Showing posts from 2011

Betty Arvidson, Barbara Muesing are 'Outstanding Community Builders'

The Northwest Minnesota Women’s Fund has announced the recipients of the 2011 regional Outstanding Community Builder Awards, and they are Betty Arvidson of Crookston and Barbara Muesing of Crookston, Lengby and Fosston. The third recipient this year is Becky Dorman of Clearbrook, Minnesota.

Outstanding Community Builder Awards are presented to women who have demonstrated leadership in improving their communities in their chosen professions, as volunteers, mentors, and in raising or supporting families.

Read more about the awards and women Betty Arvidson, Barb Muesing are 'Outstanding Community Builders'

IQ Mighty Mississippi Issue

People around the world can identify the Mississippi River on a map. Many of us drive past or over it every day. School children can actually spell it. So, if the Mighty Mississippi starts right here in Minnesota, why doesn't it float on our minds more often?

Partnering with foundations across the state, this special statewide issue of IQ Magazine examines the past, present and future of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.


Jobs, population discussed during northwest Minnesota summit

In the midst of a struggling statewide economy, the community of Thief River Falls has a problem other Minnesota cities might wish they had.

Read more here from the Grand Forks Herald

Grant Kicks Off "Active Hubbard County" Campaign

NMF recently awarded a grant for $15,000 for the “Active Hubbard County” Project. The Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) will be leading a new “Active Living Campaign” that will include all of Hubbard County. The HRDC envisions its entire region, including Hubbard County, as a place where all modes of transportation are respected, the area is recognized as being safe and healthy, physical activity is common and accessible, travel corridors have strong connection points, and home to school routes are safe for all children. To help this vision become a reality, the HRDC will lead a planning process that will include a wide variety of partners from throughout Hubbard County, building upon the successes already achieved through the Healthy Park Rapids Area 2020 project. Specific work program items will include:developing a strong partnership from all communities in the County; maintaining and sustaining the partnership; developing and prioritizing strategies; beginning impleme…

Digi-Key company: Keyed for growth

Thief River Falls, Minn.-based Digi-Key Corp. was hit with a wave of new orders shortly after the deadly tsunami hit the Japanese coast in March. Anticipated shortages of the electronic components that Digi-Key distributes worldwide led to a big spike in orders for the local company as international customers, worried about the availability of electronic components manufactured in Japan, stockpiled supplies.
Read more

Crookston visioning effort needs 'civic stewards'

Check out this link - Crookston Times Editor Mike Christopherson covered the NMF meeting to kick off the Sustaining Community Success program.

Community Resource Connections Receives Grant

“Beyond the Senior Annual Check-Up” Program
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors recently awarded a grant for $24,000 to support Community Resource Connections (CRC) in developing and piloting a screening and follow-up tool with senior citizens struggling to navigate the services and complications of Medicare systems.
CRC is planning to conduct a limited pilot project in the Blackduck area during the next year.Following development of the various screening assessments, the Blackduck Service Center will work with about 30 seniors/couples to screen for services, provide case management services, make referrals, and conduct follow up with both clients and service providers.
CRC believes that having this type of screening available will reduce the demands upon local service providers to determine eligibility for services, and free up more time to actually provide and organize the services, thus saving time and money.
CRC Executive Director Ruth Sherman said, “This is a new a…

Your input wanted as Crookston visioning effort launches

It's been several years since members of the Crookston community were invited to sit down together and try to hash out a path for the town's future that most people think is a wise one, so the timing would seem to be especially appropriate for the "Community Stewardship Initiative" to launch.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Dynasties are easy to discuss but a lot harder to achieve.

Take a look around Minnesota’s high school football scene since Stephen-Argyle won a state-record 77 consecutive games with five straight state championships from 2003 to 2008.

The streak is one of the state’s greatest dynasties in any sport. No other Minnesota school has come close to replicating it.

With the Minnesota high school football season opening this week, The Forum looks back on Stephen-Argyle’s run by posing this question: Can dynasties like Stephen-Argyle’s continue to exist today?

Read on here:

IDEA Competition Accepting Applications September 1

Beginning September 1, the IDEA Competition will begin accepting applications for what will be its fourth year. Since the competition began, over $200,000 in funding has been awarded and ten of the winners have already brought their product to market.

Participants receive access to valuable tools and resources, the opportunity to refine their investor pitch, attention in the media, a chance to pitch their idea to qualified potential investors and leaders in the business community, and a chance to receive substantial funding for their venture, including individual cash awards of $10,000 each, for up to five winners.

2011 IDEA winners had this to say about the competition:

“No matter how well you might know your idea or your business plan, the IDEA competition process really helps you flush out all the little details that you may have overlooked. We really understood the value of the process from last year and that was one of the major reasons that we entered this year’s competiti…

Agassiz Audubon Society nature center begins a new chapter

Formerly known as the Wetlands, Pines and Prairie Audubon Sanctuary, the 640-acre site donated over several years by centenarian Eldor Omdahl is in the midst of a rebranding that better reflects the region, the habitat and what the center offers. New manager Heidi Hughes has been on the job since June 1.

