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Blandin Foundation Names Kyle Erickson Director of Rural Grantmaking

Key points:

  • Following a 10-year tenure as a grants officer with Blandin Foundation, Kyle Erickson was named Blandin Foundation director of rural grantmaking.
  • As a grants officer, Erickson oversaw a multi-million-dollar grant portfolio addressing some of rural Minnesota’s most pressing needs, including affordable housing, support for first-generation college students, and expansion of legal services for immigrants. He knows firsthand the opportunities and challenges of running a rural nonprofit and understands the impact of effective development in small rural communities. Together, these experiences make him well-positioned to execute its strategic focus on community wealth-building, rural placemaking and small rural communities.
  • He brings perspectives from a life deeply rooted in rural Minnesota and is active in community.

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (June 6, 2024) – Today the Blandin Foundation announced that Kyle Erickson has been named the Director of Rural Grantmaking.

Erickson will guide the Foundation’s grants team in their work to award grants that bring to life the Foundation’s mission to connect, fund and advocate for ideas and people to inspire resourcefulness and move rural places forward. He will oversee the foundation’s four grantmaking areas: rural placemaking — bolstering the arts, culture, natural resources, creativity and opportunities to help rural people feel connected, invested and proud of where they live; funding, skills and systems change for small rural communities; community wealth-building that helps communities keep knowledge and resources close to home; and building the capacity for rural organizations, people and places to create sustainable, equitable futures.

“Kyle has so many hallmarks of an effective rural leader,” said Tuleah Palmer, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation. “He chooses to live in rural places and engage respectfully on challenging topics. He understands the relationships in and across small towns and Native Nations, and knows firsthand the realities facing rural communities and nonprofits. He has a clear vision of the ways our work is grounded in Charles Blandin’s legacy of resilience, self-reliance and sustainable growth, and tilted toward better quality of life for rural Minnesotans.”

For the past decade, Erickson served as a Blandin Foundation grant officer, most recently managing grants in the community wealth-building portfolio. This included grants to Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and KOOTASCA Community Action to address the need for affordable housing in north-central Minnesota, and to Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota to strengthen legal services for immigrants in rural areas.

Prior to his roles at the Foundation, Kyle was the Director of Institutional Advancement at Leech Lake Tribal College in Cass Lake, Minn. In that role, he led the development of a campus master plan and spearheaded the capital campaign to build the college library. He also oversaw grantwriting, annual gift and major gift development, and built collaborative partnerships with government programs and private foundations. He also served as associate vice president for lending at Western Bank in Cass Lake.

Currently Erickson serves on the Heading Home Funders Collaborative, an organization focused on preventing and ending homelessness in Minnesota. He was a longtime board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area and served on the board of the Itasca County Family YMCA.

“This new role allows me to build on what I’ve learned from the priceless relationships at each point in my career,” Erickson said. “I love the opportunity our work provides to tackle the gaps created by systems of race, place and class that push many rural people to the sidelines of our communities and economies. We’re here to inspire resourcefulness and for giving people what they need so they can live their best lives.”

Erickson holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Crown College and a certificate in fundraising management from Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. He was raised in Cass Lake, in north-central Minnesota’s lake country. He is an avid bass tournament angler and a volunteer sportscaster on KAXE radio. Away from work, he enjoys his garden, cooking, live music and video games.

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Blandin Foundation is a private foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. One of a handful of rural-based, rural-serving foundations in the country, Blandin Foundation serves rural Minnesota, focusing resources in north-central Minnesota. Our grants, opportunities that connect rural leaders, and policy work build up financial and human capital, so rural Minnesota places can welcome diversity, address injustice, and embrace change to create a sustainable and equitable future.

Media Contact

Jennifer Bevis

Jennifer Bevis

Senior Rural Advocacy Manager

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Direct: 218-327-8707

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