Page 1



12:43 PM

Page 1



12:45 PM

Page 1

EXPERT CARE. RIGHT HERE. We’ve earned health care’s gold seal of approval. This is the caliber of care you deserve.

It’s a prestigious honor, and the credit belongs to our wonderful staff and our accomplished physicians.

We’ve received JCAHO accreditation since 1955. It’s a distinction we’ll continue to pursue, because we want to ensure you’re receiving the best possible care.

St. Joseph’s Medical Center has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ by meeting the organization’s high standards for health care quality and safety.

Where patients come first. 523 NORTH 3RD ST., BRAINERD, MN • (218) 829-2861 •

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:54 PM

Page 1

Visit this apartment development online at:


COMMUNITY At Kuepers, we base our most fundamental business principles on community. Anyone can construct a building, but it takes group participation, strength of the whole, and local understanding to build a community. Take Cypress Apartments, for example. Our goal was to design and construct one-, two-, and three-bedroom living spaces, allowing residents affordable, high quality housing. Places where people and families come together in a safe, sound, and secure home. After all, life is about people, not projects. Community: The currency of Kuepers. To learn more, call 218-829-0707 or visit us online at

MN LIC 0002599

Brainerd Lakes Area




w w w. Ku e p e r s . c o m

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


1:00 PM

Page 2

FALL 2007

CONTENTS FEATURES 12 Inside Minnesota Nice What inspires us to give back?








Outstanding Youth

Outstanding Community

Outstanding Volunteer

Outstanding Nonprofit

Outstanding Green Venture

Outstanding Enterprise



29 Keynotes Newsletter

Cass Lake Schley Bena

Wilkinson Federal Dam


Leech Lake

Honors from the Governor

Boy River


Onigum Walker






Longville Inguadona Hackensack

Pontoria Backus


Let’s Transform the Future

33 Annual Report




Chickamaw Beach


Initiative Foundation Unveils its Next Five Years

Our 2006-2007 Year in Review

Manhattan Beach

Crosslake Jenkins Pequot Lakes Breezy Point


Blue Grass Leader

Nisswa Lake Shore

Leaf River



E Gull Lake



Deerwood Bay Lake Duquette Kerrick Ellson


Willow River


Bruno Rutledge

Bertha Lincoln

Pine Center



Shephard Vineland



Round Prairie

Sandstone Warman



Genola Gregory


Meire Grove

New Munich





St. Martin Belgrade Georgeville


Estes Brook

Jacobs Prairie

St. Nicholas

Carmody Long Siding





Clear Lake St. Augusta Luxemburg Clearwater



Spencer Brook




Blomford Weber







Lindstrom City Stacy



Fair Haven

Silver Creek




Becker Marty



Rush Point

Spring Lake


Rock Creek

Rush City

Edgewood Bradford

Maine Prairie Watkins


Wyanett Pine Brook

West Point



Cold Spring

Eden Valley


Braham Stanchfield Springvale Grandy




West Rock

Brunswick Coin Day












St. Joseph

Rockville Lake Henry

Pine City

Oak Park





Spring Hill



Rum River


BENTON Popple Creek



Greenwald Elrosa

Watab St. Wendel

Granit Ledge

Novak's Corner Jakeville


St. Stephen St. Anna



Brennyville Silver Corners

Rice Holdingford

St. Anthony Freeport


Little Rock



North Prairie St. Francis St. Rosa




Mora Burtrum Grey Eagle

Ward Springs

Sauk Centre


“Our mission is to unlock the potential of the people of central Minnesota to build and sustain healthy communities.”

Brook Park




Little Sauk

West Union


Cloverton Duxbury






M O R R I Pierz SON

LITTLE FALLS Flensburg Sobieski




Camp Ripley Junction Darling

Long Prairie



Isle Bayview

Randall Browerville

TODD Gutches Grove



Fort Ripley

Eagle Bend

Blue-Chip Philanthropy


Sturgeon Lake Denham



Motley Philbrook


Initiative Foundation Accepts Challenge from McKnight


Crosby Ironton

Merrifield Legionville Verndale


44 Guest Editorial Hometown Energy


Lake Hubert




Fifty Lakes Emily


Pine River




Chisago City


Taylors Falls Shafer Franconia

Strengthen Economic Opportunity



South Haven

Annandale Albertville

Maple Lake

French West Lake Albion


Albion Center Knapp


Albright Highland


Preserve Key Places and Natural Resources


Stockholm Howard



Lake Rice Lake


Support Children, Youth, and Families


Winners receive stunning sculptures by glass-recycling artist, Michael Tonder, and $1,000 for their favorite charities.

Initiative Quarterly •

Build Organizational Effectiveness Encourage the Spirit of Giving

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:54 PM

Page 3

St. Cloud State University might be right here in Minnesota, but we’re leaving our mark all over the world. St. Cloud State is home to nearly 1,000 international students from more than 80 countries. Each year, hundreds of St. Cloud State students study abroad in 20 countries—from England to South Africa— while earning credits they can use to complete their degrees. We have nationally and internationally known faculty teaching in our highly accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs. St. Cloud State—a smart investment in a global education. • 877.654.SCSU

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


1:00 PM

Page 4

A Visit With a Friend


Service Dear Friends,

If friendly conversation, a relaxed atmosphere and consistently prompt, personal attention aren't what you'd normally associate with financial planning providers, it's time to discover DeGraaf. We'd be honored to discuss how we can help you meet your financial objectives. We're experienced, easy to talk to, and our independence allows us to offer the complete spectrum of investment options. For a no-obligation meeting to discuss your financial goals, call or visit us today.

320-251-6968 • 800-226-5759

“Attention, staff: The returning National Guard troops will be driving by our office in a few minutes.” The message came over the foundation’s intercom. We hurried outside and stepped back in time. Reliving a scene from past generations, we lined the streets. It was tense. We heard the sharp sirens first, and then they turned the corner—a parade of silver buses filled with awestruck faces, tight haircuts, and desert camouflage. We waved and cheered. I cried. An entire community came together to honor service and sacrifice. One of our staff members, MaryAnn Lindell, waited twenty-two months for this day, when her brother and friend would come home. With 2,500 other Minnesota soldiers, Gregg left behind his wife and three children. When the “stand down” command finally came at Camp Ripley, his family sprinted to him. Pride, tears, relief, joy, love—the emotions were overwhelming. For MaryAnn, it was one of those few frozen moments of a lifetime. On the home front, there is no more important endeavor than serving others. Heroes come from all walks of life, and every one deserves our thanks and recognition. In this issue of IQ, we reveal the six winners of our 2007 Initiative Awards. We believe that honoring outstanding community service inspires more of it. But IQ is only the first step. Please join us on October 26th to honor the people behind the stories. Thanks to our generous sponsors, each award winner will receive a commissioned glass sculpture (pictured on the cover) and $1,000 for the charity of their choice. Every hero deserves a homecoming. Enjoy the magazine!

Guiding You To and Through Retirement

215 Park Avenue South, Suite 100, St. Cloud Mutual Funds • Stocks • Bonds • Annuities Life, Long-Term Care and Disability Insurance Retirement Plans and Other Group Benefits Insurance and investments are offered through Fintegra Financial Solutions, an independent registered broker/dealer, Member NASD/SIPC, phone 763-585-0503. DeGraaf Financial, Inc. and Fintegra are not affiliated. Investment Representatives are registered representatives of Fintegra.


Initiative Quarterly •

Kathy Gaalswyk, President Initiative Foundation P.S. To reserve your seat at the 2007 Initiative Awards, see pg.10.

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:54 PM

Page 5

> VOLUME 6, FALL 2007 INITIATIVE FOUNDATION Executive Editor & Director of Communications / MATT KILIAN Communications Associate / ANITA HOLLENHORST PUBLISHERS Evergreen Press / CHIP & JEAN BORKENHAGEN EDITORIAL Editorial Director / JODI SCHWEN Assistant Editor / TENLEE LUND ART Art Director / ANDREA BAUMANN Graphic Designer / BRAD RAYMOND Senior Graphic Designer / BOB WALLENIUS Production Manager / BRYAN PETERSEN Lead Photographer / JIM ALTOBELL ADVERTISING / SUBSCRIPTIONS Business & Advertising Director / BRIAN LEHMAN Advertiser Services / MARY SAVAGE Subscriber Services / MARYANN LINDELL IQ EDITORIAL BOARD Initiative Foundation President / KATHY GAALSWYK Program Mgr. for Community Development / DAN FRANK V.P. for Donor Services / CURT HANSON Sr. Program Mgr. for Organizational Effectiveness / CATHY HARTLE Program Mgr. for Planning & Preservation / DON HICKMAN V.P. for Finance & Operations / LYNN HOULE V.P. for Economic Development / JOHN KALISZEWSKI Program Mgr. for Children, Youth & Families / LINDA KAUFMANN

Initiative Foundation 405 First Street SE Little Falls, MN 56345 320.632.9255 IQ is published by the Initiative Foundation in partnership with Evergreen Press of Brainerd, Minnesota. For advertising opportunities, contact: Lois Head 320.252.7348, Brian Lehman 218.828.6424 ext. 25, Kristin Rothstein 320.251.5875,

Fall 2007


01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


11:18 AM

Page 6



Let’s Transform the Future Initiative Foundation Unveils its Next Five Years


Economic Opportunity Unfortunately for many, it’s not easy being a working family in central Minnesota. Eight of the region’s fourteen counties rank in the bottom half of the state in poverty level, according to 2004 United States census data. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) estimates that 30 to 40 percent of all central Minnesota jobs still pay less than $10 per hour. That’s why the foundation says it will continue to support local businesses that pay living wages in the hometowns that need them most. By investing in 150 new businesses, the foundation plans to secure more than 1,400 quality jobs that pay at least $15 per hour, including benefits. Minority-owned and green businesses will also be a priority. “We all want to own homes, have good insurance, save for the future, and eventually give something back,” says John Kaliszewski, vice president for economic development. “Strong local businesses help provide these opportunities.”

