Super Bowl LII Leaves A Legacy for Northwest Minnesota

Minneapolis was a focal point for thousands of fans, celebrities, and media from all over the country during the Super Bowl LII activities. Nicollet Mall was lit up with vendors, kids’ activities, concerts and special appearances. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport saw record numbers of flights coming in and out of the city. But the Super Bowl had a greater impact on our state than just a week of economic boom for the metro.

The Super Bowl Legacy Fund is a 501C3, community advised fund of the Minnesota Community Foundation. Working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and based on the recommendations of SHIP’s community health boards, the Legacy Fund provided 52 grants to 52 community projects across the state over the 52 weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII. The work of the Legacy Fund is made possible by Minnesota’s philanthropic community, including foundations, corporations, and individual donors. The Northwest Minnesota…

Bemidji Woman Finds Success Opening Her Own Business

Hannah Anderson grew up believing that if you work hard enough, all things are possible. Watching her father, a woodworker, craft beautiful things (sometimes after much trial and error) instilled in her the importance of cultivating resilience and a strong work ethic.

In the summer of 2016, Hannah and her boyfriend Jordan found themselves with invitations to eight weddings. With all the hustle and bustle of summer, Hannah and Jordan struggled to find just the right gifts for their cherished friends. "We were just running around looking for last-minute gifts, and it was hard to pick out something personal, or something that reflected the couples and their unique relationships," Jordan said.

Hannah, a professional graphic designer, decided to take gifting into her own hands from then on out. Her creativity had led her to a career working for a number of advertising and marketing companies around the Bemidji area, but she felt like she had not yet reached her full potential.…

NMF Supports Mobile Produce Drop Service

The North Country Food Bank has been providing food to local food shelves since 1983. When they first got started, the concept was simple – capture surplus food from the USDA, food manufacturers, grocery retail outlets and farmers to feed hungry people. They can capture donations that are too large for local agencies to handle. Today, North Country distributes food to over 230 charitable organizations on an annual basis. North Country’s service area covers 21 counties in northwest and west central Minnesota and part of Grand Forks, North Dakota. North Country is a member of Feeding America. Most of North Country’s member agencies receive 70 to 90 percent of all the food they distribute from North Country. Their staff consists of 11 full-time paid staff, one part-time paid staff, and more than 1,200 volunteers. They are able to do a lot with a little; last year they distributed 8,096,056 million pounds of food – which is the equivalent of 6,746,713 meals! 

NMF recently awarded North C…

Bemidji's Newest Destination for the Outdoors

It’s no secret that our region is a destination for the outdoors. Our diverse landscapes, countless bodies of water, and access to public lands makes Northwest Minnesota ideal for sportsmen and sportswomen alike.
Erik Jacobson is a Bemidji native who grew up the way many of us did – with a love for all things outdoors. An avid hunter and fisherman, Jacobson always wanted to turn his passion into a lifelong career. With the exception of a few retailers dispersed around the area – Reed’s, Gander Mountain (now closed), L & M Fleet, there are very few locally owned, outdoor specialty stores. Seeing this niche as a major opportunity, Jacobson and his friend Aaron Templin came up with Destination Sporting Goods (DSG).

“We cater to the outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re looking for the best equipment or the right advice, you’ll want to shop at Destination Sporting Goods,” it says on the store’s Facebook page. Their main product offering will include fishing & archery along with a wid…

NMF Working to Address the Region's Child Care Needs

Ensuring families have access to quality child care is a high priority task for NMF.

Our region has the third largest deficit for child care needs in the state. We are faced with 41% of families not having access to child care spots for their children. This means 41% of families are struggling to find safe and affordable child care for their children so they can go to work.

The Center for Rural Policy and Development recently published a fact sheet that provides insight on this issue. The main barriers that they pointed out were the following:

Until more can be done to increase wages and/or profits for both center and family providers, the child care shortage will continueLow pay for workforce makes recruitment and retention a major hurdle.Providers feel they can't raise rates because parents can't afford to pay more. Under this scenario, providers can't make a profit or be sustainable.The high startup costs make for very high barriers to entry for the average provider.The v…

10th Annual IDEA Competition: Kick-off Party in Bemidji

On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, the Launch Pad hosted a kick-off party for the 10th Annual IDEA Competition. This open house was an opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the IDEA Competition to hear from staff and past winners about the process and what to expect when participating in the competition for the first time.

IDEA is a competition that turns great ideas into great businesses. The competition provides training, business coaching, and capital to entrepreneurs who apply and want to turn an idea into a fast-growth business.

While most entrepreneurs enter to win one of three $10,000 cash awards, there are several other good reasons to enter. Applicants receive valuable tools and business development resources, a business coach, open access to all IDEA Labs, attention in the media, and a chance to present their idea to accredited angel investors and business leaders. Plus, there is a chance to win valuable services from accounting, legal, and marketing profession…

It Takes A Village: Clear Waters Life Center Starts Mentoring Program for Area Youth

As you walk into the old Clearbrook School building, you may hear the sound of volunteers rustling in the thrift store as they work to sort out the mounds of clothing donations they receive from area residents. You'll notice the large, colorful sign above the stairs that says "Youth Connection", which will lead you down to the area designated for a weekly after-school program. As you walk through the halls, you'll pass by a dozen friendly faces of staff who are working fervently to keep a number of programs up and running that are offered by Clear Waters Life Center (CWLC).

In addition to the thrift store and Youth Connection program, CWLC also offers a garden center, furniture shop, adult day services, support groups, art studios, a full-size gym and fitness center, and a men's residential program. Since 2008, CWLC has been led by dedicated staff and continues to work around the clock to create community partnerships and ensure that residents in the Clearbrook-G…