2021 Renaissance Award Recipient: Roger Blank
January 20th, 2021
A Partnership Over 15 Years in the Making
Roger Blank first got involved with Knute Nelson when he joined the Knute Nelson Corporate Board in 2005. He served on both the Corporate and Foundation Boards from 2005-2011. Roger chaired the Corporate Board from 2009-2011, during the time Grand Arbor was being built in Alexandria.
“Certainly a highlight while serving on the board was the building of the Grand Arbor facility,” Roger said. “It was such a great addition to our community to fill a great need for housing at the time.”
He then went on to serve a second term on the Knute Nelson Foundation Board from 2015-2018.
Maintaining Knute Nelson’s Christian Heritage
Roger noted a bedrock value of Knute Nelson’s has always been Christian heritage. He is proud that Knute Nelson has been able to maintain a Christian component as part of our services.
“The religious component is such an important piece in providing care for families,” he said. “Not only for the residents, but also family members that deal with end-of-life issues."
A Background in Banking
Roger had a 46-year career in banking in Alexandria, starting out working at a small community bank. Throughout his career, Roger worked with many kinds of customers, including small businesses, individuals, industry, and larger commercial real estate projects. Roger’s vast experience in banking was of huge value to Knute Nelson, and he was able to help advise the leadership team on the financial aspects of our Crystal Brook housing project in Park Rapids.
Roger ended his 46-year career in banking as Senior Vice President of Bremer Bank, after retiring in December of 2019.
A Friend to Fundraising
Roger served on the Dimensions Capital Campaign to help raise funds for the building of Grand Arbor.
“It was very important to engage with the community to raise funds, and that provided the needed down payment in order for us to build the project,” Roger remembers of the fundraising for Grand Arbor. “It was just amazing, the outreach to the community and the extremely positive responses we received from them.”
In reflecting on Grand Arbor celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2021, Roger said, “It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but just knowing that it was the impetus to expand housing in the community, and the fact that Knute Nelson has added to that complex, it is a very rewarding feeling.”
Roger also served on the Care Center Chapel Campaign Task Force that helped raise over $400,000 for the renovation of the Chapel and Gathering Space at the Care Center in 2018.
Roger and his wife Julie have given generously to Knute Nelson, as they have witnessed firsthand the impact of Knute Nelson’s services, programs, and facilities have made on the residents and community of Alexandria.
Roger and Julie are members of the Knute Nelson Legacy Society.
Knute Nelson has a tremendous impact on our community. Some say that a community is define on how well they care for their youth and how well they care for their elderly. Knute Nelson provides childcare, and it also cares for the elderly. Knute Nelson provides an element to the community that just makes this area a much better place to live.”
ABOUT THE AWARD
In 2013, we established the Knute Nelson Renaissance Award to recognize an individual, or individuals, whose leadership and support has been instrumental to the organization. Recipients exemplify the mission and beliefs of Knute Nelson. They have endeavored through word and deed, in both their professional and personal lives, to be agents of social change, support aging services, and demonstrate philanthropy with their love for humankind and community. The Renaissance period was a time of rebirth—political, economic, religious, artistic, and intellectual. Like that era, this award represents the diversity of interests and the goal of social change within the context and values of the Knute Nelson organization.
To nominate someone for the 2022 Renaissance Award, contact: Katie Perry | 320.763.1153 | firstname.lastname@example.org