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One Woman Shares Her Lived Experience with Homelessness

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NMF has been working with a coalition of organizations that serve those who are facing poverty and homelessness since October 2018. This group has come together to collaborate on an effort to provide more shelter and services to those who may otherwise be stuck outside to brave this extremely cold Minnesota winter. To learn more about that effort, click here.

The following story is a firsthand account from a woman whose life seemed picture perfect, until her marriage took an unfortunate turn.

We thank Sara for being brave and sharing her experience with our community. Sara's situation is not uncommon, and a great example of how homelessness can affect anyone at any time, without warning. We hope this story can begin to change the narrative around those who experience homelessness.


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I would like to start by saying I never considered that I would end up in a homeless situation in my life. 
I have always been a hard worker, and have…

NMF Facilitates Rapid Response to Homelessness in Beltrami County

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As this blog post is being written, the temperature in Bemidji is -51 with windchill in January. Each winter in northern Minnesota, we can anticipate extreme cold weather to a certain extent, but it hasn't dipped this low since 1996.

Knowing that the threat of cold temperatures would find their way back to Northwest Minnesota, NMF hosted a meeting in October of 2018 to bring together agencies, organizations, and community leaders who serve those facing poverty and homelessness. The goal was to bring these groups together to form a coalition where they can share ideas and identify needs in order to get more people out of the cold and connected to services this winter.

"We're still seeing significant numbers of homeless," Nancy Vyskocil, NMF president was quoted saying in a Bemidji Pioneer article. "We cannot afford to go into this winter as unprepared as we really are without having the additional resources we need, because we'll have deaths."











Although t…

Lois Ludwig, Red Lake Falls Teacher, Leaves a Legacy for Past and Future Students

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Take a moment to think back on your grade school days. Many of us can think of our childhood friends, our favorite classes, our least favorite classes, books that we read. We can also remember the teachers. The ones who were funny, the ones who were strict. But even more importantly, we remember the ones who made a difference in our lives and made our educational experience more than just a memory. For many students who attended Red Lake Falls schools, that teacher was Lois Ludwig.

On March 14, 2018, Lois Ludwig passed away at age 98. She was never married and had no children of her own, but she kept a number of dear friends close throughout her life. She spent of the majority of her professional career as a 4th Grade Teacher at Red Lake Falls school. When the news of her passing came, several former students reflected on their memories of Miss Ludwig:

“ Miss Ludwig was my 4th grade teacher and I became a teacher because of her. She was a very good teacher.”

“ Miss Ludwig had great penm…

NMF Holds Lunch & Learn Events Around the Region to Introduce New Programs

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Staff from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation hit the road in October to hold Lunch & Learn events in five communities around the region. The goal of these public forums was to engage with community leaders and long-time partners of the Foundation about the changes that are coming to the organization.

For those who were unable to attend, we’ve provided excerpts from the Lunch & Learn presentation to give you a better idea of what you can expect from the organization moving forward:

Our new strategic framework will take NMF boldly into the next decade and will position us to help address the many challenges facing our region. We do not do this work alone. We value all of our partners throughout the region that support the foundation and are passionate about where we live. For 15 years now—the Northwest Minnesota Foundation has worked tirelessly to transform our region into a better place to live and work. It’s what we call Quality of Place. Over the years we’ve invested to sho…

Plant, Grow and Harvest

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A Message from NMF Senior Development Officer, Dawn Ganje

I grew up on a farm, where we planted seeds each year. We were anxious to see the seedlings pop, and the fields turn beautiful and varied shades of green. We knew then the promise and potential of what was coming. It is always exciting this time of year to see the outcomes of those planted seeds in the harvest of the crops. The potential is being realized and promise of what was to come, is here!

Just as harvest is an important time around our region, sharing one’s time, talent and resources with your community is important too. Sharing resources can build the bridges necessary to address the challenges that communities face. During these times of growth, transition, and need in our region and state, there is an opportunity to plant seeds of sharing, generosity and philanthropy – so our future can be more prosperous for the generations to come.

A donor advised fund is a great way to seize this opportunity.

A donor advised fund is…

A Taste of the Philippines comes to Northwest Minnesota

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It’s a beautiful Friday in September and the Golden Sun food truck is parked on the sidewalk next to Bemidji Downtown Meats. Four people are already standing in line for food at 11:30 AM. One man is in his scrubs and has a number of to-go orders he’s bringing back to his colleagues. Two women in jeans wait for their lunch order, one who ordered beef egg rolls, one who opted for the veggie egg rolls. Inside the trailer, Renzo Alia and Dennice Permites are hard at work cooking each meal fresh to order. The couple opened Golden Sun in the spring of 2018, just in time to get in front of northern Minnesota’s hungry tourists.

Golden Sun is a one of a kind food truck that is catching many people’s attention around Bemidji and surrounding communities. They specialize in Filipino egg rolls, and a menu that rotates a variety of Filipino dishes depending on the day. “Filipino Comfort Food” is what they use to describe their offerings on the Golden Sun website. Dennice is the primary cook, and …

Circle of Vision Awards Dinner 2018

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On Monday, August 6th the newest members of NMF's Circle of Vision were recognized at the Red Lake Falls American Legion.

The Circle of Vision was established to recognize those people who see the possibilities of tomorrow; who believe in their communities, and, who have chosen to share of themselves and their resources. This award is presented in recognition for gifts of $100,000 or more made in direct support of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation or any of its component funds.

Neen Lillquist - Neen's Future in Space Scholarship Anita “Neen” Lillquist was the director of Northwest Minnesota Community Health Education Council in Bemidji in the mid-70s, advocating for and providing health education and disease prevention services. During her lifetime she was the director of Ah-Gwah-Ching State Nursing Home, director of Nursing Service at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Pakistan and then served in Katmandu, Nepal as a senior nurse administrator under the World Health Organi…