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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…

Bringing the Bed Raptor to Life

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John Szurpicki is no stranger to back breaking work. He has been in the landscaping industry for over 27 years, currently owning two businesses and working as a minister in Bemidji. At one time he managed as many as 350 properties a week. With so many homes in need of his landscaping services, time was of the essence. In 2002, Szurpicki came up with an idea to make his job a little easier; he invented the Bed Raptor.

The biggest landscaping problem in creating a garden border with bed edging is finding blades that truly work. Szurpicki realized the need for a durable bed edging blade for both residential and commercial applications. He went into his shop and designed a bed edging blade which not only cuts a clean edge, but also cultivates the soil, taking bed redefining to whole new level. The Bed Raptor blade is a unique one-of-a-kind universal laser cut accessory for tiller machine applications.

“It took a long time to find the right manufacturer, but it was worth the wait!” says Sz…

NMF Says Farewell to Spring Interns

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It was a busy Spring in the NMF office. We were lucky to have a few extra hands around to help us out, and to enhance the work we do throughout the Northwest region. Tyler Boyer was an intern in our Entrepreneur Development Program, and Kathryn was an intern with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

We enjoy having the opportunity to interact with students who come to us from area colleges and help them learn new skills that will help them in their future careers.

Tyler is a Bemidji native and he will graduate from Bemidji State University with a bachelor's degree in Economics once he completes his last class this summer. After graduation he hopes to sell his house and relocate somewhere new for a change of scenery.

Tyler said about his time at NMF, "After spending some time reviewing loan portfolios for a project I was working on, I gained some perspective on how impactful the foundation has been in creating real opportunities for local businesses and community membe…

4th Grade Class from Laporte Enjoys Field Trip to Deep Portage

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Written by: Steve Booth, 4th grade teacher at Laporte Public School

"Best ever field trip!" and "I can't wait to go back!" were some of the reactions from students after a recent overnight field trip to the Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center near Hackensack. Teachers accompanied the students along with several volunteer parents and a grandparents.

The April trip was planned last fall and archery and canoeing were originally on the schedule, but with the extension of snow and winter this season, the trip was modified to include winter survival skills and a group snow chase game.

Fourth graders were outdoors in 10 degree temperatures building shelters in small groups from natural materials and collecting combustible materials and learning the best way to build a one match fire.

Later in the day all 34 students were on the Deep Portage indoor climbing wall, challenging themselves with rock climbing skills 30 feet up, assisted by several staff who let …