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Annette selected as Blandin Foundation CEO

Trustees of Blandin Foundation have selected Kathleen Annette, M.D. of Bemidji, a recognized local, regional and national leader with deep roots in northern Minnesota, as its new president and CEO.

Annette is a lifelong resident of rural Minnesota who grew up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, is enrolled with White Earth Band of Ojibwe and is currently acting deputy director for field operations of Indian Health Service, based in Bemidji.

Annette has extensive knowledge and a long-time working relationship with Blandin Foundation. She served as a board member from 1991-2003 and has chaired and participated in the Blandin Foundation American Indian Advisory Committee since 2004.

Annette emerged from a six-month local, regional and national search conducted by trustees with assistance from KeyStone Search, an executive search firm experienced in recruiting non-profit and foundation executives.

In announcing the decision, Marian Barcus, chairman of the foundation's board, said, "Kathy has deep appreciation for the mission of this foundation and has been a long-time partner in our work. She will be an excellent guide for the Foundation's continued journey, contributing to the vitality of the Itasca County area, investing in rural community leaders statewide and expanding opportunity for rural Minnesota residents through education, economy and inclusion."

As acting deputy director for field operations of Indian Health Service, Annette has responsibility for supervision and leadership of area directors across the United States including 48 hospitals, 238 health clinics serving 1.9 million American Indian patients, and 15,000 federal employees. She will retire from federal service Sept. 1 and join the Foundation immediately.

"The Blandin Foundation has a strong mission, goals and values and makes a tremendous difference in the state, especially the Grand Rapids area," Annette said. "This is a real honor, and I look forward to continuing the Foundation's journey of partnering with communities to strengthen rural Minnesota."

Annette succeeds Jim Hoolihan, who has served the Foundation as CEO since 2004 and who returns, as long expected, to the private sector Oct. 1.