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Northwest Minnesota Foundation ~ Developing Community Assets ~ Serving 12 Counties Summer 2011 ~ Number 54

Competition Winners Announced at Banquet 23,000 nonprofit grants totaling $140 million. 3,600 business loans totaling $193 million. 40,000 quality jobs secured. The past 25 years have proven that Minnesota’s homegrown experiment in philanthropy actually worked.

GrappleHoe: Jeff Sullivan and Arnold Kleinsasser

The IDEA (Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneur Acceleration) Competition is all about entrepreneurs turning their ideas into reality, recognizing some of the best and brightest ideas. IDEA announced its four 2011 winners on Tuesday, May 17 at the annual awards banquet, held on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus. Two of the winners – Craft Night Out and Grand Steer – are located in Thief River Falls. The other two winners – EquipAll GrappleHoe and LaValley Industries LLC – are located in Bemidji. Each winner received $10,000 in cash to advance their business idea, plus additional specialized technical assistance. Begun in 2008, the competition each year has showcased entrepreneurs in Northwest Minnesota who have innovative ideas to solve unique challenges that are not being served in the marketplace. To date, there have been thirteen winners awarded, with eight of the winners reaching commercialization, capturing sales dollars in the thousands to several million. The overarching themes of the judging criteria are: Innovation, Commercial Viability, Financial Attractiveness, and Entrepreneur Team. The judging panel consists of bankers, educators, business owners, engineers, entrepreneurs and (Continued on page 3)

The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations are celebrating a quarter century of partnerships and service to help Greater Minnesota communities thrive. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations were created as a philanthropic experiment by The McKnight Foundation in response to the drastic declines of the farming, logging, and mining industries in the late 1980s. The idea was to launch six independent “funds” overseen by local leaders, who would direct a unique combination of grants, business loans, and staff assistance to projects that could stimulate and diversify the struggling rural economy. Today, these six temporary funds have evolved into permanent foundations, with collective endowments of $191million and business financing assets of $55 million. They work in Minnesota’s 80 Greater Minnesota counties to make each of their regions stronger and more prosperous. Each foundation’s priorities are decided by people in its own region, with grants and loans supporting economic development; leadership development; community building; (Continued on page 4)

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation invests resources, creates opportunities and promotes philanthropy to make the region a better place to live and work.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Eric Bergeson Chair Fertile Mark Hewitt Vice-Chair Park Rapids Kim Wilson Secretary Fosston Gary Purath Treasurer Red Lake Falls Faye Auchenpaugh Thief River Falls Robert Hager Greenbush Jody Horntvedt Baudette Roger Malm Hallock Leah Pigatti Park Rapids Jon Quistgaard Bemidji Judy Roy Redby Laurie Wilson Crookston


Message from the President

The IDEA competition is a showcase for entrepreneurs. We celebrate their achievements and honor those who are leaving a legacy with the IDEA Hall of Fame. Not so long ago, innovators were admired, and schoolchildren learned the names of the great inventors alongside

IDEA Hall of Fame IDEA Competition partners inducted brothers Dennis Brazier and Glen Brazier into the IDEA Hall of Fame at the IDEA Banquet. The IDEA Hall of Fame was instituted in 2009 by IDEA Competition partners to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the region’s legacy innovators—those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement. The IDEA Hall of Fame includes two other inductees: Andy Wells of Wells Technology in Bemidji, and Edgar Hetteen, founder of Polaris and Arctic Cat. Growing up on a small farm in Northwest Minnesota, the Brazier brothers have definitely made their mark; Glen as the founder of MATTRACKS, and Dennis as the founder of Central Boiler. The farm was fertile soil – not just for growing crops, but also for growing ideas. The farm’s machine

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Nancy Vyskocil

the names of prominent statesmen. Today, people idolize athletes and celebrities — and yes, highly successful and visionary business people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but not the innovators who perhaps have not seen such high-flying levels of success. Can anyone name the inventor of GPS, which has such a huge impact on our lives today? (It’s Roger Easton.)

