Showing posts from 2013

Taylor Branch

Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Taylor Branch will present “Civil Rights Then and Now: Reflections on the King Years” in the Kiehle Auditorium at the University of Minnesota Crookston on Monday, January 20, 2014, at 7 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome. A book signing will be held in Kiehle 124 following the presentation and books by Branch will be available for purchase on site. Branch also will speak on Tuesday, January 21 at 10 a.m. at the Lake Agassiz Regional Library in Crookston as part of his visit.

Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-196…


At the Northwest Minnesota Foundation we know that nonprofit organizations within our 12-county region provide vital services to many of our region’s citizens.  It is fascinating to see how your ideas and service has strengthened our region. As we close out 2013 and prepare for 2014, we wanted to share a piece by the National Council of Nonprofits.  Trends: What’s Ahead for 2014 provides a look at some of the most interesting nonprofit trends to get ready for in 2014. Please share this piece with your nonprofit’s staff, board and volunteers so they can be prepared for what is ahead.

THE RESOURCE SQUEEZE: One prominent trend that began with the Great Recession will continue its drain in 2014: scarce financial resources. The vast majority of charitable nonprofits will continue to be squeezed for financial resources in 2014. In the current environment of increased c…

IDEA Competition Extends Registration Deadline

The IDEA Competition announced that it is extending the deadline for the first round of its competition to December 31.  This will allow applicants to take advantage of the newly discounted registration fee of $100, thanks to a generous contribution from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. IDEA Competition project coordinator, Michelle Landsverk, is enthusiastic about the extended deadline and the reduced registration fee.  “With the recent donation from Northwest Minnesota Foundation we are able to reduce the cost of entering the competition,” Landsverk said.  “With the reduced registration fee, it only made sense to extend the deadline so more people could take advantage of the cost savings.” The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.  Since the co…

Broadband Awareness

Sen. Matt Schmit, DFL- Red Wing
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation and the Blandin Foundation teamed up to help move Minnesota forward in reaching its broadband goal. The goal is to have 10 Mbps to every home in Minnesota by 2015. Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing is behind the initiative and he has successfully led efforts to create the Office of Broadband within DEED. His intent is to move additional broadband legislation forward by the 2015 legislative session.

The public was invited to help set the legislative agenda by joining in on the broadband discussion at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, November 11th.

Senator Schmit addressed local leadership perspective and gave background on local broadband initiatives. He also addressed how broadband and the lack thereof is affecting healthcare providers, educators, local government and business.
Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) program is celebrating its 10th anniversary in October. The Governor of the State of Minnesota, Mark Dayton has proclaimed October 24th as Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative Day.

The twelve northwest Minnesota coalitions join in celebrating this achievement and recognizing the important partners who work with local leaders to ensure that the quality care and education of our youngest children is a top priority.

The purpose of Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative (MECI) is to promote high-quality early care and education for children from birth to age five, while supporting parents in their important work. Since 2003, the Initiative has grown to include 86 local early childhood coalitions covering over 200 greater Minnesota communities.

Investing in early childhood care and learning pays big dividends for communities and businesses. Scientific research confirms that a child’s earliest experiences dramatic…

Tom and Corrinne Anderson recognized at Farmfest as Clearwater County Farm Family of the Year for 2013

This year 76 families from throughout Minnesota will be honored as a 2013 Farm Family of theYear by the University of Minnesota. The families will be recognized in ceremonies set for 1:30 to 3 p.m., Thursday, August 8 at the annual Minnesota Farmfest near Redwood Falls.

Tom and Corrinne Anderson of Clearbrook, Minnesota were chosen as the Clearwater County Farm Family of the Year for 2013. They are currently involved in a fanning partnership with their son Scott. They raise soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, hay, and beef cattle. In addition to Scott, Tom and Corrinne have two other sons and two grandchildren. Son Ryan is an electrician in Grand Junction, Colo.; son Jonathon lives in Clearbrook and works as a LPN at the Pioneer Nursing Home in Erskine.

The Andersons attend Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Clearbook where Tom is a member of the church council. Tom is also a cemetery sextant, American Legion member, Clearwater County FSA Committee member, and a member of the Northwest Minneso…


The White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP) was awarded a $20,000 grant by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) to study the market and potential building needs for a fish-based fertilizer product. The fertilizer would use fish waste produced at the Red Lake Fisheries facility in Redby.

Each year about 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of organic waste is created from the fisheries. Nitrogen and other nutrients from the decaying fish are, in fact, traditional fertilizers used by native peoples. The grant will help determine how this fish waste can be processed, assess the nutrient makeup of the product, what type of facility is needed and what type of market exists for the product.