Key Places & Natural Resources There is something that nearly all of central Minnesota has in common—booming populations. The Minnesota Demographic Center forecasts a whopping 40 percent


Initiative Quarterly •

population increase by 2030, which the foundation translates into a crystal-clear message for communities: Plan for the future. Now. “Our challenge will be to welcome a population nearly double our existing levels, while preserving natural resources, rural character, and vital downtowns,” says Don Hickman, program manager for planning and preservation. “We will invest heavily in citizens planning for the best possible future.” This focus on planning and preservation will be carried by two main programs: the Healthy Communities Partnership and Healthy Lakes & Rivers Partnership.

Organizational Effectiveness Central Minnesota is home to more than five hundred nonprofits that strengthen communities from the inside out. With $5 million in nonprofit grants planned through 2012, the foundation will depend on them to carry out important work. Today, many nonprofits are faced with a dilemma: Spend time and money on staff training, or sacrifice internal operations to focus on community services. That’s why the foundation will continue to offer its Healthy Organizations Partnership (HOP) program. HOP trains nonprofit leaders to run more effective organizations. “Every community needs strong nonprofits, and we can all point to one or more that have touched our lives,” says Cathy Hartle, program manager for organizational effectiveness. “We will also work with school


ince the mid-1980s, the Initiative Foundation has worked alongside central Minnesota’s hometowns to build a brighter future. As the foundation launches its five-year plan into action (2007–2012), here’s a look at what you can expect from the team in Little Falls…

boards and government agencies.”

Children, Youth, and Families The Minnesota Department of Education estimates that less than 50 percent of preschool children enter kindergarten fully prepared to succeed. According to the 2004 Minnesota student survey, more than 50 percent of east-central Minnesota youth reported that they spend no time in clubs, sports, community service, or out-ofschool activities. The foundation will recommit its efforts in early childhood and youth engagement. It plans to add ten new coalitions to the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative, a statewide program that rallies communities to make their youngest children a top priority. The foundation also hopes to engage four hundred youth in community service and leadership activities. “We realize that birth-to-five are the most crucial years of human development, says Linda Kaufmann, senior program manager for children, youth, and families, “but it’s also important to give older kids those leadership and service opportunities that they will always remember and pass on.” React at IQMAG.ORG

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:54 PM

Page 7

Fall 2007


01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


11:18 AM

Page 8



Hometown Energy Initiative Foundation Accepts Challenge from McKnight


otion generates energy that can be transferred to neighboring objects, causing them to move and create their own energy. For twenty-one years, the Initiative Foundation has been setting things in motion in central Minnesota by empowering and energizing local residents who want to improve the quality of life in their communities. Recently, The McKnight Foundation awarded a five-year grant totaling $7.2 million to continue to support—and challenge—the Initiative Foundation and its supporters. Now, the Initiative Foundation is mounting a five-year campaign to raise $1.8 million for endowment funds and $7.8 million for programs. “McKnight has been very clear that they will continue to invest in us only if local people demonstrate their commitment,” says Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president. “If you’re a person who cares about the future trends on the news and want to ensure that your town is prepared to thrive, this campaign offers a lot of value. Your gift impacts many issues and it’s doubled through McKnight’s dollar-for-dollar match.” The Initiative Foundation began as a grand experiment in 1986 when The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota’s largest private foundation, set up six Minnesota Initiative Funds in response to the crisis that crippled the state’s economy. “McKnight wanted to establish a regional strategy that would foster ongoing local responsibility for the long-term welfare of each region,” says Kate Wolford, president of The McKnight Foundation.


Initiative Quarterly •

“Over time, the foundations have proven to be a successful mechanism for local people to act upon local issues. Of particular note, the Initiative Foundation’s Healthy Communities Partnership (HCP) has emerged nationally as a success.” Cambridge is a good THE PRESIDENTS: Kate Wolford and Kathy Gaalswyk renewed their foundations’ 21-year partnership with a dollar-for-dollar example. In the midchallenge in central Minnesota. 1990s, a volunteer group calling itself, “Leaders for a Positive Cambridge,” grams have also helped secure sixty livenrolled in the foundation’s HCP proing wage jobs by helping start or expand gram, seeking ways to improve their city’s five Cambridge area businesses. The image. John Schlagel, Cambridge City foundation and the State of Minnesota Council member and Initiative recently joined forces to encourage Foundation trustee, likens the process to Water Works, a St. Louis Park company, a tree, where the foundation’s “seed to purchase Cambridge Metals and money” takes root and branches into Plastics. The venture saved more than many different successes. one hundred jobs. “Through HCP, you look at the good “Our goal is to help every one of our things you have in your community and communities plan for a brighter future and learn how to build on them,” says then take steps to make it happen,” says Schlagel. “You also invite people from the Curt Hanson, the foundation’s vice presicommunity to express what they think dent for donor services. “Our donors tell us should be done.” Since 1999, the foundation has helped how they want to change the world and we citizen volunteers create a comprehensive find a way to do it together.” With the generosity of local people, plan for Cambridge, including parks, downThe McKnight Foundation’s ongoing town revitalization, and affordable housing. commitment, and a focus on the future of It also awarded more than sixty-nine grants central Minnesota, the Initiative totaling $227,000 for projects addressing Foundation says it will continue to set early childhood, methamphetamine, youth, programs in motion, empowering people seniors, social services, natural resources, and enhancing lives today and for generand economic development. Foundation business financing proations to come. React at IQMAG.ORG

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:54 PM

Page 9

Successful Communities Are Built, Not Born

Jump-start the success of your community by empowering its most powerful asset, its leaders. The Center for Community Stewardship played a major role in such civic success stories as Bemidji Leads!, Progress Park Rapids, The Seventh Generation Initiative (Mahnomen, MN) and more. Our Steward Academy teaches leaders how to rally and focus their community on progress, innovation and success. Find out for yourself – visit us online at

403 Fourth Street NW, Suite 310 • Bemidji, MN • (218) 444-4732 Fall 2007


01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


Page 10

e b  s p w r e e a d  ! s u o y o J e h t

e Initiative Foundation and six magical ad with th o r k c i pest to transform our world. ow-br aved the tem r e yell b h o t h w rs w companiment by the Cedar Avenue Big Band! Follo winne d r musical ac a g n i aw r u feat ction u d o r pr icolo n h Tec

et A

1:00 PM

Madden’s Resort on Gull La ke, B CTOB rainer RIDAY d E



5:00 Social ❁ 6:00 Banquet


2 &A 6 w


GUEST ❁ Register by Oct. 20t R E P h at w ard $45 ww. s ifou nd. org /aw ard s omewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue . . . And the dreams that you dare to dream . . . Really do come true.

01 IQ.Fall07_1-11


12:55 PM

Page 11

Because, because, because,


because, because . . .





Rochelle Olson & Christy Trettel, Little Falls

Mark Wood, Little Falls

Etoc Development, Nisswa

(SEE PG. 20)

(SEE PG. 24)



Pine River-Backus Family Center

MINPACK, Pine City

(SEE PG. 22)

(SEE PG. 26)

(SEE PG. 16)


Cold Spring, Minnesota (SEE PG. 18)



Altobell Imagery

City of Pine City

HDT/Hunt Utilities Group

Anderson Brothers Construction Company


Horizon Bank

Continental Press


DeGraaf Financial, Inc.

Little Falls Orthopedics

Eich Motor Company

Mahowald Insurance

Morrison County Methamphetamine Task Force

Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corporation

Etoc Development/ Grand View Lodge

Mark Wood Foundation



Cass County

Evergreen Press

Northern Technology Initiative

Brain Magnet Industries Brainerd Lakes Chambers of Commerce

First National Bank of Cold Spring Gold'n Plump HBH Consultants

Minnesota Business Finance Corporation Morrison County

Pine River-Backus Schools Pine River-Backus Working Together Group State Bank of Cold Spring

02 IQ.Fall07_12-15


1:06 PM

Page 12

By Christine Hierlmaier Nelson Photography by Jim Altobell


onnie Schlagel was on vacation in Mexico when she noticed them— as if any tourist could have missed the crowd of grubbyfaced children with outstretched hands. Some were shamefully young, their clothes threadbare. She looked down the street for their parents. No one looked back. Asking around, Bonnie was led to a local orphanage run by nuns. The need was great and she was moved—deeply. Bonnie’s most recent volunteer trip to the orphanage was in April to do some painting. At her home in Cambridge, she admits to drawers stuffed with fundraiser candy and a freezer stocked with Girl Scout cookies. She and her husband, John, serve on too many nonprofit boards to name, including one of Bonnie’s favorite endeavors—chairing the Snowflake Days parade. Eight years ago, the couple spent part of their honeymoon making a list of their philanthropic efforts. “If we see a need, or if we are asked,” says John, “my own personal belief is that you give because you are supposed to, of your money and time.” With help from the Initiative Foundation, the Schlagels created an endowment fund to ensure that their generosity continues indefinitely. Minnesotans are giving more. That’s the upshot of the most recent “Giving in Minnesota” report from the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Total giving rose by 9 percent in 2004, the most recent statistic available from the largest grant-makers in the state. Since 9/11, individual giving has continued to rise while corporate and foundation giving broke the $1 billion threshold. Like the Schlagels, who have given from both personal and business assets, many residents give because it feels good. Personal values and faith support a statewide philosophy of giving time, talents, and treasures. But what else brings out the trademark niceness in Minnesotans?


Initiative Quarterly •

02 IQ.Fall07_12-15


1:07 PM

Page 13

CARING COUPLE: Bonnie and John Schlagel, Cambridge

Fall 2007


02 IQ.Fall07_12-15


1:07 PM

Page 14

That Warm Glow The Schlagels are quick to point out the spiritual and emotional returns on their investments. Giving, they say, brings lifetime fulfillment and joy that could not be replaced by other activities. That sense of satisfaction is what economist James Andreoni calls the “warm glow.” The feeling comes from within and is not driven by recognition or personal rewards. For the Schlagels and many others, it simply means that there is no substitute for personal giving. And that includes volunteering. The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration reports that volunteer time in Minnesota is valued at about $7.9 billion. About 67 percent, or 2.4 million Minnesotans over the age of eighteen, volunteered their time in 2004. That’s a 1 percent increase since 2000 and the amount continues to climb. “Giving is important, however it’s done,” says John. “When I die, I expect to be able to answer the question, ‘Did I help anyone?’”