(see article below) surely is a case of both. Farmers adapt their farming systems as conditions and needs change. They try out new ideas they have seen or heard about from other farmers, visitors or extension agents, put their own ideas into practice and sometimes work on innovations that have arisen “by accident”. Innovations often arise out of necessity, others are born of curiosity.

Entrepreneurship has brought benefits for the region’s economy, which has long been distinguished by a culture of innovation. It has also become a major source of jobs for local residents. Is innovation in our nature or is it nurtured? The example of the Brazier brothers,

We need our own Northwest Minnesota “mobilization” for entrepreneurship and innovators — one that provides both the practical and inspirational support that will attract talent to bring and grow their ideas here, and will help our homegrown talent thrive.

shop was a great place for the boys to dream, tinker, and create. When the brothers left home and started families of their own, the creativity did not stop. Glen Brazier’s 11-yearold son Matt drew a sketch of a truck that had tracks (L – R) Dennis Brazier, NMF Pres. Nancy Vyskocil, Glen Brazier instead of tires. The “entrepreneur invenbegan one cold winter, when he detor” took his son’s sketch and turned it signed his first wood stove, laying it out into MATTRACKS, a company that on his kitchen floor with nothing more occupies a 100,000 square foot facility than a tape measure and some tape. in Karlstad, Minnesota with products The 1984 design became the predecessold in over 45 international markets. sor to what is now known as Central Glen holds many patents and has Boiler’s “Classic.” The business, started involved himself in the development in a farm machine shop, grew to ocand manufacture of many products in cupy a state-of-the-art 240,000 square addition to the MATTRACKS track foot facility in Greenbush, Minnesota. systems for 4-wheel drive vehicles. They now ship products to hundreds of dealers located throughout the United Dennis Brazier’s entrepreneurial story States, Canada, and other countries.

Northwest Minnesota Foundation


IDEA Competition Banquet (Continued from page 1)

economic development leaders in the region. The submission of applications and business plans are done electronically and disbursed to the judging panel. In addition, the panel meets after each round to discuss the scoring and provide comments to applicants. Throughout the first two rounds of judging, two full days of boot camp are held to train on writing a business plan, market research, intellectual property, presentation skills, and financial statements. There are also various other sources of assistance for applicants from regional small business support centers. The winners and finalists are announced and celebrated at the Awards Banquet where up to five winners receive $10,000 cash and technical assistance for up to two years on individual business development and commercialization of their product. The technical assistance is provided by a Program Specialist-Business Development at NMF; the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Minnesota, Crookston; and the Northwest Small Business Development Center. Project Coordinator Michelle Landsverk was very pleased with the results

of the competition. “To have winners of this caliber is very rewarding to those of us who have taken this competition from concept to reality,” Landsverk said. “The 2011 competition may be over, but the 2012 competition opens again in September of this year. We encourage Northwest Minnesota innovators to consider entering the next round of competition.” Craft Night Out (CNO) is owned by Kristine Goddard-Anderson and Elizabeth Petersen. Their innovative business model brings the joy of crafting to the home-party setting, turning the home-party sales model on its head. It eliminates in-home sales and instead, creates a pre-party, web-based sales model. Complete craft kits, preselected by each guest, will be shipped direct to the party hostess with all the supplies needed to create the projects together at the craft party. Kits can also be purchased for individual use. Craft Night Out takes the focus off the sales pitch and gives women more time for fun, creativity and connection with friends. Grand Steer owners Fred Hartmann, Chuck Odegaard, and Al Aaseby have developed the Turn@bout, an add-on piece of equipment for pallet jacks that greatly enhances their function and

Craft Night Out: (L – R) Loan Officer Boone Caughey, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corp.; Kristine Goddard-Anderson; Elizabeth Petersen

Working through the stages of the IDEA competition was a great boost to the development of Craft Night Out. With each round of the competition we were able to focus our plans and gain valuable feedback from the judges. If we had not started this process our business plan would not be as complete and market ready as we are now. We are so excited to have won the cash award, but we are even more anxious to work with the experienced business professionals and to access the business development resources throughout the next year.

