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Babcock, Bauerly, Shurts join Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees

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LITTLE FALLS — The Initiative Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of three new trustees to its board: John J. Babcock of St. Cloud, Rick Bauerly of Sauk Rapids and Steve Shurts of Cambridge.

The addition of Babcock, Bauerly and Shurts brings the board of trustees to full strength with a 15-member team that guides and oversees the Initiative Foundation in its mission to serve economic and community development and philanthropic giving in its 14-county region of central Minnesota. Each new trustee is appointed to a renewable three-year term.

“The passion and expertise that John, Rick and Steve bring makes them excellent additions to the Initiative Foundation board of trustees as we address the challenges and opportunities facing Central Minnesota businesses and communities,” said Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president.

Babcock is president of St. Martin-based Rotochopper Inc. He has an accounting degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a law degree from Seattle University School of Law. He has served in the past as a member of the Initiative Foundation’s business finance committee and its seed committee for startup ventures.

“I hope to give time and talent and to provide leadership to the Initiative Foundation,” Babcock said. “I believe business has the tools to cure most societal ills, and we need only adapt and focus these tools on our social problems to achieve great human progress.”

Bauerly is the founder and managing partner at Granite Equity Partners. He also is executive director of the Anderson Center, a nonprofit organization that provides management and leadership development services for Greater Minnesota organizations, and serves on the boards of GeoComm and DeZURIK, Inc. Bauerly is a graduate of Saint John’s University and has master’s degrees in business and public administration from Harvard University.

“I think education, training and development can do so much for our economy, community and philanthropy,” Bauerly said. “The Initiative Foundation has played a key role in providing strategies, programs, resources and collaborative opportunities. I hope to lend an idea, a hand, an encouraging word, an introduction, and financial support toward the Foundation’s mission.”

Shurts is president and chief executive officer of Braham-based East Central Energy. He has spent more than three decades in the utility and energy business and has a master’s of business administration from the University of St. Thomas.

“The Initiative Foundation is a key driver in the economic vitality of central Minnesota,” Shurts said. “I hope I can help the Foundation team think strategically, looking ahead while understanding the past. We are a different country and a different region today than we were just 20 years ago, so we need to adapt our thinking and planning.”

The Initiative Foundation goal is to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities within its 14-county region of central Minnesota by offering leadership training, business loans, nonprofit grants and donor services. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation reports it has invested more than $67.4 million in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments, including: 4,071 grants totaling $25.1 million; 701 scholarships totaling $620,172; 892 business financing investments totaling $42.3 million, securing more than 11,749 quality jobs; the leveraging of $259 million in private business investment; and 6,340 community leaders trained.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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