What is the Blandin Foundation?

Blandin Foundation is a private independent foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Blandin Foundation believes that encouraging more sophisticated use of high-speed Internet is a critical component for increasing the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities. Blandin Foundation believes that high-speed access to the Internet is fundamental to vital communities. Since making rural broadband use and access a focus in 2003, Blandin Foundation has partnered with leaders in nearly 70 communities and 110 organizations across the state to create futures that are resilient, vibrant and connected. 

Why aren’t broadband service providers running this initiative?

In the past, broadband service providers haven’t necessarily been effective marketers. If communities in our county wish to remain economically vital, residents must take an active role in creating infrastructure and increasing the number of users, a situation similar to the historic precedents of rural electricity, telephone and transportation services. Only recently have residents begun to recognize Internet services as an essential core public service, like electricity, telephone, and waste removal services.  It is imperative our county residents understand the relatively low cost of market development and compare it to the economic benefits resulting from increased broadband use. Rather than say to the Internet service providers, “it’s your problem,” it is more important to say, “we need to meet this challenge together.”

Who Serves on the SherBand committee?

Sherburne County Broadband Coalition Steering Committee

Albert Kangas Palmer | Wireless| albert.kangas@corewg.com

Laura Kangas Palmer| Wireless| lkangas@palmerwireless.com

Barb Chaffee| Central MN Jobs and Training| bchaffee@cmjts.org

Brian Kamman| Sherburne County I.T.| brian.kamman@co.sherburne.mn.us

Amanda Othoudt*| City of Elk River| aothoudt@elkrivermn.gov

Charlie Blesener | ISD 728| charles.blesener@isd728.org

Dan Weber*| Sherburne County ED| dan.weber@co.sherburne.mn.us

Debbi Rydberg*| Elk River Chamber of Commerce| debbi@elkriverchamber.org

George Wallin| Wallin Advisement| gwallin@wallinadvisement.com

Greg Pruszinske| City of Becker Administrator| gpruszinske@ci.becker.mn.us

Janet Barlage| Sherburne Co. Veterans Services| janet.barlage@co.sherburne.mn.us

Jeannette Burkhardt*| Becker Library (GRRL)|  jeannetteb@grrl.lib.mn.us

Joe Samek| ISD 728| joseph.samek@elkriver.k12.mn.us

Jolene Foss*| Princeton Comm. Development| jfoss@princetonmn.org

Kevin Thompson| Data Success| kevin.thomspon@datasuccessinc.com

Kyle Breffle| Emergency Services Director| kyle.breffle@co.sherburne.mn.us

Mike Brubaker| Sherburne History Center| mbrubaker@sherburnehistorycenter.org

Paul Solsrud*|  Cooperative Networks| paulsolsrud@cooperative-netowrks.com

Rick Hendrickson| City of Becker City Council| rick@rnhweb.com

Scott Zettervall| Local Resident| scott@zettervall.com

* members of the Outreach Grant sub-committee