees to produce custom sculptures and animal cremation urns, most of which are cast from bronze. In 2021, Casting Creations received a Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grant administered by the Initiative Foundation. The grant was instrumental in helping the company survive COVID disruptions, the rising price of material and a drop in customers. “It was touch-and-go for a while,” Wes Jones said. “It was great to have the extra money to help us get through it.”

COVID-19 RELIEF Small Business Relief Grants The Initiative Foundation partnered with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in 2021 to distribute a second round of relief grants to Central Minnesota small businesses. Nearly 180 grants were distributed by the end of the year, with the remainder occurring in 2022 for a total of 785 grants with a value of $8.8 million. In 2020, the Initiative Foundation distributed 742 small business relief grants for a total of $7.4 million. In total, since the onset of the pandemic, the Initiative Foundation has distributed 1,527 small business relief grants for a total of $16.24 million.



—Kelly Radi, Radi to Write, Sartell TODD

— Mark Olson, Wild Mountain Winery, Taylors Falls







“We really appreciate the financial help we received from the Initiative Foundation. Without help from them, it would have been tough getting through the COVID time period. Thank you to the team at the Initiative Foundation.”



“The Initiative Foundation is a tremendous resource for small businesses, providing educational opportunities, financial resources, business coaching and career guidance. The staff is responsive and knowledgeable and has been so helpful in guiding my business through the ups and downs of the pandemic.”

Map courtesy of St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs





The Initiative Foundation’s Nonprofit Academy and its Fundraising School have helped Pastor James Alberts build St. Cloud-based Higher Works Collaborative, providing skills to develop his donor base while offering more services to fill growing needs.

The Initiative Foundation partners with nonprofits across Central Minnesota to deliver programming to improve the fiscal health and management of nonprofits, increase the quantity and improve the quality of nonprofit services, and strengthen board and staff members’ abilities to contribute. In 2021, 52 nonprofits received training through Nonprofit Academy, Fundraising School and Executive Roundtable. Executive Roundtable: In 2021, executive directors from 16 nonprofits participated in Executive Roundtable, a cohort-based leadership coaching program. Fundraising School: Staff and board members from 31 organizations participated in 2021 Fundraising School sessions where they created a fundraising plan and learned how to inspire prospective donors, among other topics. Graduates from two cohorts acquired 341 new donors and raised nearly $1.1 million during the 10-week program. Nonprofit Academy: In 2021, representatives from 27 organizations participated in a Nonprofit Academy program offering, learning everything from board structure and marketing to budget management and fundraising skills. 12 2021 Impact Report

Pastor James Alberts helped to create Higher Works Collaborative in 2017 to support the needs of the Greater St. Cloud area Black community. As time went on, Alberts realized he needed to take his nonprofit organization’s fundraising to a higher level, and the Initiative Foundation’s Fundraising School was just the answer. The program launched in spring 2021 in collaboration with Staples-based Sourcewell to help nonprofit leaders become inspirational fundraisers through six virtual sessions. During his term in the program, Alberts raised $150,000 in new donations to support summer programming and another $525,000 in ongoing funding to support future programming. With his confidence bolstered and a clear and compelling story to share with donors, Alberts is optimistic about the future. “I still don’t know everything,” he said. “But I’m much better educated on the vocabulary and the processes.”

• ARC Retreat Community, Stanchfield: NPA, FS

• New Hope Community Church, Cambridge: FS

• Benton County Soil & Water Conservation District,

• New Pathways, Inc., Cambridge: FS

Foley: NPA • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud: NPA, FS • Boys & Girls Club of Leech Lake Area, Cass Lake: ER • Bri's Lodge / What Would Bri Do, Sartell: NPA, FS • Bridges of Hope, Brainerd: ER • Center for African Immigrants and Refugees, St. Cloud: NPA, FS • Central Minnesota Dementia Community Action Network, St. Cloud: FS • Children's Day Montessori, St. Cloud: ER • Community Aid, Elk River: FS • Community Grassroots Solutions, Waite Park: NPA, FS • ConnectAbility of Minnesota, Inc., St. Cloud: NPA • Crossing Arts Alliance, Brainerd: ER • Crow River Trail Guards, Paynesville: FS • Ellison Center, St. Cloud: NPA • Family Pathways, North Branch: ER • Family Safety Network of Cass County, Walker: NPA, FS • Hands of Hope Resource Center, Little Falls: NPA • Higher Works Collaborative, St. Cloud: FS • Horizon Health, Pierz: NPA • Jugaad Leadership Program, St. Cloud: FS, ER • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, St. Cloud: FS, NPA • Kinship Partners, Inc., Brainerd: NPA, FS • Light the Legacy, St. Cloud: ER • Mni Sota Arts, Morton: NPA, FS