UNENDING LOVE: By creating a scholarship fund in their hometown, Gene Menzel ensured that Betty’s spirit and values live on.

Leaving a Legacy The idea of honoring a life through charitable giving is another reason why Minnesotans give. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, gifts from donor-advised funds soared more than 40 percent in 2005. By creating a permanent, named fund for themselves or a loved one, donors are able to give back to their communities through annual grants and scholarships. Donors choose the criteria for the awards and may involve their families or employees in recommending recipients. Because only the earned interest of the fund is spent, the giving goes on for generations. For Gene Menzel, it was also part of his healing process.


Initiative Quarterly •

A lifetime of love and fond memories from the Iron Range resulted in Gene’s decision to establish the Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund in his wife’s memory. Even though the Menzels’ permanent home was in the Twin Cities, they maintained ties to the rural area. “I was looking for a memorial to give back to the local community,” says Gene. “Betty went to school in Crosby and I was in Aitkin. I played basketball and Betty sold candy to raise money for the local 4-H. I asked Betty for a first date right after her sixteenth birthday, not knowing her parents told her that she couldn’t date until she was sixteen. It

was great timing and fate.” They were married for fifty years and had three children. When Betty began to lose her battle with cancer, Gene worked with her sister, Shirley, and the Initiative Foundation to establish an endowed fund to award one scholarship each year at CrosbyIronton High School. The first scholarship was awarded this spring to a young woman who, like Betty, grew up on a farm. Gene’s goal with the scholarship is to support young people who demonstrate resilience and a community mindset, values he and Betty shared. “It’s more of a legacy that way,” he says.

02 IQ.Fall07_12-15


1:05 PM

Page 15

Return on Investment Besides individual giving, many nonprofit organizations rely on the generosity of businesses. Business giving is influenced by profits, in-kind opportunities, and the values of owners and managers. Many business leaders also consider returns on their investment in community growth, employee retention, and appreciative customers. “Your business is only as healthy as the community it serves. If the community is depressed, your chances of growing a business are slim,” says Bill Casto, former president of St. Cloud Wireless Holdings, a wireless telecommunications company that was recently acquired by Sprint. Research by the New York-based Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy noted an average overall increase in corporate giving by 4.7 percent last year, particularly by profitable, service-based industries.

In 2006, Sprint’s total volunteer hours were equal to two full-time positions, not counting the hours Casto gave personally. He credits a family tragedy with his drive to build a giving culture over the past thirteen years. “It was a slap in the face to lose our son in a motorcycle crash,” says Casto. “It reinforced my need to get out there and do something good. If people are proud of what they do at work and in the community, the company will always be more successful.” Research backs him up. A New York University study of more than 250 corporate donors between 1989 and 2000 suggested that every dollar given to charity can increase a company’s profits by $2 to $3. “If you do the right things long enough,” adds Casto, “the right things will happen—for companies and individuals.” React at IQMAG.ORG

WIRELESS GENEROSITY: Under the leadership of Bill Casto (right), St. Cloud Sprint employees branded their company around community service.

Why People GIVE

Why People DON’T GIVE


Financial Limitations

“Giving is the right thing to do and it makes me feel good about myself.”

“I don’t have enough money to give to charity.”

Needs & Results “I know women who go to the domestic violence center. My gift helps them get their lives back.”

Financial & Personal Benefits “My gift gets me a tax deduction and I might need blood from the Red Cross someday.”

Drop in the Bucket “My gift won’t make a difference. All the charity work in Africa hasn’t helped—there are still millions of people starving.”

Denying Reality “There is no need for anyone to be homeless. There are plenty of jobs around.”

Diverting Attention

The Simple Request

“What right do pop stars have to ask us to give? They should give away some of their millions.”

“A church volunteer sent me a letter and asked for $50. I can do that.”

Higher Loyalties

Prestige & Social Pressure

“My priority is to look after my family. Charity begins at home.”

“I like being recognized in front of my business associates. What would they think if I didn’t give?”

Sources: Economic and Social Research Council, National Council for Voluntary Organizations (U.K.), Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam), Initiative Foundation

03 IQ.Fall07_16-19


1:12 PM

Page 16

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic Photography by Jim Altobell


Initiative Quarterly •

03 IQ.Fall07_16-19



1:12 PM

Page 17

heir voices quaked and their hearts thumped. “Thirty seconds—you girls ready?” said KLTF’s Party Line host as he grinned between his earphones. “Just talk right in the mic and relax. You’re gonna be great.” Rochelle Olson and Christy Trettel, Little Falls High School juniors and perhaps the most unlikely anti-drug crusaders, each took a deep breath. This was it, their best chance to tell Morrison County that meth kills. It didn’t take long for Rochelle and Christy to fall into an easy conversation. Their commitment to raising awareness about the dangers of methamphetamine had taken them on a journey that even some adults may find intimidating. It began with Christy’s sister, Amy, who began a meth awareness campaign in 2006 before she graduated from Little Falls High School. As Rochelle and Christy brainstormed projects for their DECA program (a businessmarketing club for students), it became clear that building on Amy’s work held the greatest potential for changing and saving lives. “It turned out to be much more than just a high school project,” says Christy. “It turned into a passion.” This particular passion took them beyond the safety of lockerlined walls and into the “real world” of government crisis, scared parents, and former addicts. They joined Morrison County’s Methamphetamine Coalition—the first county meth effort in the state. “One of our highest priorities was to educate and protect our youth,” says Tim Houle, Morrison County Administrator. “Almost on cue, two teenagers show up at an adult meeting and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ They had leadership and courage.” And they always showed up. They participated in task force meetings and discussions, providing the student perspective. They became youth spokespersons on radio and cable access

“These girls took a risk, and they gave up hundreds of hours to take on one of the defining menaces of our time. I believe they saved lives.” shows and helped plan a meth awareness video for junior high school students. After school and on weekends, they handed out posters, brochures, and a special meth issue of IQ Magazine to schools and businesses throughout the county. They rallied their whole high school around “Meth Awareness Week” last February. “We had a very positive response from the communities. People were very open to learning more,” says Rochelle. “Even our classmates were enthusiastic about learning more.” During Meth Awareness Week, the girls persuaded every academic department to examine meth through its own lens. Social studies teachers discussed meth’s economic impact. Science teachers broke down the chemicals used to manufacture the drug. Students were riveted and the life-or-death message crystallized. To ensure the point hit home, Rochelle and Christy hosted a raw discussion with a local high-school senior who was recovering from meth addiction. “I’ve never seen a reaction like that,” says Rochelle. “Mouths were gaping open and everyone was perfectly still. She was very brave when she told her story. Afterward, everyone had tons of questions. It was amazing.” Linda Kaufmann, the Initiative Foundation’s senior program manager for children, youth, and families, believes that “peers

talking to peers” is the best way to raise awareness and inspire behavior change among youth. Through its Minnesota ICE initiative, the foundation has launched twelve regional coalitions and invested more than $236,000 in intervention, recovery, and education efforts. “If you remember high school, the last thing you wanted to do was to stand out too far from the crowd,” says Kaufmann. “These girls took a risk and they gave up hundreds of hours to take on one of the defining menaces of our time. I believe they saved lives—that’s why they won our award.” Stepping out is something neither girl is afraid to do. Both come from families that have taught them to get involved. In addition to highschool band and student council, Rochelle volunteers for the United Way, Youth as Resources, the MS Walk, and Relay for Life. In spite of her nonstop sports schedule, Christy still finds time for youth ministries, hospital volunteerism, Key Club, and other anti-drug groups. As much as the girls have taught others, they’ve also learned. “What I’ve learned the most is that one person really can make a difference,” says Christy. And Morrison County has learned never to underestimate the power of youth. Post congratulations for Rochelle and Christy at IQMAG.ORG

Fall 2007

03 IQ.Fall07_16-19


1:12 PM

Page 18

HOMETOWN HEROES: Larry Lahr, Duane Kuss, Ken Wendinger, and Nadine Schnettler.


Initiative Quarterly •

03 IQ.Fall07_16-19


1:12 PM

Page 19

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic • Photography by Jim Altobell


itizens of Cold Spring have a long history of taking leaps of faith to keep their community alive. In the 1870s, distraught citizens were at a loss to fight off plagues of grasshoppers that devoured crops for two years in a row. Reverend Leo Winter told the town’s leaders to erect a chapel in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and vow to hold services there for the next fifteen years. They did and the grasshoppers disappeared. Years later, a tornado tore through and sent the chapel flying into nearby trees. Citizens finally rebuilt the chapel in 1951, this time with granite. Today, it stands as a testimony to the power of faith—and community. In 2003, Cold Spring citizens were again faced with challenges they weren’t sure how to address. The historic Gluek Brewery, a mainstay of the community’s economy, needed to expand out of its downtown location. The Cold Spring Granite Company, another cornerstone employer, made plans to vacate another thirty downtown acres. Parks and green space had been overlooked. Senior citizens needed help. A growing Latino population presented opportunities and challenges. Lots of good work happened, but it seldom happened in concert. “There was a lot of restlessness,” says Larry Lahr, Cold Spring city administrator. “Groups of people were frustrated with changes while, at the same time, others were excited about new opportunities.” That’s when the Initiative Foundation selected Cold Spring to participate in its Healthy Communities Partnership (HCP) program. HCP has helped galvanize more than eighty central Minnesota communities by bringing residents together for “visioning” sessions. During a town-hall-style meeting, citizens envision the best possible future, learn the results of surveys, and vote on priorities for their community. The foundation trains a local leadership team and helps with planning and grants. Volunteer task forces turn ideas into action. “We named our visioning team the 20/20 Vision Group, and three years later, they’re still going strong,” says Lahr. “We’ve accomplished many of our first goals and are now in the second phase.” The Minnesota Design Team, a traveling group of volunteer architects and community planning experts, also spent a weekend in Cold Spring to sketch out what the town could look like with a little forethought and creativity. Residents liked what they saw. After HCP and the Minnesota Design Team’s visit, they prioritized downtown design, arts and culture, natural resources, social services, and tourism. Today, their grassroots successes include downtown

streetscaping, transportation planning, and tourism marketing. Other volunteer task forces are responsible for new welcome signs, a visitor center, historical society, picturesque parks, and a trail system that links three communities. Residents carried forward those projects that make a good community great, such as a a winter sledding hill, a community big band, and city flower gardens. “The visioning process brought new faces to the table—ones you may not ordinarily see in community development,” says Lahr. “After the first phases were completed, everyone took a breather. The energy level is now way up there again.” After gaining its second wind, Cold Spring’s churches launched a Faith in Action program, where local volunteers assist seniors with transportation, meals, and shopping—all in an effort to keep aging residents living in their homes longer. Leaders have also reached out to the community’s newest Latino residents, seeking advice and participation. Informational brochures are printed and distributed in Spanish.