Craft Night Out

The IDEA competition has given us additional exposure to the market. Regardless of if we won or not, the experience of doing the business plan and thinking through the details got us on the right track. When we find ourselves getting too close to the product, it is helpful to get an outside perspective to question what we may be missing. The technical assistance is invaluable.

” “ Turn@bout

Every business that starts should have to go through the business planning process that is required in the IDEA competition. The professional advice from the judging panel and additional technical assistance forces you to sharpen your skills to see the big picture and look at every detail. Not to mention, winning the $10,000 was a big help! The whole process is awesome! EquipAll

(Continued on page 5)

Turnabout: (L – R) UMC Chancellor Chuck Casey, Chuck Odegaard, Al Aaseby, Fred Hartmann

Developing Community Assets - Serving 12 Counties

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New Board Member Leah Pigatti Joins NMF Board of Directors Leah Pigatti of Park Rapids, Minnesota was elected in June 2011 to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) Board of Directors. Pigatti is the executive director of Mahube Community Council, Inc., a community action agency, where she works with an 18 member Board of Directors representing elected public officials, private enterprise and low income constituents. She also is an adjunct faculty member at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, teaching Research Methods and Educational Psychology to graduate students enrolled in the College of Education and Human Services. Pigatti received a Ph.D. in Human Development from North Dakota State University in 2007, studied manage-

MIF (Continued from page 1)

children, youth, families, and older adults; environmental issues; workforce development, and more. “The Minnesota Initiative Foundations hit the ground running in 1986, and they haven’t slowed down. Every year, they forge dynamic new collaborations and help define the spirits of giving, of innovation, and of engagement that are hallmarks of our state. They stand collectively among The McKnight Foundation’s proudest and farthest reaching legacies — both for the progress they have made and for the promises they hold,” stated Kate Wolford, president of The McKnight Foundation. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations promote economic and community

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ment at the Anderson Graduate School of Management and was a Johnson & Johnson Business Management Fellow at the Advanced Management Institute, both in California. At Bemidji State University, she earned a Master’s in Applied Behavioral Science and a Bachelor’s in Community Service. Pigatti actively investigates the needs of people in northern Minnesota and accesses funding to assist them in becoming self-reliant. In a compassionate, fair and selfless manner, she has managed many programs that support issues important to low income people. At Mahube, she oversees a staff of 100 and a $16 million budget. NMF Board Chair Eric Bergeson commented that Leah is well known for her commitment to low income individuals and families, promoting education, job training and employment to assist them to improve their lives. “Working with community leaders, she development; build the leadership and planning capacity of local communities; coordinate and leverage resources; and stimulate local giving throughout Greater Minnesota. Today, these organizations are recognized not only in Minnesota, but also across the nation for their significant accomplishments in building strong and sustainable rural communities. Nancy Vyskocil, Northwest Minnesota Foundation president, says the organization has been flexible and responsive in meeting the region’s economic challenges and during emergencies such as the devastating floods that occurred in 1997 and in 2002. “The flood disasters encouraged communities to build their own endowment funds through the foundation as sources of permanent