• Northland Arboretum, Baxter: NPA • Northwoods Arts Council, Hackensack: FS • Oasis Central Minnesota, Little Falls: NPA, FS, ER • Open Doors for Youth, Elk River: ER • Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes, Nisswa: FS, ER • Port Group Homes, Brainerd: ER • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota,

St. Cloud: NPA, FS • Purple Carrot Market, Little Falls: FS, NPA • Region 5 Children's Museum, Brainerd: FS, NPA • Rivers of Hope, Monticello: ER • Sherburne County Area United Way, Elk River: NPA • St. Cloud Area Somali Women's Association:

NPA, FS • St. Cloud Technical & Community College

Foundation: FS • Stearns County Parks Department, St. Cloud: NPA, FS • Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud: ER • Supporting Strategies, Otsego: NPA • Terebinth Refuge, St. Cloud: NPA, FS • The Shop, Brainerd: ER • Too Much Talent, St. Cloud: NPA, FS • Tri-County Community Action, Brainerd: FS • Tusen Tack, Braham: FS • Unite Cloud, St. Cloud: ER • United Way of Ottertail and Wadena Counties, Fergus Falls: NPA, FS • Wellness in the Woods, Eagle Bend: ER • Yes Network, St. Cloud: NPA, FS

Key: ER = Executive Roundtable FS = Fundraising School NPA = Nonprofit Academy

Through partnerships with financial institutions, economic development organizations and local units of government, the Initiative Foundation supported 22 lending clients in 2021 with non-disaster gap loans valued at $1.88 million. The effort leveraged $21 million in outside capital and contributed to job creation (74) and job retention (77). Several of the loans were awarded to graduates of the Foundation’s Enterprise Academy, a 12-week program for earlystage, underserved entrepreneurs. • • • • • • • • • • • •

Advanced Interconnect Technologies, LLC, St. Cloud Amina Express, LLC, St. Cloud (3)* Chevy's Pit, LLC, St. Cloud* Cicerone Adventures, Pequot Lakes Cuyuna Brewing Company, Crosby Due North Car Wash, Monticello Females that Hustle, St. Cloud Great North Ventures, St. Cloud Hamilton Funeral Homes, Inc., Mora Healthy Harvest Farm and Kitchen, Hillman In the Woods Campground, Walker Love the Journey, Mora

• Midway Deli, LLC, St. Cloud* • Midway Halal & Grocery, LLC, St. Cloud* • National Home Health Care Transportation, Inc., St. Cloud • Platinum Cosmetics, Little Falls • Pure Bliss Salon & Spa, LLC, Avon • Shiloh Assisted Living, LLC, Pequot Lakes • The Sanctuary, Crosby • TrippleS, LLC, St. Cloud* • Upsala Senior Living • Ya-Sure Kombucha, Brainerd* * Enterprise Academy graduates

ADVANCED INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGIES EXPANDS It’s hard to imagine work that is more precise than creating parts for military tanks and fighter jets, but that’s exactly what Jason Smith, owner of Advanced Interconnect Technologies, set out to do when he opened shop in March 2020. With 24 years of precision manufacturing experience, Smith started his business as an agile, flexible shop that could fill small and short-run manufacturing orders. He originally leased a building in Sauk Rapids, but soon outgrew the space right when the building’s owner was planning to sell. Thanks to a partnership with Stearns Bank, the Initiative Foundation was able to support Smith with a loan to purchase the former American Standard Plumbing building on Highway 10 in St. Cloud with a nearby lot for future expansion. “Our goal is to outgrow this [building] in three years,” Smith said, “and the land in five years.” Jason Smith, owner of Advanced Interconnect Technologies, partnered with the Initiative Foundation on a loan to finance a new building in St. Cloud.


Enterprise Academy graduate Lam Chuol utilized Initiative Foundation financing to rent and furnish an office space for Lam Tax Service.

The tax filing process can be stressful, but for new Americans it can be daunting. With help from the Enterprise Academy program and an Initiative Foundation microloan loan, Lam Chuol is calming those fears with a new physical location for Lam Tax Service. Chuol had been working out of his home, but rapid expansion was making business operations difficult. “This was something I really needed,” Chuol said. “For two years, I’ve been thinking about getting an office because I see the possibility for growth.” Brian Voerding, Initiative Foundation vice president for inclusive entrepreneurship, sees Chuol as a “force multiplier.” With Foundation support, Chuol’s business can thrive as he helps other emerging entrepreneurs achieve clean tax records and registrations— and that will make it easier for the Foundation to help even more people in the future. Learn more at lamtaxservice.com.




2020-2021 INITIATORS FELLOWS The Initiators Fellowship equips early-stage social entrepreneurs with the support they need to transform their ideas into scalable, sustainable ventures that serve and enrich Greater Minnesota. The 2020-2021 cohort included entrepreneurs from the Initiative Foundation, the Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative.




