Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation leader to retire

Holly Sampson
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After 30 years at the helm of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Holly Sampson has announced her plans to step down from her post as the nonprofit's president and CEO on June 30.

Under her leadership, the foundation has grown from having $6 million under its management to $79 million today.

The Community Foundation's mission is to encourage private giving for the public good through a community endowment. Since its inception in 1983, the organization has given out more than $59 million in grants and scholarships. It also has established more than 430 funds.

Sampson, 65, issued a statement, saying: "It has been an honor and a privilege to lead his organization and work with so many people dedicated to the quality of life of our region. We have touched and improved lives in the Northland. Every day has been exciting, inspiring and rewarding for me."

Nevertheless, she said: "This is the right time to move to the next chapter, for the Community Foundation and for me. I will work with the board of trustees on a transition plan that ensures the strength and health of this organization so it can continue to support the strength and health of this special place we call home."


Some of the foundation's accomplishments under Sampson's watch have included:

  • The creation of the Speak Your Peace Civility Project to encourage civic engagement and civil discourse.
  • The development of Opportunity Rising, an initiative that aims to narrow the opportunity gap between wealthy and poor children in the Twin Ports.
  • Establishing TwinPortsConnects to help young people, and students in particular, find jobs that enable them to stay in the region — a program that merged with Northforce in 2012.
  • Helping to establish a disaster preparation and recovery program, Ready North, after a 2012 flood inflicted more than $200 million in damage on the region.
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