“Residents carried forward those projects that make a good community great.” “One of our results has been a bilingual nursing assistant training program,” says Duane Kuss, a Cold Spring business owner and 20/20 Vision Group leader. “The Catholic Church also holds mass in Spanish every week.” The future of Cold Spring will reveal a vastly different downtown than the one that visitors have come to know on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes. Instead of the massive granite company that welcomed visitors to town, new shops, parks, and maybe even an old-fashioned boardwalk will sprout up on the historic site. The city has worked closely with Cold Spring Granite to accommodate its relocation needs and ensure the thirty-acre riverfront becomes a source of pride and hometown identity for future generations. “What’s impressive to me is Cold Spring’s persistence, as well as the sheer number and variety of the projects they have completed,” says Dan Frank, Initiative Foundation program manager for planning and preservation. “If anyone deserves the title of ‘Outstanding Community,’ it’s them.” Post congratulations for the City of Cold Spring at IQMAG.ORG

04 IQ.Fall07_20-23


1:19 PM

Page 20

GIVING SPIRIT: Mark Wood continues to touch the lives of Little Falls kids like Chris.

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic Photography by Jim Altobell


Initiative Quarterly •

04 IQ.Fall07_20-23



1:19 PM

Page 21

ark Wood was a physical therapist, an outdoorsman, and an inspiring mentor to Little Falls kids who needed a friend more than anything. Because of leukemia, he became a philanthropist. Every person who battles terminal cancer must decide when enough is enough— when it comes time to manage pain instead of accepting more. That moment happened on a drive back from St. Cloud, when Mark decided against dialysis. He told his father to stop at the attorney’s office and made arrangements to donate everything to form a foundation for kids. When he shuffled outside, he looked at his dad and spoke four words: “Now, I can die.” His legacy began in 2003, three years after Mark was diagnosed with leukemia. His cancer was in remission and he was feeling better. When he heard about a new mentoring program, Mark walked into Lincoln Elementary School and asked how he could help. He long had a passion for working with children, including spending time mentoring through Kinship Partners and summers as a camp counselor for deaf children. Little Falls teachers welcomed the new volunteer and paired Mark with four young boys who were struggling with social skills, homework, and self-esteem. He dropped by a few times each week, often with a new toy or game for fun’s sake, and always with encouraging words and gentle direction. “Mark’s interaction with those boys was pure magic,” says Marge Rakow, a school librarian and family friend. “He was so real, so genuine, and he made their time fun. He had a way of reminding people about what’s important in life.” She remembers that one of the boys hardly spoke a word to anyone. “After spending time with Mark, he became a different person,” she adds. “He would smile, walk up to you, and actually volunteer information.”

Even though Mark was soon battling cancer again, he continued to work at Little Falls Orthopedics and mentored the boys eight hours each week for three years. He shared with them his love for remote control cars, kites, and board games, but most of all, he believed in each child. Grades and behavior improved and so did their self-esteem.

“If he could make it across town, then I knew that I could make it to the beach,” he told his brother, Dave. They spent the afternoon tossing rocks into the late-summer water. “When it became clear that he wouldn’t be with us for much longer,” says Dave, “he found a way to continue what he felt most passionate about—giving back to the kids who needed a friend the most.” Before he died, and with the help of the Initiative Foundation and Little Falls Area Foundation, Mark bequeathed his entire estate to form his own foundation that funds a mentoring program for at-risk students in the Little Falls school district. The Initiative Foundation works with donors to form charitable, memorial, and scholarship funds that benefit central Minnesota communities. One of Mark’s most memorable quotes still echoes through those that knew him: “It’s not about me.” In fact, Dave keeps those words at his desk and on his refrigerator door. “Mark just had a different perspective,” says Dave. “He had this attitude that you give back and that you do whatever you can to help others. And you don’t make a big deal out of it.” Since Mark died in 2005, the Lincoln Elementary mentoring program has grown from just a handful of adult mentors to nineteen and counting. Many volunteers were inspired by Mark. Some were simply inspired by his story. Teachers have received calls from others who have heard about the program and want to replicate it in their schools. “Working with Mark’s family to bring his dream to life has been an honor for all of us,” says Curt Hanson, the Initiative Foundation’s vice president for donor services.

“He found a way to continue what he felt most passionate about— giving back to the kids who needed a friend the most.” “Mark had a very powerful and positive impact on the four boys he mentored. He provided unconditional time and attention,” says Anita Larsen, a social worker at Lincoln Elementary School. Mark wrote letters to the boys from the hospital and even asked Larsen to have the boys visit him when he was too ill to walk any longer. He never let on that anything was serious. On one of Mark’s sickest days, one of the boys showed up on his doorstep and asked if Mark wanted to go to the beach. The boy was overcoming shyness and hardly ever left his house. Mark had difficulty standing and walking, but he knew the boy had biked across town for the first time.

Post congratulations for the family of Mark Wood at IQMAG.ORG

04 IQ.Fall07_20-23


1:19 PM


Page 22

he door inched open and a windswept mother ushered four young children into the Hidden Jewels Thrift Store. Like dozens of unsure customers before her, she could not afford new clothes for her children. And she was expecting another. She hid behind one of the racks and fidgeted through the used shirts and jackets—fifty cents here, one dollar there. Impossible as it seemed, she found a season’s warmth within her pocketbook, thanks to the Pine River-Backus Family Center, legions of volunteers, and the generosity of local people. Nancy Wood is Hidden Jewels’ manager, a volunteer magnet, and one of those smalltown therapists who can get anyone to open up. For the young woman, it took little more than Nancy’s friendly question, “Say, what kind of accent is that?” She replied that she was German, new to the area, and after a few minutes, she confessed that she was exhaust-

ed, lonely, and homesick. With Nancy’s friendship and knowledge of the family center’s services, the struggling mother found sources of assistance and activities for her children. A home visitor dropped by weekly. Since she didn’t drive, volunteers helped get the children to summer programs. The story of people helping people is told again and again through the 386 adults and 732 children the family center touched in 2006. The concept of a community-based family center began in 1994, when Pine River residents grew alarmed at the rising teen pregnancy rate. They formed a task force to address the issue and, out of it, grew the Pine River-Backus Family Center—one of five family centers now attached to each school district in Cass County. The Pine River-Backus Family Center has seen unusual success—enough that other nonprofits are calling to discover what makes it

LINKED: Leslie Bouchonville (left) and Family Center friends.


Initiative Quarterly •

work. Its core programs include drug prevention and education, youth summer programs, parent education, home visitation, and basic family support. Many clients face poverty or crisis situations. “We listen to what the community needs and respond,” says Leslie Bouchonville, the family center’s executive director since 1996. “It’s a constant evolution as we incorporate new programs as needs arise.” The family center had already matured into a successful organization when Bouchonville and board officers were invited to participate in the Initiative Foundation’s Healthy Organizations Partnership (HOP) program in 2002. HOP trains nonprofit leaders to run effective organizations that achieve greater results in their communities. Cathy Hartle, the Initiative Foundation’s senior program manager for organizational effectiveness, believes the family center has seen con-

04 IQ.Fall07_20-23


1:19 PM

Page 23

“We listen to what the community needs and respond.” siderable success because of its culture of teamwork and ability to listen and respond. “They stay focused on the people they serve,” says Hartle. “They have an actively engaged board and staff who work hard to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs, and they are in a constant improvement mode.” One example is Terrific Tuesdays, a popular summer program designed for kindergarteners to sixth-graders. When families asked for a similar preschool program, staff and volunteers put their heads together to create Wonderful Wednesdays. Both focus on kid-friendly educational activities, parenting support, and positive social experiences that translate to school success. When youth substance abuse became a community concern, the “Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug” program trained teachers to use a drug prevention curriculum in the district

schools. The center also works closely with the Cass County Methamphetamine Coalition. “A strong, effective organization requires both a competent board and staff working as a team,” says Hartle. “That’s why we recognized the family center as our 2007 Outstanding Nonprofit Organization.” In rural areas such as Cass County, transportation can be a major hurdle for families facing financial challenges. The family center bridges the distance-gap by serving as a satellite office for Cass County Social Services and a distribution center for the Second Harvest food bank. Minnesota Rural Centralized Employment Program (CEP) also uses their facility to meet with clients and many begin their first jobs at the thrift store. The center was originally established with funding from the Initiative Foundation

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic • Photography by Jim Altobell

and continues to receive its support. They also receive support from the Cass County Leech Lake Children’s Initiative, which established the five family centers. That funding is being reduced and will be gone by 2010. “That’s one of the things that prompted us to open the thrift store. We are looking at creative ways to generate revenue and become more self-sustaining,” says Bouchonville. Bouchonville credits twenty staff members and 350-plus volunteers as the center’s greatest strength. “Our people are passionate about what they do and they’re committed to caring,” says Bouchonville. “Our volunteers are loyal and they want to make their time valuable. It really makes a difference to the people we serve.” Post congratulations for Pine River-Backus Family Center at IQMAG.ORG

05 IQ.Fall07_24-27


1:24 PM

Page 24

THE NATURAL: Mark Ronnei at Fawn Ridge.

