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Voerding Named Vice President for Inclusive Entrepreneurship

July 13, 2021

Seasoned community builder to lead Business Finance, Initiators Fellowship and Enterprise Academy programs

LITTLE FALLS, MINN.--The Initiative Foundation, a regional foundation with a focus on economic and community development in the 14 counties of Central Minnesota, has announced that Brian Voerding has joined the organization as vice president for inclusive entrepreneurship.

Brian_Voerding_125x175px_Web.jpgBrian’s primary role will be to lead the Foundation's Business Finance, Initiators Fellowship and Enterprise Academy programs. He succeeds Jeff Wig, who retired on July 1 after serving more than five successful years with the Initiative Foundation. We're pleased to share that Jeff will continue to work with the Initiative Foundation in a consultancy role.

Originally from Montrose in Wright County, Brian joins the Initiative Foundation team after founding and serving as executive director of Engage Winona, a grassroots community initiative and social enterprise venture that works to ensure local people have access, voice and power in community planning, decision-making and change-making.

Prior to his community engagement efforts, Brian was executive editor of the Winona Daily News. He earned his undergraduate degrees in behavioral psychology and music from Hamline University and his master’s degree in organizational leadership from St. Mary’s University. Brian also is a 2013 graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership program.

“I look forward to providing support and sustainable resources to Central Minnesota’s current and future entrepreneurs,” Voerding said. “My goal is to address the barriers and challenges that can prevent our small business leaders from realizing their dreams.”

An anchor in Central Minnesota for 35 years, the Initiative Foundation awards nonprofit grants, provides business financing and technical assistance, hosts Partner Funds and leads a variety of leadership programs that enable citizens to build stronger communities. Learn more at ifound.org.

"Brian’s passion for the work of the Foundation, and his experience as a social entrepreneur and leader, make him a natural fit,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. "He brings a strong history of community engagement, he has family roots in our region, and he truly understands the key role that access to capital, training and technical assistance can play in driving small business success."

About the Initiative Foundation

Celebrating its 35-year anniversary in 2021, the Initiative Foundation exists to empower people throughout Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity by offering business financing, technical assistance, nonprofit grants, donor services and leadership training. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested more than $100 million in targeted grants and loans in its effort to support and diversity Central Minnesota.

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