This sanctuary has been supported through a component fund with Northwest Minnesota Foundation since 1997.

Read the article here:

Early Childhood Initiative Coodinators Attend Regional Meeting

The annual meeting of the ECI community coordinators was held on Tuesday, July 26th at the home of Lin Backstrom, the ECI program manager.

The group gets together each summer to network and share projects from their community coalitions. It also provides an opportunity for Backstrom to personally thank the coordinators and show NMF's appreciation for all that they do on behalf of the region's youngest citizens.

NMF Program Officer Jim Steenerson presented grant opportunities for capacity-building in ECI coalitions.
Each ECI coordinator talked about current and future projects from her community coalition's work for young children and their families.

Resource sharing, networking among coordinators and planning for future regional meetings followed. New coordinators from Crookston, Naytahwaush, Park Rapids, and Thief River Falls were also introduced.


Donor Appreciation Reception Held July 20th

The NMF Board of Directors and staff hosted a donor appreciation reception at the Inn at Maple Crossing in Mentor on Thursday, July 20th. Among the guests were original board members Tom Jorgens and Barbara Muesing, Circle of Vision recipients Mary and Robert Johnson and former board member Mary Beth Sargeant. Jay and Lin Backstrom were welcomed as new Circle of Vision recipients along with four other families. Eric and Joe Bergeson entertained at the gathering.

Former NMF Board Members Barbara Muesing, Tom Jorgens
Musical entertainers Eric and Joe Bergeson
(l-r)NMF Pres.Nancy Vyskocil, Jay and Lin Backstrom, NMF Board Chair Eric Bergeson
(l-r) NMF Staff Amy Tobkin, Barb Lien, LaRae Maddox
(l-r)  NMF President Nancy Vyskocil, NMF Board Members Laurie Wilson and Kim Wilson
(l-r) Jay and lin Backstrom, Ritch Houge, Jon Quistgaard, Mary and Robert Johnson

NMF Staff Participate in Women Build Habitat for Humanity project

NMF staff spent a day working on the Women Build project in Bemidji. L-R Amy Tobkin, Diane Morey, Nancy Vyskocil, LaRae Maddox, Caryl Turnow
Women Build is a Habitat for Humanity International program that encourages women to make a difference by building homes and communities. Women Build provides an environment in which women can feel comfortable learning construction skills they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. Habitat affiliates nurture, recruit and train women to build and maintain decent, healthy and affordable homes. Women Build is about more than women building homes. It is about women making a commitment to their communities by making affordable housing a matter of conscience and action. Women not only provide the labor to build the home, they raise the funds necessary to purchase material that is not donated.


Award Honors the Legacy of Nancy Latimer by Recognizing Extraordinary Leadership in Improving the Well-Being of Young Children
The Minnesota Early Childhood Funders Network, a network of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, announced that its Fifth Annual “Nancy” Awards to recognize extraordinary leadership in improving the well-being of young children will go to the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs), serving geographic regions throughout Greater Minnesota. The awards will be presented to the Initiative Foundation, Northland Foundation, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation, and West Central Initiative during a presentation at the Nancy Latimer Convening for Children and Youth on June 29 in St. Paul. The awards recognize the foundations’ leadership, vision and commitment to enhancing the social and emotional development of infants and young children through the Minnesota Thrive Initiative. The initiative, a statew…

Business Center Spurs Innovation

What is a "business incubator" and how could it benefit your work and community?

Join Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT) Thursday, June 23rd at 10 a.m. for a "Meet ‘n Greet" tour of the Kennedy GO GREEN Business Incubator & Renewable Energy Training Center facility, led by Mayor Todd Truedson, to find out!

Hallock as Oil-Boom Town?

Hallock is faced with growth dilemma.

Big rigs. Big money. Jobs aplenty. Scarce housing. A woeful region revitalized by oil.

In many ways, the northwestern corner of Minnesota has the feel of western North Dakota. However, the oil driving this revival is not crude. It’s canola.

Read about it here:

IDEA Competition Winners Announced & Two Added to IDEA Hall of Fame

The IDEA Competition announced its four 2011 winners on Tuesday, May 17 in Crookston at an awards banquet held on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus.Two of the winners – Craft Night Out and Grand Steer – are located in Thief River Falls.The other two winners – EquipAll GrappleHoe and LaValley Industries LLC – are located in Bemidji.Each winner will receive $10,000 in cash to advance their business idea, plus additional specialized technical assistance.Read the full news release here

2011 IDEA Winners (left to right): Jorge Prince, Jason LaValley, Fred Hartmann, Al Aaseby, Chuck Odegaard, Arnold Kleinsasser, Jeff Sullivan, Kenneth Kleinsasser, Kristine Goddard-Anderson, Elizabeth Petersen.
IDEA Hall of Fame: Dennis Brazier (left) of Central Boiler with NMF President Nancy Vyskocil and Glen Brazier of MATTRACKS.

Exhibit focuses on 'Living Latino' in northwest Minnesota

Exhibit focuses on 'Living Latino' in northwest Minnesota
Check out the display early this week before it moves on!

IDEA Competition Winners to be Announced May 17th!


