Coughlin joins Blossoming Community Foundation
-Bonnie Coughlin, Blossoming Foundation Director
The Blossoming Community Foundation found just what it needed in Bonnie Coughlin.
The non-profit that was formed to support projects that focus on community, arts, recreation, and education in Blooming Prairie has hired Coughlin as its executive director.
“I think they were looking for somebody local,” she said, “somebody who’s comfortable talking and meeting with people – and also comfortable with the topic matter.”
The topic matter is, in a word, financial.
More specifically, BCF is a group that helps other groups.
“What we’re focused on – and what it was created for – is the benefit of Blooming Prairie,” Coughlin said. “We’re looking to grant out to projects that impact those four main goals.”
Though the non-profit was formed in 2017, in the upcoming year “we’re hoping to get our name out there and educate people about what we’re about, what our mission is and looking at fundraising opportunities,” she said.
Coughlin will be speaking to service organizations, churches, “anyplace that wants to learn more,” she said. “That’s the goal – especially hitting those non-profits and saying, ‘This is who we are, and this is how we can possibly help. We’re here, and if we can’t provide it, we’ll help you look for grants.’”
The group recently set up office in the City Center at Blooming Prairie City Hall, sharing the space with the BP Chamber of Commerce.
The foundation provides donor advice and “different avenues to give,” Coughlin said, “which is a little different” from most non-profits, and includes creating endowment funds, annuities, cash donations, and grain donations.
“That’s what we’ll be educating people about,” she said, “because we definitely are not wanting to compete with those other groups – we’re just adding another avenue for donations” to those groups.
It’s also where Coughlin’s experience comes in: She’s worked for State Farm Insurance for years, learning “different financial approaches that may not be as direct,” she said.
For now, the Blossoming Community Foundation will review applications twice a year. Local non-profits will be able to explain their projects, how much they need, and how BCF can assist.
There are 12 board members, including Jeff Kramer, who just joined.
Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele is president of the board; Sue Zwiener and Stormy Trom are co-vice presidents. BP Police Officer Dan Peach is secretary; Tamzen Johnson is treasurer.
Also sitting on the board are the mayor of Blooming Prairie, the superintendent of schools, local business owners, and retirees. The group meets monthly.
“It’s definitely a great group,” Coughlin said, “and when they approached me, I was like, okay, (being an executive director) would be new for me … then you hear about the group of people and what their goal is, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”
Local non-profits are encouraged to visit the website at blossomingcommunity.com for donation information, the application process, and a complete list of the board members.
Coughlin is available by appointment.
“Contact us,” she said. “We’d love to hear from people and just explain what it’s about.”