Tuesday, May 24, 2011

St. Cloud Nonprofit Breakfast Tackles "New Normal"

Nearly 100 nonprofit leaders from the St. Cloud area joined Bremer Bank and Otto Bremer Foundation (OBF) staff May 17 to recognize the 2010 recipients of OBF grants. Last year, 29 local nonprofits received $1.4 million in Bremer grant dollars. Recipients ranged from the Girl Scouts to St. Cloud Crisis Nursery to the local hospital. Grants were used to fund a diverse range of needs from renovating buildings, launching youth mentoring projects, providing childcare to at-risk families and offering legal assistance to victims of domestic abuse.

Nonprofit Resource Specialist Kathy Grochow opened the breakfast event by introducing the theme of the “New Normal” that nonprofits must now grapple with in order to survive and thrive in the current economy.

Charter President Tom Rickers (pictured above) provided an overview of Bremer Bank’s financial performance and highlighted Bremer market differentiators, including local decision-making and the bank’s commitment to individualized solutions. Rickers ended by looking forward and discussing the need to do things a little differently as all organizations embrace the ‘new normal’ in an effort to succeed.

Leaders from two local nonprofits offered some perspective on the event theme. Executives with Good Shepherd Community discussed their commitment to changing their own culture and business model to meet the changing needs of their clients. And Catholic Charities leadership discussed the role and value of a Board of Directors. Steve Bresnahan, executive director of St. Cloud’s Catholic Charities shared a couple best practices with the audience related to Boards, encouraging them to provide clear expectations for Board members and identifying ‘critical’ responsibilities to help Board members better manage their time.

Representatives from the Otto Bremer Foundation were on hand to discuss the Foundation’s mission and outline some specific focus areas for funding. The morning ended with Teresa Morrow, Bremer’s corporate communications director, leading the audience through several exercises that pushed them to think differently and identify community priorities.

Kathy Grochow, NRS, St. Cloud

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