Nurturing Community

As published in the Intercounty Leader.


By: Jennifer Turrentine


Looking at the big picture and trying to understand all of its myriad component parts.  Trying to see what that big picture will be a few years from now.  Helping to frame what that picture will look like.  That’s what a community foundation strives for and it is what the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation (NACF) is doing.


As chair of NACF, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve learned that our region is more than beautiful lakes and fishing and all of those things that attract a large summer crowd.  But, I suspect that those vacation part-timers miss the depth of the real beauty of our area – the very large number of people working so hard to make this a better place to live for all of our people.  Those people work and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations.


Burnett and Polk counties have a large number of nonprofits serving the area.  There are approximately 71 nonprofits that NACF communicates with regularly.  71 in our area!  We have more nonprofits per capita than any other area in the state.  This is extraordinary.  But there’s a reason for that.  There is a lot to do.  Several nonprofits address our rapidly aging population, while others try to make sure that people have enough food to eat.  Libraries provide leisure reading and educational support, and library Friends groups are essential to their survival.  And yes, we are blessed to live in a beautiful part of the world and we can be grateful that many nonprofits target their work to protecting our environment.


NACF’s main job is to support these nonprofits in their work.  How do we do this?  We offer two competitive grant cycles per year and we offer nonprofit staff and volunteers educational opportunities every year so that the nonprofits can function more effectively and efficiently.  Our area nonprofits, including NACF, are run by caring, passionate people who give of their time and talents to make our little piece of the world better for everyone.  I am in awe of each and every one of these community leaders and their volunteers.


The work that nonprofits accomplish deserves support from all of us.  The Northwest Alliance Community Foundation works hard to support them, but they can always use more support.  What can you do?  Giving money is always a good idea, but offering time as a volunteer or board member is equally important.


As chair of NACF, I have been enriched immeasurably.  I look forward to continuing to serve on its board as Chris Moeller takes over as chair in November.  NACF will continue to keep an eye on the area’s current picture as we work to help mold the future into one that makes this an even better place for everyone to live.


The Northwest Alliance Community Foundation is an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation.  We support our area nonprofits with educational opportunities and grants.  Please consider joining us by making a donation.  See our website for more information or email