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic • Photography by Jim Altobell


Initiative Quarterly •

05 IQ.Fall07_24-27


1:24 PM

Page 25

Fawn Ridge abandoned the cookie-cutter approach in favor of “conservation design,” a way of developing land that minimizes human impact.


ollowing a trail that tunnels through towering birch and aspen, land-developer Mark Ronnei pauses near an undeveloped lake. “Listen,” he whispers. “You hear that?” A few seconds pass. No weed-whackers. No hum of traffic. No faint mumble of television. “That’s wind, water, and trees,” he says. “That’s how you can design a neighborhood.” Ronnei is the CEO of Etoc Development, a division of Cote Family Companies, known regionally as the owners of Grand View Lodge. Down the road in Nisswa, Ronnei’s Fawn Ridge gave conservationists a case-in-point example of how textbook management practices could be brought to life as a profitable, next-generation neighborhood. “Our goals for creating Fawn Ridge were two-fold,” he says, “to make a statement and say this is who we are as a developer, and because it was the right thing to do.” Fawn Ridge abandoned the cookie-cutter approach in favor of “conservation design,” a way of developing land that minimizes human impact while allowing more people to own property. Common features of this design are smaller lots with clustered homes and sewers set back from lakes and rivers, roads and driveways that respect natural terrain, and the permanent preservation of large swathes of shared land. “Any developer can cut up a piece of shoreline to create a subdivision with homes every hundred feet,” says Paul Radomski, Minnesota DNR research scientist. “[Conservation design] takes a little more thought and time, but clustering homes and

preserving natural areas have benefits—lower infrastructure costs, preservation of wildlife habitat, and far less polluted runoff into lakes.” In Fawn Ridge, no one has a ten-acre lot or an exclusive, million-dollar view of Fawn and Edna Lakes. Instead, winding roads lead to semi-private homes that are nestled within the trees. Walking trails connect neighbors and nature. Even the lakes have shared docks to reduce the human imprint. “When I look out my window, I can’t see the neighbor’s house, even though each lot is only half an acre,” says Renee Johnson. She and her husband, Gary, were the first to build a home there. “And when I’m out on the nature trails, I enjoy such a sense of peace and solitude. We’re just so glad that someone had the sense to put value in the property and not just cash in on it.” But profit potential drives business decisions. Developers often ask whether conservation-designed developments are as lucrative as traditional ones. Consider this: Developers can carve-up two hundred acres into one hundred larger lots; or they can take two hundred acres, set aside one hundred acres in permanent preservation, and sell the same number of smaller lots—often for a premium price. “We were able to create sixteen home sites at Fawn Ridge and preserve more than thirty acres,” says Ronnei. “If we had developed this traditionally, you would have perhaps five homeowners, so we’ve created a 300 percent increase in how many people get to enjoy the shoreline.” The community mindset is also an aspect

he highlights as having a positive impact on natural resources. “When homeowners have to make decisions on land-use as a group, the impact on the land is far less than when landowners are free to alter their property however they wish,” says Ronnei. “What it really creates is a mindset that this is ‘our property’ instead of ‘my property.’” Besides earning recognition as the Initiative Foundation’s 2007 Outstanding Green Venture, the 1,000 Friends of Minnesota honored Fawn Ridge with a “Lake-Friendly Construction Award.” The City of Nisswa also changed its ordinances so that Ronnei and other environmentally minded developers could experiment with conservation designs. “Many central Minnesota counties anticipate population growth as great as 40 percent over the next twenty years,” says Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation program manager for planning and preservation. “Etoc is our 2007 Outstanding Green Venture because their ideas show how our region can accommodate growth while preserving high-quality natural resources.” Ronnei says Etoc Development’s vision is to help welcome the region’s new neighbors while preserving the Minnesota dream. “Minnesota lakes are public waters, but our concept of private ownership has really privatized our lakes,” adds Ronnei. “Unless we plan carefully and make sure everyone has the right and opportunity to enjoy them, fewer people will experience life at the lake.” Post congratulations for Mark Ronnei and Etoc Development at IQMAG.ORG

05 IQ.Fall07_24-27


1:25 PM

Page 26

By Britta Reque-Dragicevic Photography by Jim Altobell


Initiative Quarterly •

FORESIGHT: Bob Thompson saved one hundred jobs.

05 IQ.Fall07_24-27


1:25 PM


Page 27

he writing was on the wall, as if it were printed on the thousands of iridescent Post-It™ Notes that employees affixed to retail displays. Call it what you will—downsizing, right-sizing, or a sad casualty of global competition—there was little consolation for three generations of blue-collar workers. Whispers travel fast, especially in small workplaces. The microfilm manufacturer and 3M outsourcing plant would soon be mothballed, and with it, one hundred deep-rooted jobs—an action that would surely force families out of Pine City. Bob Thompson had been preparing for this day for years. Instead of allowing the plant to vanish, he bought it with financing from the Initiative Foundation in 2005. Reformed as MINPACK, Inc., the company is one of America’s largest high-tech manufacturers of microfilm, and a key supplier to household names like 3M, NASA, and Boeing. “Bob’s purchase of MINPACK is the best thing that could have happened to Pine City,” says Mayor Jane Robbins. “The loss of this plant would have meant the loss of a quality employer, one hundred employees, the taxbase, and what no community wants to experience—the empty buildings.” Thompson began his career at 3M and holds two United States patents. He relocated to the Pine City facility when the former 3M plant spun off as Imation, then DecisionOne. Thompson asked for the first right of refusal should they ever sell. His foresight and relationship-building were key to extending the plant’s record for continuous operation since 1968. “My primary motivation to create MINPACK was to retain one hundred-plus jobs,” says Thompson. The impact on the city of just over three thousand has been huge. An ideal location for manufacturing, Pine City is a rural oasis on Interstate 35, just sixty miles from the Twin Cities and ninety miles from Duluth. Because 40 percent of residents reluctantly commute, MINPACK’s employment opportunities are valued at a premium. “Our business has grown 30 percent in the last eighteen months. I would love to take full credit, but the reality is that MINPACK employees continue to deliver significant value for our customers,” explains Thompson. “Our customers now know that we’re not going away. We are

“Small towns need small, local businesses that care about their communities.” steadily adding more employees, including professional jobs in finance, sales, and marketing.” The benefits of high-tech firms operating out of rural areas go both ways. Employers gain a reliable, productive workforce, and communities prosper from better-paying jobs and the ability to keep people close to home. Economic success is not the only asset Thompson has brought to Pine City. As a resident and community leader, he invests in the community’s future through the Pine City Area Early Childhood Coalition. Partnering with the Initiative Foundation, the coalition helps provide quality care and learning opportunities for children age five and younger. “I recognize how difficult it can be for young parents to have quality time with their children,” says Thompson, noting that MINPACK runs three shifts a day. “At MINPACK, we want to help employees balance their work schedules with family time. “The norm is both parents working, or in many cases, single parents working more than one job to make ends meet. My role in early childhood is to help provide the opportunity for early learning for all children. It just makes sense—our children are our future.” With $27.6 million in business financing that has created 8,500 living-wage jobs (paying more than $15 per hour, including benefits), the Initiative Foundation also helps families by investing in locally owned businesses. The foundation’s Technology Capital Fund is designed to meet the needs of high-tech firms such as MINPACK. “Small towns need strong, local businesses that care about their communities,” says Sandy Voigt, the Initiative Foundation’s program manager for technology finance. “They also need local jobs that pay good wages so that families can afford homes, get involved, and give back. MINPACK provides these opportunities for Pine City, and that’s why we chose them as our 2007 Outstanding Enterprise.” Post congratulations for Bob Thompson and MINPACK at IQMAG.ORG


11:25 AM

Page 28


06 IQ.Fall07_28-36

We have been providing cost effective metal spinning solutions for over 60 years. Our exclusive capability to spin metal up to 1.375" thick is supported by a superior commitment to product quality, highly empowered employees, and commitment to being the number one U.S. source for close toleranced heavy gauge CNC spinnings.

TO LEARN MORE: FOR ASSISTANCE with production orders: call direct [800] 388-5355 or e-mail

Q Pre K-12 Education Services Q Parenting Education Q Environmental/Occupational Health & Safety Solutions Q Professional Training Serving our member school districts, cities, counties, nonprofits and communities.


Initiative Quarterly •

St. Cloud, Minnesota (320) 255-3236

06 IQ.Fall07_28-36


2:06 PM

Page 29


SUN SENSE VISTA Shines Light on Home Solar Collector


with the solar collector was very well-suited for me. It has been a great experience.” He is helping to perfect RREAL’s residential solar collector, a sidekick to a home heating system. The side-mounted box with a solarabsorbent covering heats air naturally before blowing it into a home. When it’s rolled out in 2008, the collector could save budget-challenged families up to 25 percent in heating costs while reducing carbon emissions. The Initiative Foundation partners with the VISTA program to reduce poverty. In the past year, fifteen VISTAs have provided 14,000 volunteer hours and raised $250,000 for their nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit React at IQMAG.ORG


or those struggling to make ends meet, a cold Minnesota winter can be impossible. Energy assistance programs are essential, but what if the solution went beyond government aid? What if it included an inexpensive, environmentally friendly device to help heat homes? Those questions rattled within the inventive mind of Graham Wright, an engineer and VISTA volunteer with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) in Backus. The Initiative Foundation administers the national VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program in central Minnesota. “I believe in national service and I wanted to make a career change to renewable energy,” says Graham, who made a one-year volunteer commitment to the VISTA program. “Helping

WARM WELCOME: Wright installs a solar unit.

