Current, past Allete leaders hope you take the chairmen’s fundraising challengeFour current and past board chairmen of Allete have banded together to kick-start an effort to develop young leaders in the community.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Four current and past board chairmen of Allete have banded together to kick-start an effort to develop young leaders in the community.
The four men and their wives have promised to match up to $135,000 in new gifts and pledges made to the Young Leaders Fund, a new endowment with the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation to help get young people involved and active in the community.
“Encouraging young people to take leadership roles is part of making us a better community and helps them develop into good leaders,” said Arend “Sandy” Sandbulte, Allete chairman from 1989 to 1996, who spearheaded the effort with his wife, Verna.
It was Sandbulte, a foundation trustee, who recruited current Allete chairman, president and CEO Al Hodnik and his wife, Ericka; and former chairmen Don Shippar (2006-11) and his wife, Pat; and Bruce Stender (2004-05) and his wife, Kaye.
“I’m fading from the scene, more so than the other three,” Sandbulte said, joking that he was from the days when dinosaurs roamed. “We have to develop young leaders or else there will be a void when the old leaders disappear from the scene.”
All four were excited about the idea of funding the Young Leaders Fund, he said.
The result — the Allete Chairmen’s Circle Challenge — will be announced this afternoon at the annual celebration of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
“It’s such an incredible tie to Allete and Minnesota Power,” said Holly C. Sampson, foundation president. “Not only has each of these indicated this is important to them, but with retirements, it is also critical for the company to actually bring in young people to Minnesota Power and Allete.”
The Young Leaders Fund was formed a few years ago on the recommendation of a task force looking into ways to attract and maintain young adults in the community. The foundation formed the task force when the Twin Ports showed a decline in its 25- to 34-year age group even as the college-age population increased by 50 percent, Sampson said.
The fund was up and running in 2009, with an advisory committee dispersing about $1,000 in grants per year from direct contributions to the fund.
The grants have focused on helping young adults get involved in the local arts community, including with Renegade Theater Company and the Duluth Playhouse, and in leadership training with Leadership Duluth and Leadership Superior/Douglas County.
But now the foundation is working to set up an endowment for the Young Leaders Fund, with the grants coming from its earnings. The goal is a $370,000 endowment, which would allow the advisory committee to award $15,000 to $18,000 in grants per year.
So far, $100,000 has been raised. The $135,000 contributed by the Allete Chairmen’s Circle in matching contributions will get the foundation to its goal if the community responds to the challenge, Sampson said.
On behalf of M&I Bank, soon to be BMO Harris Bank, community bank president Jim Zastrow has pledged the first $10,000 toward that match.
“The Young Leaders Fund is a great way to promote our area and the quality of life we have here for young people,” Zastrow said. “And ultimately it benefits all of us when young people stay in the community to live and work.”
He said he hopes others will follow with more contributions toward the match.
“That will be a real win for the community, and ultimately for the Young Leaders Fund,” he said.
Future grants from the new endowment will continue to help young adults, especially women, emerge as community leaders, Sampson said. Those grants will go toward leadership training, mentoring and internship opportunities and ways to attract and maintain talented young people and encourage philanthropic efforts.
“We are just so grateful for the Allete Chairmen’s Circle,” Sampson said. “They have given not only their financial support but personal support. We’re just thrilled to have them involved. It will bring a sense of importance to this work in a real special way.”
If you go
Openings remain for the annual celebration of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation today in the Harbor Side Ballroom of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The program, highlighting the foundation’s accomplishments in 2011, will run from 3:45-5 p.m., followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should call (218) 726-0232 to ensure space is available.