An Anchored Board and Staff

The mission of Bridges of Hope is to build bridges of support, anchored in Christ’s love, between families in the Lakes area and the community assets that can help them thrive and gain hope. That sounds nice, but what does “anchored in Christ’s love” really mean? To the Board of Directors, when they were crafting this mission statement in 2003, it meant that the organization was founded in faith–that the reason we do what we do is to show Christ’s love to His people. As Bridges has grown and developed over the last ten years, we have realized that how we can best do that is through trying to be what God wants us to be in our local community.

Recently we gathered over 50 of our local church leaders and staff for our annual Faith Leader Luncheon. It was humbling to experience in person the amazing support we have from our area churches, which have played a key role in both the development and the ongoing successes of Bridges. It was a great time of fellowship, sharing about the work of Bridges of Hope, and of learning how we can be a better resource for churches. Churches make some of the most frequent referrals to Bridges of Hope, act as our largest non-grant source of financial support, comprise some of our most-frequent volunteer groups at Common Goods, and definitely serve as a vital source of prayer support. (Read more about how churches and Bridges of Hope can partner to serve our community.) It was a great reminder of how many are involved in making the work of Bridges of Hope possible!

This year, I have had the privilege of taking a lead role in our Strategic Priority of centering Bridges of Hope in Christ. There have been many new initiatives that have grown out of this Priority area, including a Staff and Board Retreat that took on the Priority as its theme. It was both nourishing and refreshing, and it also allowed us to connect on a deeper level with one other.

Staff & Board Retreat: Labyrinth

Staff & Board at the Retreat, in the Labyrinth

We have also started offering optional monthly devotional times for staff and have invited area pastors, church Board members, and others to spend some time leading us in various topics. We have enjoyed connecting with members of our local faith community this way, which is different from our “regular” interactions through our work at Bridges. The main focus of this Strategic Priority is to nurture our staff and Board in their own faith journeys so that they can better serve those who seek our services.

It is in a similar spirit of nurturing and supporting others that we are offering a community workshop this summer, called Healing the Heart of the HealerIt is a training focused on self-care for those of us in the helping profession. You can see a flyer about the training here.

I believe it is thanks to the organization’s work to center its Board and staff in Christ–this anchoring–that Bridges of Hope continues working to meet the needs of others in our community every day.


Fred-Mark Charity Invitational Makes a Huge Impact

For the seventh year in a row, Bridges of Hope was the fortunate recipient of proceeds raised at the 21st Annual Fred-Mark Charity Invitational at Grand View Lodge. At the Tournament Dinner on Monday night, Fred Boos declared, “Bridges of Hope is the best organization serving the Brainerd/Nisswa area.” (We–humbly–agree…or at least would add ourselves to the list of great organizations serving this community!)

Fred & Mary Cutting the Ribbon

More than 230 golfers from all over Minnesota turned out for the two-day tournament, starting with 27 holes on Memorial Day, which was complete with a ribbon-cutting and capped with a dinner that included awards, games, a silent auction and recognition of donors & sponsors–all which benefited Bridges of Hope’s work with families in the Lakes Area. It’s always a great opportunity to share the message about our work, which impacts over 2,300 households every year.

The Fred-Mark Namesakes

Fred Boos and Mark Ronnei (pictured above) are the namesakes of the tournament and the principal driving force that caused the event to take on a charitable focus several years ago. The event on Monday broke records, raising over $20,000 for our work with individuals and families–and the cumulative total raised at this event over seven years is more than $65,000! The event has allowed us to make some great friends, both those who live in the area and those who spend most of their time in the Twin Cities. I always enjoy catching up with the Fred-Mark “regulars” at the clubhouse in the morning and at the dinner in the fabulous Gull Lake Center in the evening.

On the Green

We couldn’t pull this event off without wonderful sponsors and a fabulous committee. (Click here to see a listing of this year’s sponsors and how much the event has raised this year.) I’m so thankful to Bridges of Hope Board Member and this year’s Committee Chair, Kevin Littman, as well as the other hard-working committee members–Pat Sharbonda, Patty Baltz, Val Knudsen, Meghann Morris, and Tim Bauman.

The funds raised at this event are so important, as the demand for our services is 50% higher now than it was four years ago–and we continue to grow and expand into initiatives such as work with teen parents and a mentoring program for adults, it is more important than ever to have such great support from our community.

A BIG thank you to Fred, Mark, golfers and Grand View Lodge Staff for helping making our work possible!

Get Involved:

  • Make a gift in honor of the Fred-Mark Charity Invitational.
  • Talk to Michele about becoming a mentor for our Mentoring program, currently in development (email or call 218.825.7682).