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Click on the individual links below to read more about some of the amazing people making a difference in our communities.
Use the search toolbar for a complete listing of all of our CommunityGiving stories.
Lee and Penny Anderson were the recipients of the BLACF 2015 Award in Philanthropy and recognized for the passion for education, medical science and veterans.
Jim and Linnea Anderson, Brainerd graduates and the owners of Anderson Brothers Construction, were the recipients of the 2016 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.
The legacies of Doug and Elaine Arndt continues to live on in their charitable gifts to the Brainerd Lakes communities and organizations.
A commitment to serve and make a difference earned Kathy and Bruce Buxton the 2008 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.
Business partners Kevin Close and Rod Converse received the Brainerd Lakes Area Foundation 2011 Award in Philanthropy for their role in starting the Foundation.
The Cote family, owner of Grand View Lodge, received the 2010 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, recognizing their long-term commitment to community causes in the Brainerd Lakes area.
Dutch and Irma Cragun have a history. Craguns Resort was founded in the 1940’s and has been operating in the family for more than 75 years, employing thousands of people during that time. They have assisted with the growth and development of the Brainerd Lakes Area tourism industry. However, it is the Cragun’s passion for the arts and their commitment to veterans that makes them truly deserving of receiving the Award in Philanthropy.
By establishing a donor advised fund through the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, LaVonne Danzl has carried forward her husband Bob's generous spirit.
Stacy Erholtz received live measles virus as a treatment to kill the multiple myeloma cancer cells in her body. In June 2014, Stacy started a fund with the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation to serve as a catalyst to raise necessary funds to assist in manufacturing this treatment.
Mildred ”Millie” Gjertson was an environmentalist and traveler, who in her lifetime visited all 50 states, all while keeping journals and keepsakes from her many trips. However, it is what Millie has given and left behind that will be her biggest legacy.
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.
Catherine Gustafson designed a donor advised fund which was funded at her death and named her three daughters as advisors for the fund. They focus their giving on children and health issues.
Long-time Brainerd philanthropist Fran Holden hoped her generosity and philanthropic mindset was an example for others to follow.
The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation recognized Paul and Lynn Hunt with the 2013 Award in Philanthropy as BLACF celebrated its 15th anniversary.
Small business owners Arnie and JoAnn Johnson received the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s 2009 Award in Philanthropy for their commitment to the community.
Hope Lindman prefers to give anonymously, but spurred by the thought that her example could prompt others to support the Lakes Area Police Chaplaincy, she agreed to be acknowledged.
Annabelle's Fund was established by her parents, Mark and Elle Loschko, after her death in 2002 to support organizations like Caring Bridge and Campy Odayin, a camp for children with heart disease.
Virginia and the late Kenneth Merrill were selected as the 2020 BLACF Award in Philanthropy Recipients. The Merrills have displayed a passion for helping others and bettering our communities. They have assisted with the growth and development of Crosslake and the surrounding areas through supporting nonprofit organizations and the City of Crosslake operations.
The 2022 recipient of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s (BLACF) Award in Philanthropy was the Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union (MMFCU).
The Mills family is the epitome of a multi-generational example of philanthropy in our community. Stewart C. Mills Jr. was taught philanthropy from a young age. His father had him deliver turkeys with the trimmings to families anonymously on Thanksgiving every year when he was a boy.
Bernie and Linda Roberts were selected as the 2007 Award in Philanthropy recipients from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (BLACF) and recognized for their philanthropic leadership. They also established a donor advised fund in March 1999.
The Ruttger Family was the recipient of the 2018 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.
Retired Schaefer Fan owners, Ron and Darlene established a fund with Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation to benefit the homeless, youth at risk, animals and women in transition.
Paul Severson, M.D., Surgeon at CRMC, was selected to receive the inaugural BLACF Global Humanitarian Award in recognition of his kindness, generosity, and passion for helping others.
John Sullivan, one of the founders of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, received the foundation's inaugural Award in Philanthropy at the foundation's annual dinner in July 2004.
Thesing, co-owner of Lakes Printing in Brainerd, received the 2012 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation for his commitment to giving back in business and life.
The children of Joe and Teresa Zeleny established an endowed fund after their parents passed away. The fund provides annual support for nine different organizations whose missions were valued by Joe and Teresa.