Community Foundation(s): Brainerd Lakes Area
Award: 2019 Woman Making Waves Award from the BLACF Women's Fund
Ruth Gmeinder is a busy entrepreneur and hostess, operating Gull Lake Resort. Yet, she still finds time to “make some waves”, positively influencing the Brainerd Lakes Area. Ruth is a generous, kind, and talented community member who invests time and resources into several organizations and groups.
Raised in Brainerd most of her life, she attended Brainerd High School and graduated from the University of Minnesota as a Dietician. She has owned and operated Gull Lake Resort for 32 years, with her husband Mike. She is married with two sons and three grandchildren. Her passions are travel, gardening, art, design and music; Nature is a constant in her life. According to friend, Linda Hanson, Ruth is always up for an adventure - - she is involved with a kayaking group and enjoys traveling and outdoor adventures. Ruth is incredibly talented and has a vision for large scale, impossible projects that somehow she makes reality. She is an amazing seamstress and can produce Broadway/Hollywood quality costumes and props of which she generously shares with local non-profits and organizations for fundraising events.
Ruth has served on too many boards and committees to count, some of the most notable ones are included in the following. Ruth has been a board member of the Brainerd Rotary Club, the Brainerd Rotary Foundation, and loves to cook for their ditch pick up. She was a member of the School Board for 20 years, Community Education, Family Services Collaborative, Early Childhood Family Education, Joint Powers, now called Sourcewell, the Brainerd Lakes Community Foundation, the Women’s Fund, and Essentia Home Care and Ethics committee. She has been involved with organizations by donating her costumes to Lakes Area Music Festival, GLAPA, the Northland Arboretum’s Haunted Trail, and numerous other organizations. Ruth annually brings over 50 of her medieval costumes to the Boy Scout Parker Castle for all the Lowell third graders to try on and enjoy. Ruth has always worked with women, and she started the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program for Crow Wing County in 1979, and was a member of the Child Protection Team.
Ruth has an amazing ability to convince people to volunteer. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Vicki Foss, Executive Director at Northland Arboretum states, “Ruth is responsible for 50% of the volunteer base for the Haunted Trail through her contacts. Many of the volunteers that she has secured for the event are now members of the Arb because of their experience at the Haunted Trail. The Haunted Trail, through her leadership and vision, has become one of our biggest fundraising events and now includes a low-scare option as well as the high scare route. This and the wonderful costumes and props she provides has increased the popularity of the event in the community with families and generated over $200,000 in revenue.”
Scott Lykins, Artistic & Executive Director of Lakes Area Music Festival, shared, “I first met Ruthie at an event where she had one of her intricate costumes on display. That year at the Lakes Area Music Festival we were presenting our very first opera and I asked if she might have anything we could use. Not only did she have something, but she invited us over to her costume house and generously provided every costume and prop necessary to make our cast look as incredible as they sounded. Every year she has participated on our team, providing what would be incredibly costly for work and materials without charge. On top of that she generously donates to our organization to ensure our continued success and she participates as a volunteer in numerous other ways. Ruth does all of this on top of her many other generous commitments throughout our community.”