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Image: (c) Dave Bjerk

Blandin Foundation seeks trustees from Itasca area

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Blandin Foundation has launched a search for at least two Itasca-area engaged community leaders to join the Blandin Foundation Board of Trustees.

When Charles Blandin established his charitable foundation in 1941, he designed its governance to include strong advisors who would steer and oversee it when he could no longer be at the foundation’s helm (Mr. Blandin passed away in 1958).  Today, 13 diverse community leaders from Itasca County and across the state serve as the Blandin Foundation Board of Trustees, providing strategic direction, governance and fiduciary oversight to the foundation. 

“We bring our time, experience and expertise to Blandin Foundation,” says Dr. Mike Johnson, Grand Rapids, who chairs the board.  “We provide checks and balances, make strategic decisions, approve major grants, and ensure that the foundation is fulfilling its mission of stronger rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.  And we do it because we are passionate about this mission and this work. 

“Personally, as I near the completion of my final term and reflect on this experience, it has been one of my greatest personal and professional experiences.  Learning about C. K. Blandin, his wishes and the positive impact that the Foundation has on our area, is very heartening.”

            Blandin Foundation trustees are elected by the board and serve terms of four years, with a maximum of three terms.  They must reside in Minnesota, and for this search they must reside in the foundation’s “home giving area” of Itasca County, plus the communities of Hill City, Remer, Northome and Blackduck.

“It’s time to replenish our board as several trustees fulfill their commitments to the Foundation over the next few years,” explains Johnson.  “We are seeking the community’s help in identifying great candidates to continue the tradition of committed and passionate leadership we have seen over nearly 75 years.”

            In addition to passion for, commitment to and knowledge about rural Minnesota communities, candidates should be individuals who have a history of being actively engaged in community through formal or informal leadership roles and/or volunteering.  The board values diversity of background, interests and experience, and at this time is seeking candidates especially with knowledge or experience in:

  • ·        finance, accounting, audit or investments;
  • ·        business development/financing, workforce development or economic development;
  • ·        community organizing or development, social justice or social service work (particularly around issues related to poverty and inclusion.)

A Trustee Profile is posted at the Blandin Foundation website (, along with details of how the foundation is governed (e.g., bylaws, charter, Mr. Blandin’s will).  Biographies of current trustees and a list of those who have served in the past also are available at the website.

            The Nominating Committee of the foundation’s Board of Trustees has retained the assistance of a search firm, Ballinger|Leafblad, which specializes in working with nonprofit organizations.  Questions about the process and applications (a resume and cover letter) will be fielded and facilitated by Ballinger|Leafblad.  The application deadline is March 25, 2015.  Those with questions or wishing to apply should contact Diane Meskan at or 612-987-3680.




Photo: Blandin Foundation is seeking at least two local trustees for its Board of Trustees.  Current trustees are: (back left) Martin Jennings, Brian McInnes, Bonnie Besse Rietz, Jim Hoolihan, Tim Bonner, (front left) Bill Maki, Heidi Korstad, Kris Ferraro, Kandace Creel Falcon, Marian Barcus, Yvonne Cheek, Mike Johnson and Brian Nicklason.


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