BEMIDJI – The Northwest Minnesota Women’s Fund recently announced the recipients of the regional Outstanding Community Builder awards: Leonore Potter of Bemidji and Ann Graham of Crookston.
People residing in the region nominated these women because of the impact of their lives and significant differences they have made in improving their communities as volunteers, mentors, in their chosen professions, and raising or supporting families.
The Advisory Committee of the Women’s Fund hosted a reception for Potter and her guests Oct. 23 at the Cabin Coffeehouse and Café in Bemidji. Sharon Fruetel, Potter’s nominator, shared her thoughts about Potter.
“Leonore’s personal measure of success is based upon integrity and contribution to community,” Fruetel said. “She has committed herself to helping young people. Beyond the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, she contributes to the lives of young girls and women through numerous volunteer roles and has great impact on her community.”
Potter and her husband, Wayne, moved to Bemidji with their four children in 1988. Since then, she has contributed to community organizations as a community member or board member. Potter has served on the Students First Committee, which served the entire Bemidji School District area; Active Living Committee; Healthy Community Healthy Kids; Beltrami Wellness Education for Long Life; and the Bemidji Area Advisory Council for Concordia Language Villages.
Potter has been an active community volunteer as a Girl Scout leader’s assistant, Junior Great Books program leader at Northern Elementary School, Sunday school teacher and parenting class teacher.
Among Potter’s contributions was her vision for the establishment of the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, where she served as the executive director from 2003-2011. The mission of the BGCBA is “to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”
The BGCBA has served almost 2,000 youth members since it opened in November 2003. The club has an annual membership of 630 youth and serves more than 100 youth each day.
Potter retired in 2011.
Since the inception of the Outstanding Community Builder Award in 1998, 40 women have been recognized for helping make northwestern Minnesota a better place to live, work and raise families.
Previous Community Builders from the Bemidji area include Julie Larson (1998), Sandra King (1999), Pat Campbell (2001), Louise Mengelkoch (2002), Lori Forshee-Donnay (2004), Carol Anne Johnson (2007), Anne Daley (2008) and Mary Campbell (2009).