Northwest Minnesota Foundation

has helped to develop a strong foundation for early childhood and parent education,” Bergeson said. “She has touched the lives of hundreds of families and assisted others to do the same. In her dedication to meeting the needs of families, she administers a number of programs designed to support low income and elderly residents through Head Start, Child Care Resource & Referral, Crisis Child Care, Energy Assistance, and Weatherization, among others,” he added. “I have been a supporter of the excellent work of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation since its inception,” Pigatti said. “I especially appreciate the emphasis on Quality of Place and awareness of the ‘culture of our communities’ in northwestern Minnesota.” Pigatti has lived on Little Sand Lake outside of Park Rapids since 1972 with her husband Tim. They have one daughter, Tina, who lives in Manassas, VA and one grandson. revenue,” Vyskocil said. “We have been able to help small towns and donors achieve charitable goals as they support their favorite causes. Our 300 component funds have built endowments of nearly $12 million, funding community projects, helping schools, agencies and nonprofits through their own impactful grant making. We are proud to partner with so many dedicated community fund advisors and donors.” To celebrate this 25th anniversary, The McKnight Foundation invited three independent photographers, and five of Minnesota’s best thinkers to explore the MIFs’ legacy. Through images and personal essays, we document real-life stories of the people who inhabit the state’s past, present and future. Visit GreaterMinnesota.net/25years.


NMF Training Program - Spring Workshops NMF held a two-part workshop entitled Positive and Productive Communication. The sessions were attended by 89 people in Bemidji and Warroad (top photo).

These highly interactive workshops focused on the awareness that conflict arises due to unmet needs and offers strategies to move from judging, defending and blaming, to understanding yourself and others.

An introduction to polarity thinking was held by NMF in Bemidji for 61 participants. Polarity Management concepts were taught by Robert “Jake” Jacobs (right bottom photo) and Cliff Kayser, which help to distinguish problems that can be solved from those issues that are actually polarities, which need to be managed. Two NMF staff will soon be Licensed Polarity Management consultants.

IDEA Competition Banquet (Continued from page 3)

for digging and trenching. This single, unique tool can be used for stump removal, septic systems, demolition, burn piles, log handling, rocks, concrete and asphalt chunks, grub rake, fence post removal, hay bales, riprap, water lines, foundation footings, trenching electric cables, water lines to eight feet deep, and much more.

LaValley: (L – R) Pres. Jim Snyder, Bremer Bank Crookston; Jason LaValley; Jorge Prince

maneuverability. On its own, a pallet jack can be difficult and time consuming to maneuver into position without kicking or lifting the front of the jack, but with a set of Turn@bout’s installed, the turning radius is cut in half, eliminating most handling difficulties, wasted time and safety issues. The EquipAll GrappleHoe, owned by Jeff Sullivan and Arnold Kleinsasser, is described as very likely the most useful multi-purpose tool you can put on a skidsteer. The EquipAll GrappleHoe offers a unique combination of two of the most common attachments: the grapple for grabbing and carrying, and the backhoe

LaValley Industries LLC, owned by Jason LaValley, Jorge Prince and Roger LaValley, has designed the PIPEMATE, which will work in conjunction with an automatic welding unit to dramatically improve both the speed and safety of the tie-in welding process for the pipeline industry. It is anticipated that the automated process of the PIPEMATE will cut the time spent on the tie-in process by 75%, while removing all field personnel from the dangerous work in the trenches. It is also expected to lower labor costs by reducing the need for at least two field workers in any tie-in process. The IDEA Hall of Fame added two Northwest Minnesota innovators: Glen Brazier, founder of MATTRACKS, and Dennis Brazier, founder of Central Boiler, were inducted at the banquet. The IDEA Hall

of Fame was established to recognize the accomplishments of the region’s legacy innovators—those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement. For more information, visit the IDEA website: www.ideacompetition.org.

No matter how well you might know your idea or your business plan, the IDEA competition process really helps you flush out all the little details that you may have overlooked. We really understood the value of the process from last year and that was one of the major reasons that we entered this year’s competition. It feels great to be a two time IDEA winner but it’s even better knowing that we have given our newest product the highest possible chance for success. LaValley Industries

The IDEA Competition is a project of Ingenuity Frontier, a collaboration of partners joined by a common purpose - to grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace. IDEA sponsors are Bremer Banks of Crookston and Warren, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, University of Minnesota, Crookston, 360º Center for Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, and the Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center.  IDEA was made possible through a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation.