Fall 2007


06 IQ.Fall07_28-36


2:06 PM

Page 30


IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT Eich Motor Company President Joins Board


inda Eich DesJardins, president of Eich Motor Company in St. Cloud, knows what to do behind the wheel. As a new trustee, she’s ready to drive the Initiative Foundation through its five-year roadmap to strengthen central Minnesota communities. “Every board I’ve served on has been helped by the Initiative Foundation,” says Linda. “They’ve made a huge impact on the nonprofits I’ve been involved with, in everything from board training to grants. That’s how I first came to understand the huge impact the foundation has on our community.” Eich DesJardins has served several St. Cloud area nonprofits since she joined Eich Motor Company in 1990. These include


Initiative Quarterly •

the St. Cloud Technical College Foundation, Stearns History Museum, and Hands across the World. She holds an MBA from Drexel College and has completed PhD coursework in International Management and Macroeconomics at Temple University. Her business has also earned numerous awards and certifications from Volkswagen and Mazda. “We are very excited about Linda,” says Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president. “Her broad background in business and finance, coupled with her community involvement and passion for people, will bring important insights to our board of trustees.” The board of trustees also elected new offi-

cers: Chair Gene Waldorf, retired Minnesota Senator (Grey Eagle); Vice Chair Lee Hanson, Gray Plant Mooty (St. Cloud); and Secretary/Treasurer Mary Sam, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (Onamia). React at IQMAG.ORG

FIRST GEAR: New Trustee Linda Eich DesJardins.

06 IQ.Fall07_28-36


2:06 PM

Page 31


MINNESOTA’S BEST Gov. Pawlenty Honors Anti-Meth Initiative


hen methamphetamine tore through the fabric of rural Minnesota, the Initiative Foundation was among the first to take notice and take action. That initiative has now been recognized by Gov. Tim Pawlenty for its powerful impact. At the White House Regional Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in August, Gov. Pawlenty honored the foundation with a 2007 Faith and Community Service Initiatives Best Practices Award. The awards recognized nine organizations that joined forces to make positive changes for individuals and communities. “The Initiative Foundation’s program is so far-reaching, and the impact is beyond just

one community,” says Lee Buckley, Governor’s Council on Faith and AWARDED: Gov. Pawlenty with Cathy Hartle, Community Service representative. Kathy Gaalswyk, and Linda Kaufmann. “We appreciate that the foundation was able to pull this together and communicate how we can prevent the use of meth enforcement, healthcare, education, and busiin our state.” nesses around meth intervention, recovery, In 2005, the foundation launched its and education. It also invested more than Minnesota ICE initiative with the Hazelden $236,000 in meth-related grants. Foundation and the five other Minnesota “This is a tremendous honor,” says Linda Initiative Foundations. The aggressive proKaufmann, the foundation’s senior program gram began with a statewide conference and manager. “Our biggest reward is knowing that public education efforts that introduced the this program saved lives.” issue to rural Minnesotans. For more info on the awards, visit The foundation then formed ten county React at IQMAG.ORG coalitions that united concerned citizens, law





Orchestrating a building project is a big job. Make it a little easier with one company that can do it all and do it well. Designers, craftsmen, project managers. They’re all right here, under one roof.

2 1 8 . 5 6 8 . 6 1 6 0

w e b :

w w w . d o t t y b r o t h e r s . c o m

Fall 2007


06 IQ.Fall07_28-36



2:06 PM

Initiative Quarterly •

Page 32



2:58 PM

Page 33



2:59 PM

Page 34

MISSION Unlock the potential of the people of central Minnesota to build and sustain healthy communities.

WHO WE ARE Created in 1986 by local leaders and The McKnight Foundation, we were one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations established to counter an economic crisis that crippled cornerstone industries like farming and mining. This crisis led to rural flight, poverty and downtown decline. Today, central Minnesota is strong and prosperous. And the Initiative Foundation is future-focused. We look beyond the horizon to share the social and economic trends that will challenge and benefit our communities. Through leadership programs, grants and business investments powered by local generosity, we unlock the promise of people to create the best future for central Minnesota.

GOALS • Strengthen Economic Opportunity • Preserve Key Places and Natural Resources • Support Children, Youth, and Families • Build Organizational Effectiveness • Encourage the Spirit of Giving


Initiative Quarterly • 2007 Annual Report




2:59 PM

Page 35

B o a r d of T r ustees Gene Waldor f CHAIR Retired, 3M Former Minnesota Legislator

Barbara Anderson Lee Hanson VICE-CHAIR

Jim Anderson

St. Joseph’s Medical Center

Gray Plant Mooty

Mar y S a m SECRETARY/ TREASURER Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Anderson Brothers Construction Company

Chuck Christian

Gloria C o n t r eras Edin

Linda Eich DesJar d i n s

Retired, Christian Builders

Centro Legal

Eich Motor Company

G. Geor ge Wallin, Ph.D.

D a v e G r uenes

Ar nie Johnson

Janet Moran

Steve Shelley

Stearns Electric Association, Former Minnesota Legislator

Johnson Enterprises


Shelley Funeral Chapels

Connections, Etc.

Initiative Foundation Staf f Kathy Gaalswyk President Bethany Carlton Donor Services Clerk Chris Fastner VISTA Program Manager Dan Frank Program Manager for Community Development Shar o n G o t t w a l t Business Finance Assistant

Cur t H a n s o n Vice President for Donor Services Cathy Har t l e Senior Program Manager for Organizational Effectiveness Don Hickman Program Manager for Planning & Preservation Tricia Holig Program Assistant for Grants & Training

Anita Hollenhorst Communications Associate Lynn Houle Vice President for Finance & Operations Jolene Howar d Program Assistant for Grants & Training John Kaliszewski Vice President for Economic Development Lois Kallsen Office & Facilities Coordinator

Linda Kaufmann Senior Program Manager for Children, Youth & Families Matt Kilian Director of Communications

Mar y A n n L i n d e l l Executive Assistant Leah Posterick Program Assistant for Grants & Training Mar y A n n S c h e f e r s Finance Assistant

Paul Kleinwachter Business Finance Associate

Ashley Var go Business Finance Officer

Kris Kowalzek Finance Assistant

Sandy Voigt Program Manager for Technology Finance

Mark Lease Donor Services Officer

Fall 2007




11:33 AM

Page 36

FISCAL YEAR 2007 FINANCIAL SUMMARY July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007

SOURCES OF FUNDS : $ 1 1 . 5 M i l l i o n

USES OF FUNDS : $ 6 . 7 M i l l i o n

■ Investment Income ..............................$5,305,860

■ Business Investments ..........................$3,231,911

■ Business Financing Revenue & Repayments ......................................$3,605,709

■ Grants & Scholarship Activity ............$1,189,456

■ Grants & Contributions ........................$2,402,121

■ Foundation Operations ........................$1,166,355

■ Other Operating Revenue ......................$229,578

■ Special Projects & Other............................$27,703

■ Training & Programs ............................$1,111,428

Total Endowment Value: $33 Million


Total Assets: $48 Million

A complete audit report prepared by LarsonAllen, LLP is available upon request.

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■


GRANTS Unlocking the Power of People

BUSINESS FINANCING Local Owners, Quality Jobs

Investment Total $1,126,931

Investment Total $2,584,000

Children, Youth & Families ....................30% Economic Opportunity ............................19% Community Planning ..............................14% Hometown Improvement ........................10% Community & Donor Funds ....................10% Natural Resources Preservation................9% Organizational Effectiveness ....................8%

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Manufacturing................................36% Technology ....................................22% Service ............................................21% Small Business Guaranties ..........15% Environment/Agriculture ................5% Retail ................................................2%



2:59 PM

Page 37

FROM 1986-2007 • Made 2,686 grants totaling $17.7 million • Invested $30.5 million in 778 locally owned businesses • Awarded 466 scholarships totaling $350,755 • Created or secured 9,008 living-wage jobs • Trained 1,391 leaders from 125 communities to plan and achieve a brighter future • Trained 1,226 leaders to improve the water quality of 174 lakes and rivers • Trained 719 leaders from 83 nonprofits to manage more effective organizations • Trained 380 leaders from 11 communities to prepare young children for lifetime success • Trained 200 leaders from 11 counties in the battle against methamphetamine • Deployed 75 full-time VISTA volunteers to reduce poverty in central Minnesota



Resident Donations* to Initiative Foundation

Initiative Foundation Investments** in County




$2.6 Million




$2.8 Million




$1.8 Million


Crow Wing


$6.9 Million




$1.3 Million





Mille Lacs


$2.6 Million




$3.3 Million




$1.7 Million




$3.0 Million




$9.4 Million




$2.5 Million




$2.3 Million




$3.6 Million




$44.5 Million



*Rounded numbers include individual, business, government and utility donations. **Rounded numbers include nonprofit grants, business financing investments and scholarships.

Fall 2007




2:59 PM

Page 38

To our donors, we say thank you. We value each gift for the special reasons it was given and for the trust you have placed in our foundation. The following are our program and endowment gifts received between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2007.

