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Blandin Foundation names three new trustees

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – At their June 23 meeting, Blandin Foundation trustees selected three distinguished Itasca County area community leaders to join the Foundation’s board of trustees.

Dr. Mike Johnson, chairman of the Foundation’s board, announced that three Grand Rapids residents emerged from an intensive and open local search that yielded 40 applicants.  Guy Clairmont, Mark Hawkinson and Alice Moren will join the Blandin Foundation board of trustees in January 2016.

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

Guy Clairmont serves the Grand Rapids area in a variety of capacities, including as an engaged entrepreneur, a nonprofit leader and youth mentor.  Clairmont returned home to Grand Rapids after teaching high school business classes in the Twin Cities and established Guy Clairmont Financial in 2002.   He holds a bachelor of science in business education from Concordia College and the Certificate of Financial Planning™ from Minnesota State University Mankato and is a graduate of Grand Rapids High School.  He is licensed in securities (series 6, 7, 63 and 65) and in Minnesota health and life insurance.  Clairmont is a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program (2009) and has served in a variety of roles with the United Way of 1000 Lakes, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Itasca Economic Development Corporation’s financial literacy efforts, Grand Rapids hockey and baseball programs, Itasca Community Television, Grand Rapids Jaycees, Grand Rapids Young Professionals and others.

Mark Hawkinson is an economy builder and life-long resident of Itasca County.  He is president, CEO and treasurer of Hawkinson Construction Co, Inc., a role he has held since 1986, and is president and treasurer of Summit Materials since acquiring the assets of Brink Sand, Gravel and Ready-Mix in 2004.  The family asphalt paving business employs 70 people.  Hawkinson has held a wide range of community leadership roles with Itasca County Family YMCA, MacRostie Arts Center, Reif Center, Northland Counseling Center, city and county comprehensive planning committees and others.  Within his field, Hawkinson served on the board of directors and chairs the environmental committee of the Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association.  He holds degrees in accounting from the University of Minnesota and anthropology from University of Colorado and is a graduate of Grand Rapids High School.

Alice Moren’s work in Itasca County area communities is intentional about bringing people to the table whose voices, presence and community value may be overlooked.  A licensed social worker, Moren holds the master’s degree in counseling and psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School, bachelor’s degree in social work from Bemidji State University and associate of arts degree from Itasca Community College and attended Grand Rapids High School.  She currently manages Circles of Support and PCs for People and is a trainer for communities across the country interested in implementing the Circles of Support philosophy.  She is a commissioner with the Human Rights Commission for the City of Grand Rapids.  Moren is a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program (2000) and has held a wide range of leadership roles, including Circle of Healing, A Minnesota Without Poverty, Community Café, Kootasca Community Action, Advocates for Family Peace, Bridges Kinship Mentoring, Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success and many others.

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.

“A huge welcome to our new trustees from the local community,” said Dr. Yvonne Cheek, Blandin Foundation trustee and chair of the board’s nominating committee.  “Alice, Mark and Guy add a complementary set of skills and expertise to our current trustees. They are curious and critical thinkers who have a deep commitment to the Itasca area.  They also revealed a worldview that ignited and inspired the board during this search.”

Clairmont, Hawkinson and Moren join 12 current Blandin Foundation trustees: Dr. Mike Johnson (Grand Rapids), Marian Barcus (Grand Rapids), Dr. Tim Bonner (Grand Rapids), Yvonne Cheek (Minneapolis), Dr. Kandace Creel Falcón (Moorhead), Kris Ferraro (Grand Rapids), Jim Hoolihan (Grand Rapids), Martin Jennings (Leech Lake Reservation), Dr. Heidi Korstad (Bigfork), Dr. Brian McInnes (Duluth), Brian Nicklason (Grand Rapids), and Bonnie Besse Rietz (Austin).  Bonner and Barcus will complete their service as Blandin Foundation trustees at the end of 2015.  Details on roles and background summaries for all Blandin Foundation trustees are available at the Foundation’s web site,



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