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Blandin Foundation names three new trustees

sprig by Posted in Blandin Foundation

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (June 24, 2013) – At their June 13 meeting, Blandin Foundation trustees selected three distinguished Minnesota community leaders to join the Foundation’s board of trustees, effective January 2014.

Dr. Mike Johnson, chairman of the Foundation’s board, announced that three Minnesotans emerged from a statewide search:  Kandace Creel Falcón, Ph.D. (Moorhead), William D. Maki (Bemidji), and Brian D. McInnes, Ed.D (Duluth).

“Each of these individuals brings a deep background and passion for strengthening rural Minnesota communities,” said Johnson. “We very much look forward to engaging them in the Foundation’s work ahead.”

Kandace Creel Falcón is an engaged and committed community member of Moorhead, Minn.  She is assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead and works through a range of community initiatives toward purposeful inclusion.  One of many volunteer roles, she serves on the Chicano Latino Affairs Council as the Respresentative for Congressional District 7.  She additionally co-leads a media skill-sharing network in Moorhead called Third Side Media, which leverages new media technologies for social justice.  Dr. Creel Falcón is an alumnus of Blandin Foundation’s Leadership in Ethnically Diverse Communities program and a graduate of University of Minnesota and of University of Kansas.

William (Bill) Maki has lived and worked across northern Minnesota, including roles in higher education for Northeast Higher Education District, Itasca Community College and Duluth Community College.   His community involvement also spans the region, including volunteering with United Way, Boys and Girls Club, youth basketball and baseball, etc.  Mr. Maki currently serves as vice president of finance and administration at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.  He is an alumnus of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute of Educational Management, University of Minnesota Duluth and Vermilion Community College.

Brian McInnes, an enrolled member of the Wasauksing First Nation, is an engaged community member, dedicated to diversity education, environmental awareness, youth engagement, Indigenous language and American Indian traditions and leadership.  Among many projects, Dr. McInnes leads the Minnesota Indigenous Youth Freedom Project, an initiative spurred by participants in the Blandin Foundation-convened American Indian Youth Summit in 2006.  He is assistant professor in University of Minnesota Duluth’s Department of Education.  He holds degrees from University of Minnesota Duluth and several Canadian universities: York University (Toronto), Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) and Trent University (Peterborough).

Blandin Foundation trustees are Minnesota-based community leaders who provide strategic leadership and governance, fiduciary and financial oversight for the Foundation.  They serve up to 12 years and represent a variety of perspectives from across rural Minnesota.

Dr. Creel Falcón, Mr. Maki and Dr. McInnes join 10 current Blandin Foundation trustees: Dr. Mike Johnson (Grand Rapids), Marian Barcus (Grand Rapids), Dr. Tim Bonner (Grand Rapids), Yvonne Cheek (Minneapolis), Kris Ferraro (Grand Rapids), Jim Hoolihan (Grand Rapids), Martin Jennings (Leech Lake Reservation), Dr. Heidi Korstad (Bigfork), Brian Nicklason (Grand Rapids), and Bonnie Besse Rietz (Austin).  Background summaries for all Blandin Foundation trustees are available at the Foundation’s web site,


About Blandin Foundation

Blandin Foundation stands with rural Minnesota communities as they imagine and claim ambitious, vibrant futures.  Based in Grand Rapids, Minn., it is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota. Information on Blandin Foundation grant-making, leadership development programs and public policy initiatives are at On Twitter at and facebook at


For additional information, contact:

Allison Rajala Ahcan

Director of Communications, Blandin Foundation

direct: 218-327-8717

cell: 218-259-2893

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