Rooted in community success

Minnkota and CoBank have once again teamed up to distribute $40,000 to local organizations in the region.


Emily Windjue


September 22, 2023

As an electric cooperative, Minnkota exists to support the communities it serves and improve the quality of life for people across the region. For more than a decade, Minnkota has partnered with its sister organization Square Butte Electric Cooperative to contribute to nonprofit and charitable entities in need through CoBank’s Sharing Success program.

CoBank, a cooperative financial services provider, matched $10,000 donations from Minnkota and Square Butte. Collectively, the organizations provided $20,000 to the Oliver County Fair Board, $10,000 to Farm Rescue, $5,000 to BIO Girls and $5,000 to the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC).

“The Sharing Success program really encapsulates the message that we are invested in helping create strong communities,” said Stacey Dahl, Minnkota’s vice president of external affairs. “Minnkota and CoBank have a long-standing relationship and a lot of common interests in what drives our business, namely, the cooperative model.”

Oliver County will be using the donation to complete a significant lighting upgrade at its fairgrounds. The Fair Board reached out in early 2023 about the idea for the project, which consisted of updating the main electrical panel, setting eight poles with fixtures around the grounds and moving all their electrical wires underground.

“Oliver County has been so good to Minnkota, and we want to find ways to give back. Here was a chance to support a lighting project and to help that event be a little brighter,” Dahl said.

“We threw it out there and we did not expect that kind of donation at all from Minnkota on behalf of Square Butte Electric Cooperative,” said Mikael Schmidt, president of the Oliver County Fair Board. “We are very grateful and very impressed. The donation took us roughly within $7,000 of this project being completely paid for.”

Rural farming communities are the backbone of Minnkota’s membership. The cooperative is a longtime supporter of Farm Rescue, which helps farmers and ranchers who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster by providing the necessary equipment and volunteer workforce to plant, hay or harvest their crop.

“Eighty percent of what we do at Farm Rescue happens right here in North Dakota,” said Tim Sullivan, Farm Rescue executive director. “The funds are used to support our volunteers in the field as they serve farm families in crisis. Funding will help cover the cost of food, lodging and fuel in the trucks for these good Samaritans as they support our assistance efforts throughout the area.”

Tim Sullivan, Farm Rescue executive director (center right), accepts a donation from Minnkota’s Lowell Stave, vice president and COO (far left); Stacey Dahl, vice president of external affairs (center left); and Brita Endrud, government affairs representative (far right).

Minnkota is also a consistent advocate for the CVIC, which provides a holistic approach to serving adults and children experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. Serving the Grand Forks community as well as several rural neighbors throughout Grand Forks, Polk and Nelson counties, the nonprofit delivers vital safety and healing services to individuals and families experiencing trauma and educates youth and professionals about how to prevent violence and develop healthy relationships.

“Generous private funds like this are the reason our agency can serve nearly 3,000 individuals experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault each year,” said Coiya Tompkins Inman, CVIC president/CEO. “This generosity makes it possible for us to serve clients in emergency situations as well as those looking for healing and transitional services following some of the darkest moments in their lives. Companies like CoBank and Minnkota also help us educate students and professionals about how to prevent violence before it begins. With a bold vision to end interpersonal violence in two generations, CVIC truly appreciates these types of gifts because they have lasting impacts on future generations of children.”

Kay Schraeder, Minnkota’s CFO (right), who recently joined the board of directors at the CVIC, presents a Sharing Success donation to Coiya Tompkins Inman, CVIC president/CEO (left).

BIO Girls is an organization based in Fargo, N.D., that has been expanding across North Dakota as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2023. Its mission is to improve the self-esteem of adolescent girls through the empowerment of self and service to others.

“These funds help us continue to grow and impact more girls specifically here in Grand Forks, where we have had a presence for over five years,” said Missy Heilman, BIO Girls executive director and founder. “We really work to increase the impact in Grand Forks because we know when the volume of girls increases through our program, not only are we impacting those individual girls, but we are also making a community- level change.”

(Left to right) BIO Girls CEO Missy Heilman accepts a Sharing Success matched donation from Stacey Dahl, Minnkota vice president of external affairs, and Brita Endrud, government affairs representative.

Since its establishment in 2012, CoBank’s Sharing Success program and its participants have donated over $76 million to local organizations. To learn more about the Sharing Success program, visit

MAIN IMAGE: Minnkota employees, on behalf of Square Butte Electric Cooperative, present the Oliver County Fair Board with a $20,000 donation during the fair’s rodeo on Aug. 12.


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