Tuesday, June 15, 2010

St. Cloud Honors 2009 Otto Bremer Foundation Grant Recipients

On May 25, 2010, St. Cloud held its ninth annual grant recognition breakfast, honoring 2009 Otto Bremer Foundation grant recipients. More than 90 people attended the breakfast, including representatives from local nonprofit organizations, government and businesses in the St. Cloud area.

The meeting kicked-off with an opening from Kathy Grochow, nonprofit resource specialist for Bremer in St. Cloud, who provided some background on Bremer’s commitment to building healthy communities and reflection on some key partnerships this past year. Tom Rickers, Bremer Bank St. Cloud President, followed providing some insight on the economy, Bremer’s financial position, Bremer’s commitment to client partnerships and Bremer’s most valued asset – the employees.

Several grantees shared unique partnerships or operating models that build strong, vibrant communities. The first highlight modeled a program whereby government reaches out through community organizations in attempt to address a social need. Greg Gack of the YMCA St. Cloud shared how they have leveraged their facility to partner with the county for supervised visits creating a safe space for families to reconnect.

The second highlight illustrates a bold new step that the Girls Scouts took in creatively leveraging its assets for the greatest impact by changing their operating model in order to remain strong in this new world. LeighAnn Davis, chief executive officer of the MN & WI Lakes & Pines Council shared the successes and challenges behind this transition as well as the positive impact on small councils during this difficult economic climate.

Lastly, Steve Howard of WACOSA and his team shared the impact of their partnership with the Benton-Stearns Education District to impact the chances of successful work outcomes following highschool graduation for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders as they transition to the next life stage.

The morning ended with a community dialogue, lead by Randi Roth, executive director of the Otto Bremer Foundation, on the successes and challenges facing the St. Cloud and surrounding area as well as ways in which to leverage or restructure the communities assets to create the greatest impact.

Through this brief dialogue, the Trustees of the Otto Bremer Foundation were able to gain an understanding of the most pressing needs that will create more effective grant-making strategies in the area.

Posted by Kathy Grochow, NRS, St. Cloud

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