Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


MinnPost gets Blandin grant for rural coverage


I am pleased to announce that the Blandin Foundation has awarded a three-year grant totaling $225,000. We will use the grant to substantially increase our reporting and commentary on rural issues and communities, and to connect with more readers in Greater Minnesota.

Blandin is the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota. Its board approved the grant at its June meeting. This is MinnPost’s second major foundation grant; the Knight Foundation in Miami awarded $250,000 to help launch MinnPost last year.

Susan Albright, one of MinnPost’s managing editors, will oversee increased reporting and commentary on rural issues and communities. Susan is looking for a number of experienced journalists based in Greater Minnesota to join our group of more than 50 freelancers. To be considered – or to recommend journalists whose work you know – email salbright [at] minnpost [dot] com. She also is looking for new contributors from around the state to write occasional opinion pieces for our Community Voices section.

MinnPost will also be hiring a part-time outreach coordinator to help us build readership, paid membership and visibility in communities around Minnesota. Candidates for outreach coordinator may currently be living anywhere in the state, including the metro area, but should be familiar with rural Minnesota issues and places. If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, email our office manager, Gin Kujawa, at vkujawa [at] minnpost [dot] com by July 2.

Two other pieces of good news:

MinnPost has reached the milestone of 900 paid annual members. Members are encouraged to donate at least $50 a year (although smaller donations are accepted), and some of our members have given $5,000 or $10,000. If you would like to launch us toward the next milestone of 1,000 members, click HERE to donate online. MinnPost is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

The MinnPost board of directors elected five new members at its June meeting. The board oversees the strategy and financial health of MinnPost, but plays no role in journalism decisions including what to cover or how. New members:

• Vernae Hasbargen was executive director of the Minnesota Rural Education Association from 1990 to 2007, and serves on the boards of several nonprofits. She will chair a new advisory board for MinnPost’s rural outreach initiative.

• Samuel Heins is a governor of the law firm Heins Mills & Olson, and has extensive experience in complex litigation. He has served as president of both the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Minnesota Center for Victims of Torture.

• Mark Lindsay is national vice president for strategic business development for the Public Sector Group of United Health Care. He previously served in the Clinton White House as assistant to the president for management and administration.

• Jennifer Martin is chair of the Martin and Brown Foundation and serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations in Minnesota.

• Chris (Oshikata) Widdess is managing director at Penumbra Theatre Company, where she recently completed a four-year restructuring of the enterprise’s finances.

New members join Lee Lynch (chair), John Satorius (secretary), Kathleen Hansen (treasurer), David Cox, Patrick Irestone and myself on the MinnPost board. John Cowles is an emeritus board member.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Bill Siegel on 06/20/2008 - 11:54 am.

    I’m really excited about the expanded coverage for rural minnesota, keep up the great work!

  2. Submitted by Steve Borsch on 06/22/2008 - 11:26 pm.

    Really good news Joel!

    Another of their initiatives I’m watching closely, Blandin Broadband, is a vital focus for our State as well as something important to MinnPost (broadband users spend more time online doing things like reading) and the site I’m involved in, Minnov8, since broadband is a critical catalyst for Internet and Web innovation.

    There are several innovative things occurring outstate in the areas of broadband that Blandin is facilitating (this map will give a taste: and their support of MinnPost is yet one more way in which they’re clearly seeing the future of news and realizing the opportunity you represent for our State.

Leave a Reply