Victory Plus Housing

Emily Realized a 1,400 percent increase in sales during his Initiators Fellowship tenure. groshed.com

St. Cloud Started the Fellowship with seven sober home clients in two units and finished her term with 16 tenants in four units. victoryplushousing.com



Redhead Creamery

Beautiful Mind Project

Brooten More than doubled gross revenues. redheadcreamery.com

St. Cloud Created Urgent Care for Mental Health, which coordinated more than 675 appointments—a 68 percent yearover-year increase. beautifulmindproject.com


Kivu Immigration Law

Morton Piloted three new businesses for Native artists: book sales, a food trailer and mobile arts supply.

Worthington Provided more than 500 legal consultations to clients from 25 countries. kivuimmigrationlaw.com

RACHEL STONE P’s & Q’s Etiquette Moorhead Responding to increased isolation and mental stress caused by the pandemic, Stone moved to virtual youth support services. psnqs.org 14 2021 Impact Report





Enterprise Academy is a 12-week educational course that includes one-on-one training and business planning, ongoing technical assistance and access to micro-loans. Cohorts in 2021 were offered to St. Cloud and Mille Lacs Tribal Economy entrepreneurs.





Sixteen St. Cloud-area entrepreneurs graduated from the Enterprise Academy in 2021 with business ideas ranging from a nonprofit community center to a bridal boutique to an African and Caribbean grocery store. The centerpiece of the program is a 12-week educational course that is supported by ongoing technical assistance and access to microlending. Since 2018, nearly 80 students have graduated from the Enterprise Academy. “One of the greatest joys is to witness when a spark has been ignited and a student is equipped with the knowledge they need to accelerate their business venture,” said Donniel Robinson, Initiative Foundation entrepreneurship programs officer.

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures’ vision to grow Mille Lacs’ tribal economy and strengthen entrepreneurial culture has led to a growing program partnership. It includes Enterprise Academy cohorts with nearly 30 graduates who have completed business plans for a range of endeavors, including natural teas, an Anishinaabefocused publishing company, and an online bead crafting supply store. Through the Initiative Foundation program, graduates receive ongoing support, and those with viable business plans are eligible for microlending. Some will bring their businesses to MLCV incubators that will provide physical space and financial resources for businesses that support the tribal economy.

34 8 744

Total 2021 Enterprise Academy Graduates Total 2021 Loans to Enterprise Academy Graduates Total Hours of Ongoing Assistance Provided to Graduates in 2021 15


Kim Ellingson

David Monroy

Brett Anderson

Rick Bauerly

Jessica Bitz

Santo Cruz

Teri Hoggarth

Mateo Mackbee

Joe Mulford

Joe Nayquonabe Jr.

Julie Nelson

Tim Nelson

Robbyn Wacker

Dan Weber

Kristi Westbrock

Board Chair Bremer Bank

CentraCare Health

Mayer, Porter & Nelson, LTD

Board Vice Chair Monroy Law Office, PLLC

Edward Jones

Isanti County

First National Bank of Milaca

Krewe and Flour & Flower

St. Cloud State University

Granite Partners

Pine Technical & Community College

Sherburne County

Falcon National Bank

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures

Consolidated Telecommunications Company

F O U N DAT IO N S TA F F Doug Adams

Business Finance Officer

Jessy Beto

Program Specialist

Kate Bjorge

Community Philanthropy Manager

Daniel Bullert

Senior Business Finance Manager

Mike Burton

External Relations Officer

Lynn Bushinger

Chief Financial & Operations Officer, Treasurer

Chris Fastner

Initiators Fellowship Program Manager

Brenda Gugglberger

Fund Development Specialist

Don Hickman

Vice President for Community & Workforce Development

Barb Larson

Ismail Mohamed

Enterprise Academy Program Officer

Carl Newbanks

Accounting Specialist

Grants & Development Manager

Laura Larson

Allison Norgren

Entrepreneurship Program Specialist

MaryAnn Lindell

Director of Administration

Hannah Mayhew

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Melissa Peterson

Office and Facilities Specialist

Program Associate and Research Coordinator

Donniel Robinson

Bob McClintick

Robin Skinner

Marketing & Communications Director

Michele Miller

Director of Finance

Entrepreneurship Programs Officer Three Rivers Community Foundation Administrative Assistant

Kimberly Slipy

Information Systems Administrator

Kasey Stevens Accountant

Zach Tabatt

Nonprofit Development Program Officer

Kerie Thoma

Community Philanthropy Program Specialist

Matt Varilek President

Carie Verley

Finance Specialist

Brian Voerding

Vice President for Inclusive Entrepreneurship