By Rob Karwath
A discussion among grantees and a scholarship recipient about the impact of charitable giving in the Northland was among the highlights at the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation’s 2018 Annual Celebration.
More than 300 donors, supporters, community leaders, nonprofit partners and others attended the event in the Greysolon Ballroom in downtown Duluth. The event is the annual meeting where the Community Foundation assesses its work and announces new members of its Board of Trustees.
The theme of this year’s event was “So Much Good,” a recognition of work underway on many fronts, from grants that have led to significant and innovative community improvements to scholarships allowing students to pursue higher education.
The event featured two panel discussions highlighting examples of work underway in the region with the support of the Community Foundation and its donors. Panelists included:
. Elissa Hansen, a member of the Duluth City Council and the current council president, who discussed why the council recently re-adopted Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project as the guide for all of its work. Speak Your Peace is one of the most recognized initiatives of the Community Foundation and is celebrating its 15th anniversary helping communities improve by creating civil platforms that encourage civic engagement.
. Erin Metzger of St. Luke’s Hospital, who is part of a team doing groundbreaking work to address mental health needs of individuals in Duluth and to get them help, stopping what can be a vicious cycle of circling in and out of institutions.
. David Kropid, an attorney in Superior and a member of the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, who is helping lead efforts to narrow the Opportunity Gap in the Twin Ports through a three-year-old initiative called Opportunity Rising.
. Andy Gunderson, coach of the Duluth Denfeld High School Robotics Team, which is the recipient of a Community Foundation grant designed to encourage STEM education.
. Gordon Ringberg, mayor of Bayfield, Wisconsin, who was part of a group that brought Lake Superior tall ships to young people in his community through a Community Foundation grant.
. Samantha Marholtz of Duluth, a student at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, who is the recipient of a Community Foundation scholarship.
“So Much Good really is about the efforts of all of our stakeholders to give back and give to each other to make our region stronger,” said Community Foundation President Holly C. Sampson. “We are delighted with all of the work underway and all of the support from our donors that makes it possible. This event is an opportunity to celebrate and to say thank you.”
Also at the event, the Community Foundation announced that it raised a record $2.9 million in the past year, that it has now awarded $53.7 million in grants and scholarships since its inception in 1983 and that it has more than 400 charitable funds under management.
In addition, the organization welcomed two new members to its Board of Trustees: Brenda Brannan, chief wealth management officer at North Shore Investments and Trust, and Wendy Meierhoff Aldrich, vice president of marketing and sales at BendTec Inc. Board officers for the coming year will be: Kropid, president; Bethany Owen, senior vice president of ALLETE, vice president; Teresa O’Toole, chief legal officer at Essentia Health in Duluth, treasurer; and David Montgomery, chief administrative officer for the City of Duluth, treasurer.