Developing Community Assets - Serving 12 Counties

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Grants Grants totaling $433,480 were awarded from March – June 2011 Caring Communities Total: $25,000 Children, Family & Elderly Red Lake Teen Parent Support..........................$25,000 Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota

Community Connections Total: $25,000

Badger Area Community Fund Badger Veteran’s Memorial Fund City of Badger........................................................$4,500

For Monument

Bagley Early Childhood Initiative Fund WeeCare Early Learning Center.................................$1,500 For Program Mentor

Children, Family & Elderly

Bemidji Area Arts Endowment & Project Fund

Bemidji Palliative Care Initiative.......................$25,000 Northwest Regional Development Commission

Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc......................$1,000 For Bemidji First City of Arts Studio Cruise 2011

Community Planning Total: $5,700

Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc..........................$350 For Spoken Word Series

Economic & Community Development City of Park Rapids.............................................$3,000

Park Rapids/Hubbard County Regional Area Economic Development Planning

Fertile Economic Development Authority..........$2,700 For Fertile Assisted Living

Healthy Lakes & Rivers Partnership Program Hubbard County Soil & Water Conservation.....$2,460

For Aquatic Vegetation Survey of Long Lake

Natural Resources Total: $23,000

Bemidji State University..............................................$850 Honorariums for Asako Hirabayashi and Dr. Erika Svanoe Clear Waters Life Center..........................................$1,000 For Sculpture Workshop and Sculpture Minnesota Folklore Theater.......................................$1,000 For The Marriage of Figaro

Ernie Rall Children’s Performing Arts Fund Headwaters School of Music & Arts, Inc........................$500 For 4 Day Children’s Drama Camp

Promotion & Preservation Initiative Foundation..........................................$2,000

Frederick Marshall Fund Headwaters School of Music & Arts, Inc.....................$1,395

New Technologies AURI.................................................................$21,000

H.B. and Ina T. Roholt Family Fund for the Arts Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc..........................$500

For River Partnership

For Increasing Biomass Yield and Economic Efficiency of

For Art Hanging System and Shades for Exhibit Room

For Spoken Word Series

Herbaceous Energy Crops in NW Minnesota

North Star Arts Fund

IDEA Competition Total: $40,000

Headwaters School of Music & Arts, Inc.....................$1,695 For Arts Programming for Disabled Adults

IDEA Awards Grand Steer Inc.................................................$10,000 Kristine Goddard Anderson..............................$10,000 LaValley Industries, LLC...................................$10,000 NID...................................................................$10,000 Component funds are established with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation for a specific purpose. A donor or group of donors helps to build a permanent endowment from which interest earnings are used to fund projects, programs or activities and/or scholarships that support the mission of the fund. A local fund advisory committee recommends distribution s based on specific purposes and criteria. The NMF board, for purposes of IRS regulation, approves the advisory recommendations for grants, but the component funds are the source of the grant dollars.

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Component Fund Total: $307,530

Northwest Minnesota Foundation

Richard and Pam Nelson Family Fund for the Visual Arts Headwaters School of Music & Arts, Inc........................$500 For Business Skills for Artists

Bemidji Area Early Childhood Initiative Fund Bemidji Public Library................................................$500 For Fathers Reading Every Day

Bemidji Area Public Library Foundation Endowment and Project Fund Hazel I Shimmin Endowment Fund Bemidji Public Library.............................................$1,900 For Book Club in a Bag


Ruth Stenerson Project Support Fund Bemidji Public Library...........................................$100 For Book Club in a Bag

Bemidji Lumberjack Foundation Fund Bemidji All School Reunion Fund Bemidji Area Schools Dist #31..................................$5,000 For All School Reunion Grants 2011-2012 Clearwater Health Care Fund Clearwater Hospice Fund Clearwater County Hospice, Inc................................$6,140 For Hospice Care and Training

Clearwater Senior Care Fund Clearwater County Nursing Service............................$1,200 For Senior Diabetes Prevention Outreach

