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Initiative Foundation to honor Andersons, Bridges Career Academies

The Initiative Foundation announced Monday it will honor a Brainerd couple for outstanding generosity and Bridges Career Academies as an outstanding nonprofit at its regional Initiative Awards next month.

In addition the foundation will honor an outstanding business and a community at its regional Initiative Awards on Oct. 11 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. The event recognizes outstanding leadership, innovation and community impact in central Minnesota.

Jim and Linnea Anderson, owners of Anderson Brothers Construction, are the recipients of the foundation’s Outstanding Generosity Award, sponsored by Bremer Bank. The Brainerd couple has anonymously supported a number of charitable organizations with a special focus on children and families, economic development and environmental preservation. The Andersons have also partnered with the Initiative Foundation to establish a charitable fund to leave a legacy in the Brainer lakes area.

Bridges Career Academies was selected for the Outstanding Nonprofit Award sponsored by Clow Stamping. The organization creates a link between schools and businesses to expose students to local career opportunities, pathways and skills for high-wage, high-demand jobs. Developed in partnership with business leaders and the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber, programs are currently offered in 23 school districts across central Minnesota. Bridges Career Academies has earned several grants from the Initiative Foundation.

The foundation selected Braham to receive its Outstanding Community Award, sponsored by East Central Energy. The rural city of 1,800, better known as “The Pie Capital of Minnesota,” engaged citizen volunteers to lead community improvement and rebranding efforts with assistance from the Initiative Foundation. Braham’s accomplishments include the recent construction of a new community center, funded almost entirely by profits from a local thrift store.

Microbiologics of St. Cloud will receive the foundation’s Outstanding Enterprise Award, sponsored by Schlenner Wenner & Co. Locally owned and founded in 1971, the company manufactures quality-control microorganisms to prevent contamination of food, water and the environment around the globe. Recognizing its mission to ensure “a safer, healthier world,” the award will highlight the company’s economic impact, public-private partnerships, and culture of innovation. The Initiative Foundation has invested in the growth of Microbiologics through its business financing program.

“Our award winners represent what is possible to achieve with ingenuity and inspiration,” said Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president. “We’re proud to bring their accomplishments to light.”

Each award recipient will receive an original glass sculpture by artist, Michael Tonder, and $1,000 for the charity of their choice.

The foundation’s themed awards event, “Let’s Glow”, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Oct. 11 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. More information is available online at <> or by contacting Katie Riitters at, 877-632-9255.

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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