Hello everyone!

As I was recently named the incoming Executive Director for the Erickson Merkel Foundation, I’d like to take a moment to recap on some things that happened so far this year as well as what we’re looking forward to in the next 12 months. Since I’m the new face in this position I’d like to start by thanking Eric Jungels for his service in this role for the past three years. As a brand new organization incorporating in 2015, we needed an executive director with proven leadership potential and who could keep everyone focused on building our organization into the solid entity we know today. Eric did exactly that. I look forward to continuing working with him in a professional friendship that started way back at Fort Meade in 2004. Thanks also for the Board for allowing me to move from my communications role into this position. I’m confident that all together, we can keep this momentum going.

And some momentum it’s been! Already this year we’ve had another successful Winter Dummy Race and Workhorse 5K! Our Minnesota and North Dakota teams continue to reach new high points, which can be seen in such metrics as us hitting the $25,000 mark for scholarships awarded so far, as well as earning the Bronze Guidestar rating this year. The events seem to be happening a little more smoothly now, but that wouldn’t happen without members of both teams working hard to make things look so easy.

Don’t forget to read through the website, as we’ve just posted the Q & As with this year’s Workhorse Scholars. I think you’ll see why they were selected when you read through what these hardworking students go through to chase after their dreams. We’re proud of them, and happy to award them with this year’s scholarships.

We certainly couldn’t have done it without the tremendous help from our donors and sponsors. As we get to the beginning of the 2018-19 school year and pay out this year’s scholarships, we’re also looking to next year’s fundraising activities. As in years past, we’ll likely do more raffles and rummage sales, but we may also seek a little of an expansion in each state as the team members find time for such things.

We’re also looking to provide a way at keeping our Board members, volunteers and donors more informed. As such, this column will accompany a newsletter, which we hope will at least come out on an annual basis, if not biannual basis. I feel fortunate to be steeping into the executive role now, with such a strong team serving alongside me, and with such a positive outlook. We’re looking at good things for our future, and it’s all thanks to you!