Crookston Area Community Fund Crookston Arena Fund City of Crookston.............................................. $150,800 Crookston Early Childhood Initiative Fund Crookston ECI (2)..................................................$2,000 Crookston Park & Recreation....................................$9,882 Crookston School Dist #593........................................$320 Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc..............................$300 Fertile-Beltrami Early Childhood Initiative Fund Fertile-Beltrami Public School (2).............................$1,250 Greenbush Area Community Fund City of Greenbush.................................................$1,725 Greenbush-Middle River School Dist #2683 (2).....$1,000 Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Fund Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.................$450 HRDC Leadership Fund HRDC Successful Communities Challenge Fund Beltrami County.....................................................$6,500 Lake of the Wood County........................................$3,500 Lake of the Woods Early Childhood Initiative Fund Lake of the Woods School Dist (4)............................$7,000 Laporte Education Endowment and Project Fund Laporte School District #306......................................$500 LOW County Humane Society Lake of the Woods Humane Society........................$10,000 Marshall County Early Childhood Initiative Fund Greenbush Middle River School..................................$150 Stephen/Argyle School (2)........................................$9,000 Marshall County Central School Dist #441................$2,250 Northwest Minnesota Women’s Fund Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area.......................$2,500 For Equipping Girls for Leadership

Mahube Community Council, Inc.............................$2,500 For Family, Friend and Neighbor Provider School Readiness Training Project

Ole and Ruth Tweet Family Fund City of Thief River Falls...........................................$2,000 Open Arms Christian Fellowship.................................$500 Park Rapids Area Community Fund Friends of the Headwaters Animal Shelter Endowment Fund Headwaters Animal Shelter.......................................$5,000 Positively Park Rapids Fund City of Park Rapids..................................................$5,172 Park Rapids Revolving Loan Fund City of Park Rapids................................................$10,000 Ruth Edevold Awards for Excellence Ruth Edevold Endowment for Excellence Northern Dental Access Center.................................$2,000 Support Your Troops United Together Veterans & Families ............................$751 Thief River Falls Early Childhood Initiative Fund Thief River Falls School Dist #564................................$100 Warroad Area Community Fund Warroad Swim Program Fund Warroad Independent School District #690...............$40,000

Scholarship Funds Total: $7,250 Bemidji Lumberjack Foundation Fund General Scholarship Fund (3)....................................$1,250 Fosston Area Community Fund Dean Clementson Scholarship Fund.............................$150 Laporte Education Endowment and Project Fund........................................................$250 Leonard J. Kucera Memorial Scholarship Fund.........$400 Mahnomen Education Endowment and Project Fund Leslie Hanson Scholarship Fund...................................$250 Mahnomen Education Endowment and Project Fund (3)...................................................$650 Red Lake Falls Education Endowment and Project Fund Kyle A. Myhre Memorial Fund.....................................$500 Roseau Area Community Fund Malung PTO Scholarship Fund....................................$250 Roseau Lions Club Scholarship Fund............................$250 Warroad Area Community Fund Gaylord A. Gunderson Education and Scholarship Fund (3)..........................................$3,000 Jennifer Grove Memorial Scholarship Fund....................$300 Developing Community Assets - Serving 12 Counties

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NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. Postage PAID Bemidji, MN 56601 Permit No. 36

4225 Technology Drive NW Bemidji, MN 56601

Contact us: 218-759-2057 • 800-659-7859 • info@nwmf.org

Upcoming Events July 27 Grantseeking for Beginners Sanford Events Center, Bemidji 9:00 am to 3:30 pm August 8 Early Childhood Education Bemidji and Thief River Falls Pre K-3 Alignment Summit 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

LeaderImpact Participants must be available to attend both Session I and Session II.   Session I: October 5– 7, 2011 Session II: January 25 (begins at 5:30pm) – January 27, 2012 (ending at 4:00pm)

For more information, forms, or to register, visit

www.nwmf.org

Summer Resource 2011  

NWMF Summer Resource 2011

Summer Resource 2011  

NWMF Summer Resource 2011