St. Joseph Restaurateur Mackbee Joins Foundation’s Board
May 5, 2022
Matt Varilek, president of the Initiative Foundation, announced today that Mateo Mackbee, co-owner of Krewe Restaurant and Flour & Flower bakery in St. Joseph, has been appointed to the Foundation's Board of Trustees.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mateo to our distinguished Board of Trustees,” Varilek said. “Mateo has been a solid partner of the Foundation, and he will be a great fit and complement to the other leaders and decision-makers from across Central Minnesota who guide our work."
Mackbee grew up in Bloomington, Minn., and now makes his home in St. Joseph with his partner, Erin Rae. They co-own and operate Krewe, a nationally renowned New Orleans heritage restaurant, and Flour & Flower, an artisan bakery and flower shop. The couple partnered with the Initiative Foundation on a loan to open the businesses in early 2020.
“Mateo knows the ins and outs of small business ownership,” Varilek said. “So much of our work at the Foundation involves helping our region’s entrepreneurs overcome challenges on the road to success. Mateo’s expertise with community-based entrepreneurship will help us to be even more effective.”
Prior to opening their St. Joseph businesses, Mackbee and Rae owned and operated Model Citizen, a restaurant in New London. The duo also operated a nonprofit, Model Citizen Youth Farm, to use the power of food and its cultivation to grow the leaders of tomorrow. It’s that idea—to be a model citizen—that Mackbee would like to perpetuate through his service on the Initiative Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
“I hope to [reinforce] the idea that it is possible for a person of color to be successful in Central Minnesota,” Mackbee said. “I want to be the reflection in the mirror … for everyone who may dare to dream to own a business and live in a rural Central Minnesota community.”
Mackbee enjoys playing golf, bowling, fishing, traveling, working on old cars and motorcycles and spending time outdoors with Rae and their chocolate lab, Oliver.
“The communities in Central Minnesota are some of the best places I have lived in,” he said, “and to be able to continue my family’s legacy of serving community is both a privilege and an honor.”
Mackbee began his three-year term on May 1 and is eligible to serve up to three terms. He joins 14 other regional leaders who help shape, guide and inform the Initiative Foundation in its regional mission to empower people throughout Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity.
About the Initiative Foundation
The Initiative Foundation supports a 14-county service area that includes Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties and the sovereign tribal nations of the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe. Based in Little Falls, the Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities in Central Minnesota by offering business loans, nonprofit grants, leadership training and donor services through its Partner Funds programs. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds have invested multiple millions in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.