Kathleen Annette is new Blandin Foundation CEO

Kathleen Annette has been named the Blandin Foundation’s new president and CEO. She’s currently the  acting deputy director for field operations of Indian Health Service.

The private foundation, based in Grand Rapids, says much of its efforts go to foster “educational attainment, economic opportunity and broader inclusion in rural Minnesota communities, so all residents have greater opportunities to prosper.”

Annette had served as a Blandin board member from 1991 to 2003 and has headed the Blandin Foundation American Indian Advisory Committee since 2004. She’s a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

Marian Barcus, chairman of the foundation’s board, said in a statement:

“Kathy has deep appreciation for the mission of this foundation and has been a long-time partner in our work. She will be an excellent guide for the Foundation’s continued journey, contributing to the vitality of the Itasca County area, investing in rural community leaders statewide and expanding opportunity for rural Minnesota residents through education, economy and inclusion.”

Annette succeeds Jim Hoolihan, the foundation’s CEO since 2004, who will leave Oct. 1 to return to the private sector.

The foundation was founded in 1941 by paper company magnate Charles K. Blandin. His first grant of $600 went for a community park in 1943 and, since then, the Blandin Foundation has approved 5,600 grants totaling $336 million.

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