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Star of the Northland Awards recognize special longtime partners

At the Northland Foundation's 30th anniversary annual dinner, five longtime partners were honored as "Stars of the Northland". Each awardee was recognized for their friendship, ongoing support, and dedication to the vitality of northeastern Minnesota. We are so grateful to these incredible supporters.

awardeesHonorees with Northland staff and board. Front row, l to r: Leo and Toni Monster; Steve Downing, Chair; Sister Kathleen Hofer; Aimee Curtis. Back row, l to r: Tony Sertich, President; Dr. Timothy Zager; Dr. David Herman; Diane Rauschenfels, Immediate Past Chair; Alan Hodnik; Ron Alston.

Toni and Leo Monster have a wonderful history of service to the region and the Foundation. Toni was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2001 and charter member of the Emeritus Trustee Group. The Monsters are major, multi-year donors, as well as Legacy Friends of the Northland who have stated their intent to include the Foundation in their estate plans.

The McKnight Foundation founded the Northland Foundation and five other Minnesota Initiative Foundations in 1986 and has remained our greatest benefactor. To date, McKnight has provided $55 million to advance Northland's mission, and made significant investments in the Early Childhood Initiative and PreK-3rd Grade efforts in this region and statewide.

Blandin Foundation has been an outstanding partner in rural northeastern Minnesota, starting with its first grant to Northland in 1988. To date, Blandin has invested $1.25 million to support an array of initiatives to help ensure thriving rural communities, from early childhood to Business Flood Recovery Grants to countless regional learning opportunities.

Minnesota Power Foundation has provided $945,000 for an array of KIDS PLUS, Grant Program, Business Finance Program, and economic development efforts. In 2000, Minnesota Power helped establish the Youth In Philanthropy Board and has made significant contributions, including for the coming school year, to support grantmaking by and for young people.

Essentia Health has been a steadfast partner for 25 straight years, providing $825,000 to date. Essentia Health contributed for 24 of those years to our Grant Program to benefit children, youth, and older adults; to Thrive, our infant and early childhood mental health initiative; and, most recently, with a major grant to the KIDS PLUS Twin Ports Youth Leadership Academy.

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