Third time’s the charm: Foundation donation passes EDA on third try

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
The third time was the charm for a donation to the Initiative Foundation.
The Elk River Economic Development Authority (EDA) voted Jan. 9 to give $2,500 to the Initiative Foundation after voting the matter for the third time.
The last two times — Aug. 8 and Oct. 10 — the EDA deadlocked on 3-3 votes. But on Jan. 9 all seven EDA members were in attendance and the motion to donate $2,500 to the Initiative Foundation passed 5-2.
EDA President Dan Tveite and Commissioner Paul Motin voted ‘no.’ Commissioners Jerry Gumphrey, Pat Dwyer, Matt Westgaard, Nick Zerwas and Bryan Provo voted ‘yes.’
“I think it’s a worthwhile investment,” Zerwas said. “… Clearly they are doing good work within Sherburne County.”
In the past 25 years in Sherburne County, the Initiative Foundation has provided 232 grants totalling $972,000 and 39 loans totalling $2.5 million. The foundation also created or retained 380 jobs in Sherburne County during that time.
Motin agreed that the Initiative Foundation is a fine organization and said both he and his business have donated to it. But he doesn’t think it’s the EDA’s job as a governmental entity to fund it, particularly when budgets are being cut to try to keep the tax rate low.
“I think it’s the wrong thing to do,” Motin said of the donation.
The EDA has contributed to the Initiative Foundation in the past, but had not in recent years.
The Initiative Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on economic growth and opportunity. Located in Little Falls, it serves 14 counties and 160 cities in central Minnesota, including Sherburne County and the city of Elk River. For more information, go to