Gold Keymaster ($50,000 or more) Anderson Brothers Construction Company The Bush Foundation Calvert Foundation Community Development Financial Institutions Fund City of Little Falls Corporation for National & Community Service County of Cass County of Crow Wing County of Isanti County of Sherburne County of Stearns East Central Energy Emma B. Howe Memorial Foundation Hunt Family of Companies The Jay & Rose Phillips Foundation The Laura Jane Musser Fund The McKnight Foundation Minnesota Power MN Dept of Employment & Economic Development MN Pollution Control Agency Northwest Area Foundation Otto Bremer Foundation USDA Rural Development Wells Fargo Community Development Corporation William Randolph Hearst Foundation Keymaster ($25,000 to $49,999) Bremer Banks City of Cambridge City of St. Cloud Connexus Energy County of Benton County of Chisago County of Morrison County of Todd diversiCOM/Melrose Telephone Company First National Bank of Milaca Great River Energy Eugene & the late Betty Ford Menzel Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Foundation for Education, Public Health & Social Justice Rural Cellular Corporation Schlagel, Inc. Stearns Electric Association US Bancorp Foundation West Central Telephone Association Xcel Energy Foundation


Por tal ($10,000 to $24,999) American Heritage National Bank The Bank of Elk River Bank of the West Blandin Foundation Buuck Family Foundation City of Baxter City of Brainerd City of Elk River City of Princeton City of Sartell City of Sauk Rapids City of St. Michael City of Wadena Consolidated Telecommunications Company County of Mille Lacs County of Pine County of Wadena County of Wright Environmental Protection Agency First Integrity Bank of Staples First National Bank of Deerwood First State Bank of Wyoming Lake Country State Bank Gary Lyall Manufacturing Fund of Central Minnesota Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union Gladys & the late Leonard Paulson John & Bonnie Schlagel Schlenner, Wenner & Co. The Sheltering Arms Foundation Sprint/Northern PCS Services TEAM Foundation Wells Fargo Banks Gateway ($5,000 to $9,999) American National Banks of MN Pete & Thora Allen Benton Cooperative Telephone Company Brainerd Insurance Agency, Inc. Brunswick Corporation - Crestliner Cambridge Medical Center Cambridge State Bank Citizens State Bank City of Annandale City of Buffalo City of Cokato City of Cold Spring City of Crosslake City of Eden Valley City of Howard Lake City of Lindstrom City of Long Prairie

Initiative Quarterly • 2007 Annual Report

City of Maple Lake City of Melrose City of Mora City of Nisswa City of Paynesville City of Pine City City of Sandstone City of Staples City of Waite Park City of Zimmerman Clow Stamping Company Vernon Dahlheimer East Central Energy Trust Donald & Deanna Engen First National Bank of Menahga First National Bank of Walker Freeport State Bank Kathy & Neal Gaalswyk Hazelden Foundation Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites of St. Cloud Independent Order of Foresters— Branch 1298 Kraus-Anderson Construction Company Lakeland Mold Company, Inc. Lakes Printing Larson/Glastron/Seaswirl, Inc. Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce MARCO, Inc. Mardag Foundation Medica Foundation The Minneapolis Foundation Dr. John & Janet Moran NOR-SON, Inc. North American State Bank Park Industries, Inc. Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation Peoples Bank of Commerce Pequot Tool & Manufacturing, Inc. Pine Country Bank Piper Jaffray Foundation Stephen & Gwyn Shelley State Bank of Kimball Tri County Hospital University of Minnesota Office of the Board of Regents Viking Label & Packaging, Inc. Wadena State Bank Eugene & Bernadine Waldorf Xcel Energy

Cor ridor ($3,000 to $4,999) Brock White Construction Materials City of Big Lake City of Browerville City of Chisago City City of Clarissa City of Delano City of Foley City of Isanti City of Menahga Community Federal Savings & Loan Association Crow Wing Power First National Bank of Sauk Centre First National Bank of Sebeka Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, PA Don Hickman & Sandra Kaplan Horizon Bank Lynn & Tim Houle John & Gloria Kaliszewski Matt & Jeanne Kilian Kuepers, Inc. Architects & Builders Lakes State Bank Long Prairie Memorial Hospital & Home McDowall Company Randall State Bank Robert & Sarah-Maud Sivertsen Everett & Rita Sobania St. Cloud Times/Gannett Foundation STAR BANK, National Association State Bank of Delano Thelen Heating & Roofing, Inc. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative Unity Bank Central The Whitney Foundation Widseth Smith Nolting & Assoc., Inc. Woodlands National Bank Passage ($1,000 to $2,999) Altobell Imagery, LLC James & Linnea Anderson Annandale State Bank The Antioch Company Architecture One Chad & Paula Becker Bercher Design & Construction, Inc. Blueberry Township Robert J. Bunger Center for Rural Policy & Development Central Minnesota Community Foundation Central Minnesota Federal CU Central MN Council On Aging



3:00 PM

Mike Markman, U.S. Bank

Central MN Jobs & Training Services Gloria M. Cessna Charles & Barbara Christian City of Albertville City of Avon City of Backus City of Becker City of Belgrade City of Bertha City of Braham City of Breezy Point City of Cass Lake City of Center City City of Chickamaw Beach City of Crosby City of Eagle Bend City of East Gull Lake City of Emily City of Finlayson City of Garrison City of Grasston City of Grey Eagle City of Hanover City of Hinckley City of Kimball City of Lake Shore City of Montrose City of Motley City of Ogilvie City of Onamia City of Pequot Lakes City of Pierz City of Pine River City of Randall City of Rice City of Richmond City of Riverton City of Rock Creek City of Rockford City of Rockville City of Royalton City of Sauk Centre City of Sebeka City of St. Joseph City of St. Stephen City of Swanville City of Taylors Falls City of Verndale City of Walker City of Waverly City of Wyoming Coborn’s, Inc. Gloria L. Contreras-Edin Cuyuna Regional Medical Center D H Blattner & Sons, Inc.

Page 39

Jim & Linnea Anderson Family

DeGraaf Financial, Inc. Diamond Tool, Inc. The Eddy Family Foundation Falcon National Bank Farmers & Merchants State Bank First National Bank in Wadena The First National Bank of Cold Spring First National Bank of Elk River First State Bank of Swanville Dan & Annette Frank Funders’ Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities Gold’n Plump Poultry Greater Twin Cities United Way Curt & Mary Beth Hanson Cathy Hartle & Doug Larsen Heritage House of Sebeka John & Debra Hoefs Catherine E. Jackson Kern, DeWenter, Viere, LTD Kristine & Kenneth Kowalzek Bradley Kruse & Kimberly Faurot Lake Sullivan Association, Inc. Landecker & Associates, Inc Landmark Community Bank, N.A. LarsonAllen LLP Mark A. Lease Lindar Corporation Little Falls Orthopedics Mattson Lumber Company In Memory of Helen K. (Wolf) Mills Anonymous Minnesota Teen Challenge Nemadji Research Corporation Northern Technology Initiative Northland Foundation In Memory of Leonard Paulson Russell W. Lindquist Gladys M. Paulson Peoples National Bank of Mora Plaza Park Bank Quinlivan & Hughes, PA Region 5 Development Commission Resource Training & Solutions Reverence for Life & Concern for People, Inc. Rice Building Systems, Inc. Rinke-Noonan, Ltd Richard & Margaret Roesler Rosenmeier, Anderson & Vogel Karl & Gail Samp Security State Bank of Maple Lake Dorothy & Mike Simpson Southwest Initiative Foundation

Gladys Paulson

St. Cloud Hospital/CentraCare Health System State Bank of Cold Spring Tastefully Simple, Inc. Venture Allies Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation Verndale Custom Homes, Inc. Sandy Voigt W.F. Scarince, Inc. Wright County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs Access (Up to $999) Anonymous Robert Abel of East Gate Business Center AccountAbility Solutions, LLC John & Phoebe Alden Allina Health System American Legion Post No. 211 Jerry R. Amundson Anakkala, Berns, & Co, PLLP Barb & Duane Anderson Ann Lake Sportsmans Club Bank Forward Kay & the late Don Bargen In Memory of Don Bargen Work Smart, Inc. Mary Bauer & Brad Hansen Bay Lake Area Lions Charities, Inc. Lonna & Kurt Becker Michner Bender Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Karen Bobeldyk Howard & Teresa Bohnen In Memory of Dellie Brausen Blain Fowlers Bromelkamp Company Isobel Brown Ms. Kay Browne & Mr. C.J. Browne Business Machines Plus Thomas & Katie Buss Renee Cardarelle Brad & Debbie Carlson E. David Cater & Jean Soper Cater Central Lakes Medical Center PA Central Marble Products, Inc. Central MN Housing Partnership Christenson Agency City of Aldrich City of Askov City of Boy River City of Buckman City of Burtrum City of Denham City of Elmdale

Jack & Betty Thomas

City of Federal Dam City of Fifty Lakes City of Hackensack City of Harding City of Henriette City of Hewitt City of Hillman City of Holdingford City of Isle City of Jenkins City of Lastrup City of Longville City of Manhattan Beach City of Pease City of Pillager City of Quamba City of Remer City of South Haven City of St. Martin City of St. Rosa City of Sturgeon Lake City of Upsala City of Wahkon Cold Spring SuperValu Collaborative Work Solutions Community Development of Morrison County, Inc. Helen L. Comnick Continental Press, Inc. Cook’s World of Water Cragun’s Conference Center Crystal-Pierz Marine of St. Cloud D. J. Bitzan Jewelers, Inc. Diversified Media Resources, Inc. Gerald & Jean Duban East Central MN Workforce Partnership East Side Boosters ECM Publishers, Inc. Effective Living Center EIS, LLC EnSearch, Inc. Susan Fairchild & Steven Winn Chris Fastner & Kathy Hakes-Fastner First National Bank of Crosby First State Bank of Sauk Centre Jennifer & Bryan Fitzpatrick Margaret Flolid Bruce & Mary Fogle Curt & Judy Forst Coralee M. Fox Dr. David & Mary Freeman Lyle & Lorrretta Freiderich James & Helen Gaiser Ronald & Sharon Gilsrud

Fall 2007




11:33 AM

Page 40

Mark Wood Foundation

Glenn Metalcraft, Inc. Gluek Brewing Company Goeman Realty, Inc. Goldeneye Solutions, Inc. Goldsmith Jewelers Sharon & Chuck Gottwalt Mary Beth Grams Greater MN Credit Union David Gruenes Hackensack Chamber of Commerce Bruce & Marcia Hanson Thomas E. Hartman Donald P. Helgeson Flora Hendrickson Barbara A. Herman Jack Heule & the late Kathy Bussard Holdingford Commercial Club Anita & Brad Hollenhorst William & Sherry Holmgren Jolene Howard Independent News Herald & Benning Printing Integra Telecom IPEX, Inc. William D. Israelson Peter & Lynne Jacobson Ronald & Rebecca Jones Marian Kapusta Linda Kaufmann Douglas & E. Lorraine Keister Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses Norman & Julie Krause Stephanie J. Kray Gary W. Y. Kwong Lake Country Drug Lake Country Journal Lake Hubert Conservation Assn. Lakeland Veterinary Hospital Lakewood Health System Colleen H. LeBlanc Leech Lake Association, Inc John & Arlene Leisen MaryAnn & Pete Lindell Line’s Building Center, Inc. Locke Lake Property Owners, Inc. Log Homes Minnesota, Inc. Long Prairie Packing Company Longville Area Community Foundation Philip & Margaret Lord Dale & Lora Lorenz Carol Lovdahl Mahowald Insurance Agency Keith Maki Connie & Alan Marcyes Jerry & Linda Martin Glenn & Martha Masden Melrose Area Hospital Melrose Dairy Proteins LLC Diane Mendel


