Bringing the Bed Raptor to Life

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

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

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 …

Incarcerated Women Receive Doula Services in Beltrami County

Each woman experiences pregnancy differently. It’s a time of physiological changes and months of anticipation, planning, and preparation. However, for women who are serving time behind bars, it can be a very isolating experience. There is a stigma around women who have been convicted of crimes, and their needs are often overlooked while they are serving a sentence. Luckily, women of the Minnesota Prison Doula Project are here to advocate for and support this underserved population.

The Minnesota Prison Doula Project started in 2008 with a mission to provide pregnancy and parenting support for incarcerated women. Trained doulas provide birth support as well as group-based and individual education to pregnant women and mothers. The goal is to nurture healthy mother-child relationships and increase parenting confidence and skills. Currently the project is operating in seven facilities in Minnesota. They have been working under the University of Minnesota Foundation, but will soon be lau…

Impact 20/20: Day at the Capitol 2018

Members of IMPACT 20/20 recently spent the day at the State Capitol engaging lawmakers about the issues impacting economic prosperity and growth in Northwest Minnesota.

IMPACT 20/20 is an influential group of Northwest Minnesota leaders representing diverse interests and working together for the region’s economic success. Established in 2008, IMPACT 20/20 members have worked collaboratively to improve economic conditions in the region by focusing on four key areas: education, workforce, broadband, and housing. The goal of the visit was to highlight issues in these key areas and offer legislative solutions to help grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota.

IMPACT 20/20 raised awareness and discussed policy statements around access to high speed broadband and its importance in rural communities, the critical shortage of child care in our region and the impact it is having on families and employers, ideas to spur workforce and affordable housing projects in our region, and ideas to provid…

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.…