“The hope is to get a plant fertilizer product ready for market in the next year or so,” said Winona LaDuke, project coordinator. “We have been hauling fish waste from Red Lake for our own use as we plant different varieties of heritage corn. With this funding, we can now test this on…

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines Team Up with Bemidji State University

The Girl Scouts are partnering with Bemidji State University to hold a 3 day “college sampler” for area girls in grades 4 through 12.  

It is open to all girls from northern and central Minnesota. Along with valuable information and exciting activities, it will be a great opportunity for girls to simply get a feel for what it is like to be part of a campus community.  

We are including girls at a relatively young age, because we feel it is important for them to be able to imagine themselves at a college or university.

The College Sampler runs July 30th to August 1st at Bemidji State University’s beautiful campus on the lake.

College Challenge: International student cultural exchange, robotics workshop and service learning project.

College Fun: Campfire with s’mores, movie night, recycled art project, scavenger hunt, get to know college students and go swimming.

Adult supervision is provided to girls attending without an adult.

Girls sleep in dorms at BSU’s Tamarack Hall. 

All meals, program s…


The city of Warren is actively seeking change in their community. Members of city council are hoping to update a comprehensive plan which includes zoning ordinances and growth planning. The Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) is eager to see the outcome from the grant dollars awarded. “This funding will help Warren develop their top priorities for the future,” said Nate Dorr, program officer for grants. “Warren has wonderful potential now to define its destiny, and build off the great work they are already doing. We are excited to be a part of their future. Projects like this keep our small towns vibrant.” The grant is part of NMF’s Growth Management Program.

Community forums will be held to involve residents in the planning process. The hope is to revitalize the downtown area and residential spaces. The city parks will also be included in the planning process. The city of Warren will engage the public for input.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public, charitable …

Change is underway at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) as Senior Program Officer of Business Finance, Dave West will retire June 30. West began working for NMF, then the Northwest Initiative Fund, in 1990. His experience in banking helped ease the way toward developing a strong business development program. As the senior officer for the Business Finance Program, West had an integral part in building a loan portfolio that began with three loans and today is at $20 million.

“We’ve helped people achieve their dream of owning a business,” said West. “My work has been very rewarding – knowing that I was a little piece of the puzzle that helped create nearly 2,500 jobs in northwest Minnesota.” Agricultural related projects were the most fun to work on throughout the years according to West because agricultural processing is a benefit to business and labor. He also enjoyed the nuts and bolts projects and working with economic development part…


The Bemidji Area Parks and Trails Fund, a component fund of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, recently began fundraising for a special project to help develop the Nymore Dog Park. And fundraising efforts are “fetching” the attention of dog lovers everywhere! “Bark for the Park” is an online dog photo contest to raise money for the future dog park located off of Miles Avenue in Bemidji. The two acre fenced in area with a double gated entry will be equipped with water, benches and pet waste bag dispensers. There are two weeks left to vote for your favorite pooch and you can download your dog’s picture at Be sure to tell your family and friends to vote on your dog’s picture. The top 13 dogs will be featured in a 2014 dog calendar. The calendars can be pre-ordered at the annual 5K-9 walk/run on August 24. Calendars will also be sold at area businesses this fall. Donate online quickly and securely at! Click on the Donate Now button and select the…


The Fourth of July fireworks in Park Rapids have become an essential attraction for the holiday celebration. The fireworks are not free nor are tax dollars used to buy them—private donations alone fund the show. The Park Rapids Rotary is asking the public to help support their efforts this year and donate!

Online donations can be made quickly and securely at! Click on the Donate Now button and select the Park Rapids Fireworks Fund from the alphabetical list, or go to the Special Projects area on the home page. You can make an online gift in any amount you choose, or set up a pledge to pay automatically--you control the start and end dates. Credit cards or e-checks are accepted. Or you may mail a check payable to NMF- Fireworks Fund, address: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 201 3rd St NW, Bemidji, MN 56601. 
Contact Lisa Peterson with questions

The Marvelous Fish House and Market to open in Bemidji May 16th!

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) and its Business Development Program continue to create jobs and business opportunities in the Northwest region with the recent approval of a loan to the Marvelous Fish House and Market owned by Marvin D. Hanson.

The Marvelous Fish House and Market will become the first casual-dining fish restaurant in Bemidji. Its “Menu with a Splash” will specialize in the sale of walleye and the "Red Lake walleye sandwich." This will be no ordinary casual dining facility and market, as all products, including native fish and wild rice will come from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

“The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is very excited to be one of the first lenders on this deal,” said program officer for business development, Diane Morey. “We welcome having an American Indian business loan in the entrepreneur development program because it helps us to better represent the business population in our region.”

The Marvelous Fish Market will feature…
The IDEA Competition announced the names of four 2013 winners on Wednesday, April 24th at the IDEA awards banquet held at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, Thief River Falls.

Keynote Speaker Jorge Prince is Chief Financial Officer and part owner of LaValley Industries.

