Nayquonabe Joins Foundation's Board of Trustees
August 10, 2017
LITTLE FALLS, Minn. -- Matt Varilek, president of the Initiative Foundation, announced today that Joe Nayquonabe Jr. has been appointed to the Board of Trustees.
"Joe is a great friend of the Foundation and a supporter of its work," Varilek said. "The passion and expertise that he brings to our organization will help immensely as we advance our community and economic development strategies to support cradle-to-career initiatives throughout our region."
A cornerstone in Central Minnesota for more than three decades, the Initiative Foundation provides business financing and technical assistance, awards nonprofit grants, hosts Partner Funds and leads a variety of leadership programs that enable citizens to build stronger communities.
As chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors for Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, Nayquonabe is credited with diversifying the Mille Lacs Band's holdings. While keeping Grand Casino at the forefront, Nayquonabe and his team expanded the Band's business portfolio to include four business lines: gaming, marketing, local businesses (within the Districts of the Mille Lacs Band Reservation) and hospitality. The hospitality venture includes the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront, DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Saint Paul and DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis Park Place. Revenue from the band's non-gaming businesses has climbed from $8 million to more than $100 million under Nayquonabe's supervision.
Over the past 10 years I have been fortunate to be able to volunteer for several nonprofit organizations, and in each case I have gained invaluable experiences and deepened community connections through the opportunity to practice servant leadership," Nayquonabe said. "I look forward to bringing unique perspectives based on my experiences and cultural values to my role with the Initiative Foundation as I work with my fellow board members to help move the organization's priorities forward."
In addition to his work on behalf of the band, Nayquonabe serves on the National Diversity Advisory Board for the University of Minnesota, the American Indian Advisory Board for St. Cloud State University, the American Red Cross Minneapolis Region and Friends of Como Zoo.
Nayquonabe has a bachelor's degree in marketing from St. Cloud State University, a master's degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and a master's degree in tribal administration and governance from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
He and his wife, Christina, live in Onamia with their three daughters. In his spare time, Nayquonabe enjoys running marathons, studying the Ojibwe language and reading.