IDEA Competition winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet to be held May 17, from 5:00-8:30 the Bede Ballroom on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus.The event is open to the public and pre-registration is required by May 13 at The IDEA Competition kicked off last fall with 23 applications.In the ensuing months, the field was narrowed to the following select group of finalists: •Kristine Goddard-Anderson and Elizabeth Petersen, Craft Night Out, Thief River Falls •Marilyn Graff, Banner Parking Poles, McIntosh •John Green, EDGE Performance Products, Thief River Falls •Allen Aaseby, Fred Hartmann, and Chuck Odegaard, Turn@bout, Thief River Falls •Christopher G. Hoffman, ReNewConcepts, Bemidji •David W. and Andrea L. Holmes, Light Weight Concrete Domes, Fosston •Barrett Jesness, Hall Automation LLC, Blue Panel, Bagley •Jason LaValley, Jorge Prince, and Roger LaValley, The PIPEMATE, Bemidji •Jeff Sullivan and Arnold Kleinsasser, EquipAll G…

NMF Community Funds on the Grow!

Check out the new funds established by our growing family of community funds:

Part of the Bemidji Area Community Fund: Bemidji Community Food Shelf Fund Supports programs, projects, or activities of the Bemidji Community Food Shelf
Joining the family of Crookston Area Community Funds: Dragseth Family Charitable Fund Supports qualifying charitable and educational programs, projects and activities with preference to charitable needs in the Crookston, MN area
Added to in the 11 Park Rapids Area Community Funds: Park Rapids M State Fund Supports higher education initiatives within the greater Park Rapids area that benefit regional Park Rapids residents; funding preference will support M state programs in the Park Rapids area and scholarships
All of these are supporting the mission to make the region a better place to live and work!

May Workshops & Events

Mark your calendars or register today at for our May workshops and events:

Charitable Planned Gifting Options A workshop for Professional Advisors featuring presentations and discussions on:   The Latest Developments in Charitable Gift Planning Ethical Issues in Gift Planning – The Sequel Charitable Planning Strategies with Tax-Heavy Assets Your Farm and Life Estate Options   Registration Cost:  $35.00 per person   May 12 8:00 AM to 02:30 PM Mount St. Benedict, Crookston Getting the Most From Your Board: Leadership, Fundraising & Oversight, Oh My! It is a rare day that we think the board is engaged enough in fundraising for the organization! We will examine strategies to assist your board in fundraising, clarify their oversight role and strategically lead your organization. Participants will have the opportunity to explore what options will best fit their organization and share their promising practices with each other. Handouts will be provided.   Fee: $25.00 May 1…

Oslo has been turned into temporary island due to flooding

As reported on MPR today, the town of Oslo is isolated by the water.

City officials say three consecutive years of major floods have not only been inconvenient, but tough on local businesses.

Even though Oslo is surrounded by floodwater, Main Street is quiet and dry, with no sandbags in sight. That's a stark contrast to 1950, when businesses and homes were underwater and residents needed motor boats to get through town.

Read the complete article here

IDEA competition in its final round

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation invites you to attend the 3rd annual IDEA competition banquet, honoring innovative entrepreneurs that are growing their businesses in Northwest Minnesota.After months of planning, workshops, development assistance and judging rounds, the field of competitors has been narrowed down from 23 to nine finalists.On the evening of the banquet, up to five winners will be awarded $10,000 each to advance their breakthrough idea. Also on the agenda is a keynote address by Minnesota native, David Mortensen, co-founder and President of Anytime Fitness, recently named the “Fastest Growing Fitness Club in the World” by Club Business International.Please join us on this special night, May 17th from 5:00 – 8:30 pm at the Bede Ballroom, University of Minnesota, Crookston.Registration is $20.To register, please visit finalists are:Kristine Goddard-Anderson (Thief River Falls) Marilyn Graff (McIntosh)John Green (Thief River Falls)Fred Hartman…

Latest Flood News

UPDATE: Flooded roads in area There are numerous roads closed in the Crookston area. This link to the Crookston Times article contains all the latest information.

Read here about what's going on in East Grand and Grand Forks with the Red River crest.

United For Children

Our early care and education conference is this Saturday in Park Rapids! We have over 100 registered already. You can still register at the NMF website through Thursday. You'll enjoy two great keynotes and choose from among 12 breakout sessions - all to help you in your work with young children. Join us!

Spring Flooding - NMF Response

Northwest Minnesota Foundation is part of the effort to help offset spring flooding by raising funds to help stricken communities.
Fargo-Moorhead has a 50% chance to meet 2009 record flood levels.There is a strange calm right now as so much work has been done in advance since January.The cities are currently prepared to meet the 2009 flood levels, but there is a 30% chance that the flood could exceed that level (43 to 45 feet high).There is really no way to prepare for that and it could be potentially devastating.Right now, the area is experiencing typical weather, freezing at night which allows the water to move north.The cooler temperatures at night are slowing the process down, but if there is a tremendous warm up, then it’s harder to predict what might happen.
Northwest Minnesota- Grand Forks is in flood stage and the flood walls are up.
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation, with four counties bordering the Red River, is poised to help with a flood disaster, as it has each year that ri…