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Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > News > Board of Directors > News Release: Minneapolis Parks Foundation Welcomes Sue Bennett and Erick Garcia Luna to its Board of Directors

News Release: Minneapolis Parks Foundation Welcomes Sue Bennett and Erick Garcia Luna to its Board of Directors

Minneapolis Parks Foundation Welcomes Sue Bennett and Erick Garcia Luna to its Board of Directors

Michele Girard, Jean Sazevich, and Marsha Yang join the Parks Foundation’s People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Minneapolis Parks Foundation today announced that its Board of Directors named two new members: Sue Bennett, a community leader and former Parks Foundation Board Chair, and Erick Garcia Luna, Director of Regional Outreach at Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Also this month, Michele Girard, Jean Sazevich, and Marsha Yang joined the People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee, an eight-member community-based committee that guides the grantmaking of the recently-created Fund.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is an independent donor-supported non-profit that helps envision and deliver transformative parks and public spaces by working closely with public partners and in collaboration with the community. Founded in 2003, the Parks Foundation is the primary philanthropic partner to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and has raised more than $25 million for transformative parks projects in Minneapolis. In 2020, the Parks Foundation completed the RiverFirst Capital Campaign, which brought more than $18 million in private sector support for two transformative Mississippi Riverfront projects – Water Works and the Great Northern Greenway River Link. Both park locations will open in spring 2021.

“The Minneapolis Parks Foundation Board of Directors are directly involved in setting our strategic priorities and fulfilling our mission. Our Board is committed to supporting a Minneapolis park system that serves everyone and strives to connect new audiences to the benefits of a healthy and equitable city park system,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director, Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

Expanding on its work through the RiverFirst Initiative, the Parks Foundation champions equitable investments throughout the Minneapolis parks system. In 2020, the Parks Foundation became a part of Reimagining the Civic Commons, a national effort to prioritize public space as essential infrastructure for equitable and resilient communities. Also in 2020, the Parks Foundation introduced the People for Parks Fund, which expands support for Minneapolis parks through community-directed philanthropy. The Fund was formed through the Parks Foundation’s consolidation with People for Parks, a grassroots organization with a 42-year legacy of community investments. The People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee includes three former People for Parks Board Members, Steve Bailey, Jay Halvorson, and Dan Peterson, and two additional Minneapolis Parks Foundation Board Members, Angelica Klebsch and Jasmine RuKim. Michele Girard, Jean Sazevich, and Marsha Yang joined the Advisory Committee in 2021.

About the 2021 Parks Foundation Board of Directors
The 27-member Parks Foundation Board of Directors also includes the following members: Stuart Ackerberg, CEO of Ackerberg Group; Nima Ahmadi, Senior Director of Strategic Ventures and Platforms at Cardiovascular Systems; Dan Avchen, ED of Strategic Growth for HGA Architects; Steve Bailey, Senior Associate at Donovan Group; Karin Birkeland, community leader; Alfonso N. Cornish II, J.D., Director of Government Affairs for Target Corporation; Sarah Duniway, Attorney at Lathrop GPM LLP; Dayna Frank, EVP/Co-Owner of First Avenue; Jacob Frey, Mayor of the City of Minneapolis; Martha Gabbert, retired, Room and Board Properties; Joe Gibbons, Senior VP-Wealth Management of Boyd, Gibbons & Associates, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith; Jocelyn Hale, Partner in MillerHale Associates; Jay Halvorson, Community Leader; Pahoua Yang Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation; Keith Holloman, Senior Research Specialist at Medtronic; Steve King, Chairman of Landscape Structures; Angelica Klebsch, Senior Director of Policy & Community Development at CLUES; Mary McCarthy, Community Leader; Tom Paul, President, Medicare at Bright Health; Paul Reyelts, CFO (retired) of Valspar; Jesse Ross, Director of Special Projects, ConextMSP, at The Minneapolis Foundation; Heath Rudduck, Chief Creative Officer at Padilla; Jasmine RuKim, Founder & CEO of Monicat Data; and Heidi Schmidt, Marketing Manager at Ryan Companies. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Superintendent Al Bangoura and Commissioner-at-Large Meg Forney will also serve as ex officio Board Members in 2021.

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