Initiative Foundation Extends Open Invitation to 18- to 35-year-olds to Learn About Career- and Community-shaping Program


Helping leaders across generations, cultures and communities is the primary goal of Emerging Leaders, a new community development program being launched in April by the Initiative Foundation.

The Initiative Foundation is extending an open invitation to 18- to 35-year-olds to attend the April 17 event in Brainerd or the April 23 event in St. Cloud. The capacity at each event is 40 people; refreshments will be provided. Invite a friend and your name will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. Learn about the program, network and apply to participate in this career- and community-building initiative.

A Need to Lead
Replacing the more than 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in the United States from long careers and community leadership roles will be critical work for the small towns and rural communities of Greater Minnesota. Compared to the Twin Cities, where one in 56 people will be tapped to take on a leadership role, the average rural Minnesotan has responsibility for six or more top jobs-roles that can range from running small businesses to serving on community and nonprofit boards and supporting the leadership of area churches and schools.

Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation vice president for community and economic development, said in IQ Magazine that it’s crucial for Central Minnesota communities to tap the talents and passions of established leaders and those who might not yet think of themselves as leaders. “We need to plan ahead about how to help pass the baton and encourage that next generation of leaders to step up,” said Hickman. “It’s important to build these connections because not only do these traditional leaders have a lot of wisdom to share, the new leaders we’re seeing in that 18- to 35-year-old demographic reflect the diversity that’s helping to grow the region.”

Diane Tran, founder of Minnesota Rising, a Twin Cities young professionals group, will join the Initiative Foundation to help guide the conversation.

“What’s unique about this program is that it’s not one-directional,” said Michelle Kiley, Initiative Foundation community and economic development specialist. “There’s value in encouraging leaders to come together and find out what has been done already, what hasn’t been tried, and discovering new ways to increase the presence of emerging leaders in important community decisions.”

Information Sessions
The Foundation is sponsoring two Emerging Leaders informational sessions where participants can network, learn about the program and apply to participate:

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Date: Friday, April 17
Place: Prairie Bay, 15115 Edgewood Drive N.

St. Cloud
Time: 4 to 6 p.m.
Date: Thursday, April 23
Place: Lake George Municipal Complex Sun Room, 1101 7th Street S.

Attendance is not required to participate in the Emerging Leaders program. Applications to the Emerging Leaders program will be available online and in a printed form beginning April 15.

About the Supporters
The Emerging Leaders program is supported by a Bush Foundation Leadership Network grant. The Bush Foundation’s investment in building the capacity of individuals through fellowships began in 1965. Since then, more than 2,200 Bush Fellows and Native Nation Rebuilders have reshaped every aspect of the region. The full list of Leadership Network Grant recipients can be found at

Visit the Emerging Leaders page on for additional resources.


The Initiative Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities within its 14-county region of Central Minnesota by offering business loans, nonprofit grants, donor services and leadership training. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested more than $70 million in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments, including: 900-plus business loans totaling $45 million, which have leveraged $280 million in private business investment while securing more than 12,000 quality jobs; 4,100 grants totaling more than $25 million; 700-plus scholarships totaling $620,000; and 6,340 community leaders trained.


Greater Pine Area Endowment Announces Fall Grant Opportunity

GPAE                The Greater Pine Area Endowment has announced that a Fall Granting Cycle will be available in 2014.  The deadline for submission of grant applications is Midnight on Tuesday, September 30th.  All application submissions must be completed through the online system operated by the Initiative Foundation and can be found at .

The Greater Pine Area Endowment Fund was created in 1992 as a component fund of the Initiative Foundation to develop community resources and to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families in the Pine City area.  The GPAE funds have been established to provide financial resources for the needs of the greater Pine area within the physical boundaries of the Pine City School District 578.

The grant funds can be used for economic or community development projects.  For economic development projects, funding will be considered for projects that lead to quality job creation or high tech employment.  Projects that promote community pride and quality of life through environmental stewardship and community beautification would be considered under the community development category.  The GPAE will also consider proposals that positively impact the housing, safety, employment and other needs of the more vulnerable members of the community including youth, the elderly and those who are low-income.

Since its inception, the GPAE has granted to organizations such as Pine City Schools for the Basketball Shooting Machine, Pine County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of infant keys to AED’s; the Pine EMS First Responders for trauma bags and vehicle; and the Pine City Library for purchase of new computers.

Grant submissions can be made through the GPAE website at .  Organizations seeking assistance in using the online system should contact Becky Schueller at 320-322-4040 or  A copy of the Grant Guidelines is available online or can be picked up from the Chamber of Commerce office at 315 Main Street South.   Online submissions are due by Midnight on Tuesday, September 30th.


