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Michelle Landsverk receives the 2019 Regional Impact Award

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Michelle Landsverk grew up on a farm where her Dad made it clear that the girls could do any work that the boys were doing, and that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. She had an innate entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, “Farmers are natural entrepreneurs – they’re the biggest risk takers out there,” she said.

Born in Mahnomen, MN, Landsverk has always loved living and working in Northwest Minnesota. She attended Concordia College in Moorhead where she received a degree in English Writing. When she had an opportunity to leave Minnesota and venture off somewhere new, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. “I just thought about it for a long time and came to the conclusion that this region is where I’m meant to be. It’s who I am,” she said.

From 1991 to 2001, she was a partner in a retail business in Fosston. From 2001 to 2005, she took a position as Director of the Minnesota Women’s Business Center, where she worked with women entrepreneurs. In 2005, she lau…

Mahnomen Youth Pay It Forward

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Everyone knows that today’s youth are the future, and based on the compassion and talent that Mahnomen area youth have displayed, Northwest Minnesota’s future is in good hands.

The Mahnomen Area Community Fund (MACF) held its first annual Pay It Forward fundraising event on the evening of April 24, 2019. This event was an opportunity for the 2019 grant recipients to showcase the work they did in the community with the support of the Mahnomen Area Community Fund. The evening included a social hour, dinner, program, and award ceremony. Tina Starkey and Pete Haddeland were recognized for their volunteer contributions to the Mahnomen Community.

The Native American Youth Council received $500 for their Mitten Tree project. The youth that were involved collected mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves and made them available to any community members who were in need of warm clothes to get them through the harsh winter we experienced this year. The Council also provided and served the meal at th…

Elite Additive Offers Innovative Solutions to Streamline Manufacturing Processes

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Manufacturing is an industry that has seen a major boost across the United States in the past decade. According to the 2018 Minnesota State of Manufacturing survey results, 65% of manufacturers statewide are anticipating an economic expansion in the coming year. Northwest Minnesota is home to a number of major manufacturing companies, such as Polaris, Marvin Windows and Doors, AirCorp Aviation and many more. One young entrepreneur with years of industry experience has decided to join the ranks and bring his new manufacturing company to the region – Mike Block, Principal and Founder of Elite Additive.

Block was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He attended Bemidji State University (BSU) and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Design Technology with an emphasis in model design. “I always had an interest in designing new or improving current products and how we bring those to market, and the Design Technology program was the first in the nation to have a program that exposed me…

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…