BEMIDJI-The Northwest Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors announced Friday they have named Karen White as the foundation's next president and CEO.

White will become the fourth president since NMF was established in 1986 to help revitalize northwest Minnesota communities.

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White was selected from a national pool of candidates through a five-month review process led by a search committee that included current and past board members, a release said.

White has been serving as NMF's Chief Strategy Officer. She will begin serving as president July 1.

"On behalf of the board, we are very pleased that Karen will become our next president," Board Chair Tom Anderson said in the release. "Karen has demonstrated a commitment to the region and has a passion for her work at NMF."

White will take over for Nancy Vyskocil, who announced her retirement in November. "It has been my privilege to have been part of the foundation's growth and service to the region for the past 11 years," Vyskocil said. "I am confident that Karen will provide strong leadership in carrying out the foundation's next strategic plan with a focus on building better lives."

White has been on staff at NMF for more than three years. She was hired as vice president for programs in 2016 and was promoted to chief strategy officer in July. Her previous roles include serving as the executive director at the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence at Bemidji State University from 2006-2016, where she led the center to achieve designation as a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Regional Center in June 2012, the release said. Before joining BSU, White was the associate director for engineering operations with the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering at North Dakota State University in Fargo where she was responsible for leading large multi-disciplinary federal grants. White started her career at Imation Corp.'s Wahpeton, N.D., manufacturing site, where she held various engineering and management positions related to the production of data storage cartridges.

White holds a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky. She grew up in Moorhead and moved with her family to the region in 2006.

"Thanks to the effective and thoughtful leadership of Nancy and the NMF board, the organization has a clear vision for what it wants to accomplish," White said in the release. "I look forward to my new role at the foundation and being part of the team helping to find positive solutions for our region's critical needs and promoting philanthropy within our communities."

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public charitable nonprofit community foundation serving 12 northwest Minnesota counties with "a mission to invest resources, facilitate collaboration, and promote philanthropy to make the region a better place to live and work."

To learn more about NMF, visit