Tom Gahler, Chair
Greater Pine Area Endowment
315 Main Street South, Suite 160
Pine City MN 55063

Veterans Business Resource Program

Are you a Veteran who is in business or planning to start a business/  Learn how to get registered for one-on-one professional business consulting services at no cost to you.

Attend the Veterans Business Resource Program on Tuesday, April 16th from 8:30am – Noon in Cambridge, MN.

See flyer for more details.

Vet Business Resource

New VISTA opportunities in Pine City!

Over the next couple of months, VISTA host sites around the state will begin their recuitment process for the 2012-2013 VISTA year. All of the VISTA host-sites located in Pine City and the general East Central MN area are organized by the Initiative Foundation. They recuit and coordinate about 20 sites by providing training for the individual VISTA members and monitoring the overall succes of the site.  For the 2012-2013 year, there will be two new VISTA sites within Pine City. Unfortunately, the Pine City Economic Development Authority/Pine City Horizons will not be renewed for a third year. However, the VISTA sites listed below present a great opportunity for local capicity building for their organizations.

The first new host site is the Pine City Preschool Mobile Learning Bus.  The purpose of this VISTA site is to develop a mobile preschool that will travel around the Pine City School District and deliver  preschool education to at-risk children. These pre-school services will be available at a free or minimal cost to families.

The second host site will be  A Place for You. The VISTA member at A Place for You will be responsible for volunteer recuitment and development. Many of A Place for You’s day-to-day operations will rely on volunteer work and there will also be some volunteer work that supports the individual clients.

For more information or to apply, click on the link above or visit the AmeriCorps website at

Call goes out for AmeriCorps Worker


The Initiative Foundation, in partnership with the AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America program, is seeking 25 full-time national service members to serve in nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Pine City as well as other Minnesota communities (Bemidji, Brainerd, Brook Park, Cambridge, Cold Spring, Crosby, Hackensack, Isle-Wahkon, Little Falls, Pine River, St. Cloud and Staples).

To learn more about the Pine City/Horizons VISTA position, click here.

The one-year commitment includes training, a monthly living allowance, basic medical coverage, child care assistance and an education award or end-of-service stipend.

Additional information can be found at www.  Applications are accepted until all positions are filled or May 31.

Recycle your holiday lights


Statewide Effort to Recycle Christmas Lights

This year there is an opportunity to recycle your non-working holiday lights.  The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) is hoping to collect more than 50,000 pounds as it launches the first major statewide effort to recycle Christmas lights.  One of the group’s main goals is to promote energy savings and efficiency.  It is estimated that recycling copper from Christmas lights uses only about 10 percent of the energy it would take to extract and process copper ore.  RAM also hopes to encourage people to consider buying LED lights as part of this effort.

Recycling 50,000 pounds of lights in Minnesota would save about 530,000 kilowatt hours, or about 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s assuming 20,000 pounds of lights are replaced by LEDs and that homeowners with lights use them for about six hours a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

If you and your family or your organization would like to participate, it is recommended that you set up a collection box for your employees or customers.  Then, simply bring any of your non-working holiday lights to the local Pine City collection site through January 15, 2010.  The lights will be collected here and then sent to a recycler where the lights are removed, the pvc insulation line is shredded and the wire separated for recycling.

For more information, click here.

To find out where the collection site nearest you is, E-mail:

Information taken in part from the Initiative Foundation “Things to Know”.

Walkable Workshop Rescheduled

walk.jpgPlease accept this invitation to attend a Walkable Communities Workshop in Pine City rescheduled to Monday, Sept. 14.  This workshop is part of an effort to make our city more pedestrian friendly and is put on by area resident Lisa Perlick of Isanti County Active Living with the help of the Initiative Foundation.

The workshop will be held from 4:30-6:00 P.M. in the Community Room at City Hall, at 300 5th Street SE.  Help develop realistic strategies to make Pine City a safe and more pleasant place to walk and thereby improve the health local residents.

At the workshop, learn more about successful pedestrian design, safety, education, enforcement and encouragement.  Attendees will relate these concepts specifically to the city by studying a walking area during the workshop.   A walking audit of this area will identify obstacles to walking and suggest potential short-term and long-term solutions.   Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for the weather that day.

We hope you participate in this important workshop.   Please call Lisa Perlick at 763-552-3254 or Nathan Johnson, city planner, at 320-629-2575 to RSVP or with questions.