LaValley Industries was a winner of the IDEA Competition in 2010 for its DECKHAND® pipe handling system, The DECKHAND®. The Bemidji-based company has since partnered with Pipeline Machinery International, CRC-Evans Pipeline International, and Vermeer Corporation to distribute the DECKHAND worldwide. Since inventing the DECKHAND, LaValley has continued to grow the product line into other markets and is now a multiple patent holder.

Following the keynote address, The IDEA Hall of Fame added Mark Larson, president and chief operating officer of Digi-Key Corporation, and Ron Stordahl, founder and chief executive officer of Digi-Key Corporation.

The 2013 Winners.

Brian & Coreen Berdahl, Red Lake Falls, for Spot-Knot – a fast…


In an effort to further enhance the strong business presence in downtown Bemidji, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has established a new fund with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) that will offer loans up to $5,000. The mission of the revolving loan program is to assist businesses in either locating downtown or expanding their downtown business.
The loans are available to any business looking to locate or expand in downtown Bemidji. “This is an excellent opportunity to increase awareness about the Downtown Development Authority and our important work,” said DDA President Ken Cobb. “We already have a great downtown, and we are always working to make it even better.  Our mission is to promote and enhance our vibrant downtown, and this loan program will encourage businesses to locate and expand here.”
Loans can be used for building improvements, equipment, inventory, supplies, and working capital. The business must maintain (DDA) membership throughout the term of the lo…

Women's History Month

Women Inspiring Innovation Through ImaginationThe 2013 Women's History Month Lecture and Panel Presentation; "Uncovering the Past, Charting the Future: The Rise of Women in Science," will be presented at University of Minnesota Crookston Campus - Eagle's Nest on March 27, 2013 at 7 p.m. 
The Northwest Women's Fund is sponsoring the event for anyone interested in the past, present and future of women in Science. 
Keynote Address by:
Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Ph.D.  Earth Science Professor, University of Minnesota: Twin Cities.
Panelists include:
Rebekah Aakre, RN  Gloria Ayuck, NP Susan Bornsen, Ph.D. Pamela Elf, Ph.D Katy Smith, Ph.D Candiss O. Williams, Ph.D Vanessa Lane, Ph.D Moderator

Bemidji Area Arts Endowment to Award $10,000 in Art Grants by May 1, 2013

The Bemidji Area Arts Endowment (BAAE), a component fund of Northwest Minnesota Foundation is now accepting project grant applications for its 2013 grant round.
Grant applications are available at the Region 2 Arts Council office, Bemidji Community Arts Center, Headwaters School of Music & the Arts and the new Northwest Minnesota Foundation headquarters in downtown Bemidji, 201 3rd Street NW.
A copy of the grant application is also available online at
The 2013 grant deadline is April 5, 2013.Grants up to $1,000 may be requested. Youth orchestral string scholarships are $250. Grant recipients will be notified by May 1, 2013.
Grants will be made from the following BAAE funds; H.B. & Ina T. Roholt Fund for the Arts; Richard & Pam Nelson Family Fund for the Visual Arts and the Everett Wilimek Endowment Fund for Orchestral String Studies.
BAAE was established in 1998, to strengthen long-term financial viability of the Bemidji area arts community. The fund enables in…

Hello Sunshine!

201 3rd St. NW is shaping up.
The new NMF Conference Center is being utilized by the region weekly.
The excitement and anticipation for outside parties to book events has also been a hot topic. We are currently working to create policy and procedure regarding the new space. Please check our website, for scheduling updates. We should have a plan in place by April 1, 2013.

The unveiling of the building's exterior was highly anticipated this week.
The stone and brick work looks wonderful.

All of the scaffolding was removed yesterday. So those working in front offices have now lost their "window treatments."
No worries though- NMF Staff has been very resourceful!

We do plan to host an open house in the upcoming months! So please stay tuned.....

Kelliher Doing Well

The community of Kelliher is collaborating to improve quality of life for its citizens! And they are being recognized for their efforts. The Kelliher School and Kelliher Health and Resource Center (KHRC) have been honored with a Local Government Innovation Award (LGIA.) After the community supported a new school building, the district faced a decision regarding the fate of the old school facility. A committee was established to determine ways to repurpose the old building. After much planning, local leaders collaborated to preserve the infrastructure and develop a center that houses health care and preventive care, mental and physical therapies while providing health and information related services. Grants were written to renovate the building and a health endowment fund was established through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to support the healthcare facility. New collaboration has been developed between the school, community and churches. A USDA grant assisted with energy savings…

NMF in 2013

We have moved to our new location: 201 3rd St. NW Bemidji, MN 56601

We are thrilled to be in a location that will make NMF more visible and accessible to the region. Our conference and meeting space will add value for non profits and other partners in the area who are in need of a versatile, convenient location.
We have many training opportunities beginning in January 2013. Visit our website at --under upcoming events, to check out what NMF has to offer.