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President’s Message – December 2021

I still wash my dishes by hand and peel potatoes with a paring knife like my Grandma Larson. I think about her while I do it, about having the same hands as hers. She must have peeled a million potatoes with those hands. And while I believe we carry traditions along with us, I also love that I press a button on a washing machine, instead of cranking Grandma’s wash ringer, and I am grateful for that change every time I put a load in.

Change is constant. It can be beautiful.  It can be brutal.  It is living through what is in front of us, adapting, improving, and letting go of what no longer serves us.  Sometimes change scares us and sometimes it inspires us.  Sometimes we have no choice in it and sometimes we do.

There is a beautiful balance between the past and the horizon. I see it again and again in our communities. The joy and tradition in parades, family fun nights, pow-wows and trips to the races that call and connect us to the places and people we love, year after year. They are touchstones as we move through the seasons of our lives. The ingenuity and grit of small business owners who support these events and are supported by them, as well as the nonprofit leaders and community volunteers who show up and never give up, to serve community, even when times are tough.

We face an era that has challenged many of us in ways not seen in our lifetimes.  With almost another year of unprecedented challenges behind us, front-line workers are still without reprieve, and the loss, stress, grief, tragedy still present.

The Blandin Foundation is preparing towards the horizon, interviewing, surveying, listening to hundreds of rural leaders. We are learning and responding to the current and emerging needs in the region and Rural Minnesota. We are looking closely at what we do and how we do it. We are digging into data to understand what drives persistent problems, what points to possible solutions and what resources are available for rural Minnesota.  We are looking at how technology can improve our impact and how critical technology is to rural practitioners. We seek to do better, to have greater impact, and outcomes that make differences.

This is a tender time in history.  We are all so very full and empty.  We are strong people and we are interconnected in so many ways. It is said that triumph is only possible in how crisis and tragedy are handled.  The Blandin Foundation is fortunate to witness and marvel the remarkable work of Rural perseverance, courage and ingenuity that is building the story of triumph for generations to come.

Thank you for everything you give and everything you do towards better tomorrows.  We marvel you and wish you a season filled with kindness and generosity.

May we continue to build communities where respect, harmony and integrity grow for us all.

Happy Holidays


Blandin Foundation President & CEO

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