Building a Strong Foundation for the Future of Our Region
Tom Renier, the founding president of the Northland Foundation, recently announced his plans to retire in December 2014. During his 28 years of leadership, the Foundation has grown from a modest grant-making entity into a multifaceted organization recognized for its innovative work on behalf of the region and all of rural Minnesota.
The Northland Foundation’s first Board hired Tom shortly after the Foundation was established in 1986. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission before moving on to found the Northspan Group. Tom’s passion for a sustainable regional economy as an essential ingredient to community well-being helped shape the Foundation’s role in both the economic development and philanthropic sectors.
Among the many milestones reached during Tom’s tenure, the Northland Foundation has:
Raised $110 million from public and private sources, primarily from outside the region, to support programming within northeastern Minnesota.
Built an unrestricted endowment now exceeding $60 million.
Provided over $54 million in loans to small and medium-sized businesses, leveraging over $280 million in additional investments to help create and save 6,700 jobs.
Awarded more than $28 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving the region.
Created the nationally recognized KIDS PLUS Program, which includes multiple children and youth-focused initiatives respected for their innovation and impact.
Developed three assisted living facilities in small communities in the region to provide high-quality housing-with-services for rural older adults, with the majority of residents receiving elderly waiver financial assistance.
Engaged tens of thousands of community members, and funding and program partners to make this region a better place to grow up, live, work, and grow older.
Tom will continue to serve our region and state through a number of high-impact boards, which currently include Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; Labovitz School of Business and Economics; Marshall H. and Nellie Alworth Memorial Scholarship Fund, and Essentia Health - East Region.
A Search Committee has been formed and engaged the executive search firm Ballinger/Leafblad. Diane Rauschenfels, who is chairing the committee, has stated that the Board of Trustees hopes to make a decision and announce their selection by November 2014.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees has elected Tom Renier to serve as the new chair. Margaret Anderson Kelliher was elected to serve as vice chair. Clarence Hightower, the immediate past chair, ended his 12 years of MnSCU service on June 30.
“As Trustees Renier and Anderson Kelliher begin their new roles on our Board of Trustees, I look forward to working with them and with the entire Board to help the people of our state create a better future for themselves, for their families, and for their communities.” —Chancellor Steven Rosenstone
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees appointed by the governor. The Board has policy responsibility for system planning, academic programs, fiscal management, personnel, admissions requirements, tuition and fees, and rules and regulations.
The MnSCU system includes 24 two-year community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.
Renier has served on the MnSCU Board of Trustees since 2004. He was reappointed to a second six-year term in 2010.