President’s Message 2016

Tim Thorpe
As 2016 draws to close, the favorable reflections on the year are more about the continuation of the good work behind which we continue to create momentum rather than consider any departures from it.

Family First

After a sad trend of losing a few former board and family members over the last several years, we were fortunate to keep our band intact this year. But crisis often tightens the family bond as happened this year when one of our members faced a severe health situation- happy to say that tenacity and resilience have persevered.


The last few years we have focused on enhancing the foundation’s communications efforts. A family newsletter was sent out, the website continues to be tweaked in a reader and grantee-friendly manner. We look for opportunities to engage the greater Thorpe family in the work of the Foundation. We will likely schedule an interactive gathering with one of our grantees in winter/spring of 2017.

Granting (Youth, Elderly, Intergenerational)

Youth and elderly populations continue to receive the lion’s share of our granting allocations. We enjoy the support and hard work that is required for the grant making, from staff in the overall orchestration, organization and maintenance (Kerrie Blevins, our foundation manager, and her great, growing team), our board through site visits and healthy board meetings and discussion and the grantees themselves, with whom we have come to build strong community-based relationships. Our exploration and secondary-level financial support behind intergenerational grant making generated creative work plan development and outcomes, under the continued engagement and guidance of Dr. Nancy Henkin and Kerrie Blevins.

New Face and Perspective

This year, we actively solicited interest, from the greater family members in Minnesota, the opportunity to fill an open board member position. We were pleased with the level of interest in board service and are lucky to have brought Barb Cote Harmon to the board in November. Barb’s energy and enthusiasm, as with all new members, will be a great addition to our board.


While our board work will continue on as planned, it is likely that the environment surrounding our work will be anything but status quo this year, given the election of a new president and a new incoming administration. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges presented but, as we do every year, our focus will remain working with our grantees to support and maintain them in effective and organizational-sustaining and community-improving ways.

Tim Thorpe
December 2016