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…

NMF Board and Staff Visit Mahnomen (August Board Meeting Recap)

On August 18, 2017, the NMF Board Members and Staff traveled to Mahnomen for the quarterly board meeting and community visit. In-person board meetings are held in the cities that the board members call home on a rotating basis, and each county in the northwest region is represented. This time Pete Haddeland, current Board Chair, hosted the board meeting in his hometown of Mahnomen at the White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC). Board and Staff members arrived at WETCC at 8:30 AM for coffee and breakfast, and then boarded two vans for a tour of Mahnomen led by Michael Neusser, White Earth Economic Development Director and Mitchell Berg, Mahnomen City Administrator.
As the vans weaved through the streets of Mahnomen, NMF Board and Staff members had the opportunity to see first-hand all of the projects and initiatives that have been funded by the Foundation. Since 2013, for every $1 the city received from NMF, the city was able to leverage $1.35 from other grants and funding sour…

Peacemaker Resources Paves the Way for Lifelong Learning in the Classroom

The mission of Peacemaker Resources is to "foster communication, compassion and connection leading to respectful relationships and healthier individuals and communities" and they achieve this by bringing their social emotional learning curriculum to elementary and middle schools around the state. They were also a recipient of the NMF Quality of Place award in 2016What makes their curriculum distinctive?BarbHoug, Executive Director, says, "Its preventative approach, its relevance for children of all ages, and its lifelong impact."
The curriculum that Peacemaker Resources is bringing into schools includes a number of programs - STAR (Students Teaching Attitudes of Respect)Girls LeadCultural ResponsivenessSEL (Social Emotional Learning)Mindfulness, and Trauma Informed Practices. These programs are designed for children of all ages, races, genders and socio-economic status. SEL teaches children to recognize and understand their emotions, feel empathy, make sou…

Hallock Keeps Business Brewing

Minnesota is no stranger to the craft beer scene. Breweries continue to pop up all around the state, not just in the Twin Cities metro. Brothers Ryan and Joshua Evenson, along with their spouses, Lindsey and Ashley, opened a new microbrewery business in Hallock on February 24, 2017: Revelation Aleworks.

“It was a dream of ours for a long time,” said Ryan, “Lindsey and I lived in Oregon for about eight years. Josh and Ashley lived in Oregon too. We fell in love with craft beer. It was always a ‘someday’ dream until this building became available.”

The building is located at 146 Atlantic Avenue, the former Johnson Oil service station (circa 1939). It features an industrial design with space for the seven barrel brewing system, seating for customers, and a unique curved glass block wall. The brothers worked a lot with tools and ladders during 2016, along with many hours of planning with Lindsey and Ashley, before the building was ready for customers.

The February 24, 25 2017 grand opening q…

Argyle Residents Committed to Community Growth and Wellness

On Friday, June 23rd, 92 dedicated golfers from the Argyle area showed up amidst the chilly, windy, Minnesota weather and overcast sky to support the Argyle Parks & Recreation Fund.
This was the second annual golf tournament organized by a group of committed Argyle community volunteers that serve on the Argyle Fund Advisory Committee. Hosted at Riverside Golf Course in Stephen, MN, the tournament includes raffle prizes, games and contests along the course, and food. Golfers form teams of four and play one round of nine holes. Forty-eight Argyle area businesses stepped up to support the event by being Eagle Overall Sponsors, Clubhouse Sponsors, Hole Sponsors, and donating raffle prizes.
The Argyle Parks & Recreation fund advisory committee has been busy in the past year fervently planning events and fundraisers to expand wellness opportunities for their community. In the past year they've organized eight fundraisers ranging from a Color Run, Mother/Son dance, and a basketball…

The Watermark Art Center: Northwest Minnesota's Gateway to the Arts

Bemidji has been a regional hub for the arts for generations. Between the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, Bemidji State Music Department,  Bemidji Sculpture Walk, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and the annual Art in the Park festival, the city has integrated art into the community's pulse and made the arts accessible for people from all over the northwest region.

One of the key players keeping this area's art scene progressing and expanding is the Watermark Art Center. If you've driven through downtown Bemidji recently, you've probably noticed the old Leuken's grocery store building on the corner of 5th and Bemidji Ave (across from the Carnegie Library) is under construction. This will be the new location for the Watermark Art Center, which is temporarily housed at nearby 516 Beltrami Ave N. The project is the culmination of generous support from individual donors, foundations, and other community partners, including early support from the USDA Rural Development C…