Gloria Cessna

The MIDCO Group Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Mille Lacs Health System Daniel Miller MinnCo Credit Union Ed & Cheryl Minnema Minnesota Campus Compact MINPACK, Inc. Miracle Group MN Business Finance Corporation Lee & Judy Moening In Memory of Eugene Monson Kevin & Rhonda Krenos Jerome Muggli, CPA Walter & Adele Munsterman Prof. A. I. Musah Herbert & Lori Nelson Wilbur & Jane Nemitz North Fourth, Inc. Northland Lions Northwest Minnesota Foundation Robert & Marilyn Obermiller Michael & Connie O’Brien Dennis O’Donnell & Blanche Smith Opatz Metals Out of the Woods Consulting Clarence Payne Paynesville Area Health Care System Robert Peichel/Edward Jones Donald & Cindi Peterson Pierz Lions Piper Jaffray Geri Pohlkamp Jerome D. Poland, M.D. Portage Crooked Lakes Improvement Assn. Leah & Dennis Posterick Amy Rantala & Thomas Savaloja Ray’s Construction Inc of Cold Spring Remer Chamber of Commerce Salem Lutheran Church Sand Lake Association Helen Schaefer MaryAnn Schefers Jeff & Nancy Schoenwetter Mary Schwartz SCSU Foundation, Inc. Sibley Lake Association, Inc. Pat Skelton Carol M. Smith Rande & Brenda Smith Dave O. Solberg Southeast Brainerd Residents Association

Initiative Quarterly • 2007 Annual Report

Southern MN Initiative Foundation Pat & Guy Spence St. Cloud Area Eco Dev Partnership St. Cloud Technical College Tom & Geri Staley Staples ‘93 Lions Club $taples Dollar $tore Staples Host Lions Club Staples-Motley Area Chamber of Commerce Staples Rotary Club State Bank of Cokato Stearns Bank Holdingford N.A. Stearns, Inc. Stern Rubber Company Catherine A. Stoch Sunray Printing Solutions Charles & Penny Swanum Teal’s Super-Valu Jim & Liz Thares Thirty Lakes Watershed District Dennis & Pam Thomsen Christopher & Beth Thorson Tischler Wood Products, Inc. In Memory of Malinda Tjelta Len & Lois Kallsen Trademark Homes of MN, Inc. Tri-County Young Parents Program Timothy & Carrie Tripp Beth Trout, On behalf of Hackensack Trailblazers Two Rivers Enterprises, Inc. United Way of Central Minnesota United Way of Crow Wing County United Way of Morrison County Unity Family Healthcare Upfront Consulting Rochelle M. Urness US Cable of Coastal-Texas, L.P. Joseph & Diane VanBeck Ashley Vargo George & Elizabeth Vilfordi Dr. Joan & the late Donald Volkmuth Walleye Dundee’s, Inc. Dr. George & Raquel Wallin Donald R. Watkins Pastor Angela Way The Wendel Group, Inc. Wenner Company Wenner Gas Company, Inc. West Central Initiative Willenbring, Dahl, Wocken & Zimmermann, PLLC Paul & Alice Wirth Wm. D. Scepaniak, Inc. Women of ELCA NE Heartland Conference Tina Yorek

PLANNED GIFTS Gloria M. Cessna Gloria L. Contreras-Edin Gladys M. Paulson The Mark A. Lease Family Fran & Mil Voelker COMMUNITY & AFFILIATED FUNDS Greater Pine Area Endowment Isle Area Community Foundation Little Falls Area Foundation Hanowski Family Fund* Mark Wood Foundation Staples Community Foundation Julius & Tracy Kurpius Family Fund for the Living Legacy Gardens Loren & Kathy Morey Family Fund Staples/Motley Dollars for Scholars Fund Staples Knights of Columbus—Lloyd & Marion Giddings Scholarship Fund Sacred Heart—Knights of Columbus Fund Three Rivers Community Foundation Archie & Isabelle Powell Family Memorial Scholarship Fund Charity Evenson Memorial Scholarship Chuck & Barbara Christian Fund Friends of the Elk River Library Fund Jeanette & Mel Beaudry Fund Josh Richardson Youth Arts Fund Zimmerman PTO—Lions Scholarship Fund NAMED & AFFLIATED FUNDS Alternative Sources of Energy Fund Anderson Brothers Family Fund Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund* Bob & Pauline Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund Bob Wright Memorial IFPA Scholarship Fund Bob & Marsha Bunger Endowment Fund Family Farm Fund John & Bonnie Schlagel Funds Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation Minnesota Pioneer Park Endowment Fund Shawn Grittner Scholarship/ Memorial Fund William & Ethel Nelson Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship Fund Wright County Historical Society LOAN FUNDS Princeton Loan Fund Todd-Wadena Loan Fund Menahga Loan Fund

*New funds established during 2007 fiscal year.

06 IQ.Fall07_28-36


2:07 PM

Page 41

Jesus said,

“Let the children come to me� (Matthew 19:14) With your help, Catholic Charities answers the cries of children providing help and creating hope for a brighter future. Of the 55,000 served last year, nearly half were children 40 programs in 16 counties of Central Minnesota Serving all faiths

911 18th St. N / PO Box 2390 St. Cloud, MN 56302-2390 320.650.1550 - 800.830.8254

Fall 2007


06 IQ.Fall07_28-36



2:07 PM

Initiative Quarterly •

Page 42


2:07 PM

Page 43

Trillium, Montgomery Farm, 2007—John Erickson

06 IQ.Fall07_28-36



Brainerd (218) 829-7852

Five Counties, One Vision, One Source. Economic Development • Research capabilities • Strategy assistance • Contractual needs • Community

group alignments • Feasibility studies

Neil Linscheid Economic Development Director 218.894.3233

Providing Regional • Commercial GAP

financing for new or expanding business • JobZ administration • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy • Access to Federal ED funding for identified projects • Entrepreneurial networks

Fall 2007


06 IQ.Fall07_28-36


2:07 PM

Page 44



Blue-Chip Philanthropy Retired Dain Rauscher Corporation CEO: Initiative Foundation is a Can’t-Miss Investment ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS MCALLISTER


n the 1980s, the people of greater Minnesota faced a lot of challenges: rapidly declining demands for farming, mining, and lumber, and the disappearance of entire economic markets. Around the state, economies suffered, communities suffered, and families suffered. With the help of The McKnight Foundation, the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have fostered growth and vitality in their regions while bolstering the economic health of our entire state. I joined The McKnight Foundation’s board of directors in 2005. I have had many official opportunities to visit several of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations established and funded by McKnight, including the Initiative Foundation of central Minnesota. Last winter, in a two-day tour, I visited social service and business sites with Kathy Gaalswyk and her dynamite staff. Among those we toured was St. Cloud’s Netgain Technology, a small IT company that received start-up financing from the Initiative Foundation. Netgain and other foundation start-ups play a key role in strengthening the region’s overall economy. Clearly, times have changed since 1986. When they created the Initiative Foundation, for example, McKnight’s board may not have envisioned the ever-present role technology plays in our lives today. Despite the changes, the Initiative Foundation’s mission rings true to The McKnight Foundation’s goals of so many years ago. Now, as then, they are in the business of unlocking potential to build and sustain healthy communities. Today, throughout the central region, communities face variations in growth—


Initiative Quarterly •

from massive expansion in some urban areas to dwindling populations in smaller towns. At the same time, Minnesota’s diversity continues to increase, with a growing immigrant workforce and new citizens committed to strengthening our state. Throughout the region, especially in emerging tech fields, greater Minnesota suddenly finds itself facing unprecedented global competition in the production of goods and services.

“This one organization holds amazing promise to turn investments into a stronger economy and healthier families throughout the entire region.” How fortunate that despite unforeseen challenges in demographics, workforce, and technology, the Initiative Foundation—like its regional counterparts throughout the state—continues to respond innovatively and effectively. Its programs bolster local communities through diverse efforts in human services, employment support, leadership development, and community building. After twenty-one years of connecting to communities and unlocking economic and societal potential, no one is better positioned than the Initiative Foundation to invest and serve those in our state’s central region. Obviously, we at McKnight believe the Initiative Foundation is doing phenomenal

things—that’s why we have supported them for more than two decades. As part of our funding commitment, we ask them to raise additional money within their own communities. With this “challenge grant,” McKnight, in turn, matches the local donations, generally dollar for dollar up to $1.8 million. But the potential of the Initiative Foundation isn’t only McKnight’s to unlock. By supporting the Initiative Foundation yourself, you also become part of the solution to the challenges facing central Minnesota today. Every central Minnesota community benefits from the smart, strategic work of the foundation. Because of its staff, partnerships, resources, and knowledge base, this one organization holds amazing promise to turn investments—including yours, if you choose—into a stronger economy and healthier families throughout the entire region. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations came into existence through the vision of Virginia McKnight Binger, daughter of founder William L. McKnight, and Russ Ewald, the Foundation’s first executive director. Virginia and Russ felt called to be responsive to the challenges facing outstate Minnesota. I am sure they would be very proud of what has been accomplished by the Initiative Foundation and the five others. React at IQMAG.ORG Richard D. McFarland is a member of The McKnight Foundation’s board of directors and retired CEO of Dain Rauscher Corporation.



12:46 PM

Page 1



12:47 PM

Page 1

Nisswa City Hall & Law Enforcement Center - completed in 2006, Ankeny Kell Architects, St. Paul

Brian Lehman Mayor 2007- Present

Working closely with current and former city officials to meet the needs of growing communities, NOR-SON

Harold Kraus Mayor 1998 - 2006

provides comprehensive, client centered Construction Management services for publicly funded projects. 218-828-1722 •

IQ Magazine - Fall 2007  

Published by the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, Minnesota, IQ Magazine boils down regional leadership issues to their very essence....