2014 Legacy Award Reception Honoring Susan Neis

Susan Neis, Executive Director of Cornerstone, received the Legacy Award from the Bloomington Community Foundation on Thursday evening, November 6, 2014 at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington. Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead gave an insightful presentation down memory lane with Susan and Cornerstone’s pioneering programs for abuse victims, from affordable housing and emergency shelters to legal counseling and services for children.  After Susan accepted the award she sincerely thanked the City of Bloomington because she believes the accomplishments of Cornerstone would not have happened anywhere else.

The Bloomington Commmunity Foundation is grateful for the contributions that helped make the Legacy Award a special event. Individual donors, Park Dental, Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington, and the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored the event.

The City of Bloomington featured the Legacy presentation on its news program Bloomington Today. The segment can be seen on YouTube.



By |November 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2014 Legacy Award Reception Honoring Susan Neis

2014 Legacy Award Goes to Susan Neis

The Bloomington Community Foundation proudly announces Susan Neis, Executive Director of Cornerstone, as the recipient of the 2014 Bloomington Legacy Award. Susan Neis is retiring at the end of the year, after working with Cornerstone for 30 years. Cornerstone works to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. The Bloomington Community Foundation asked her questions about her past with Cornerstone, the present issues in the Bloomington community and what to expect from Susan Neis in the future. Also included, is the nomination letter from Maryanne London.

Why was Cornerstone able to develop into the great facility it is today in Bloomington? Do the people and leaders of Bloomington deserve any credit? Clearly the organization serves more than the Bloomington Community.

Cornerstone’s founders specifically created the agency to serve victims of domestic violence living in the suburban communities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield.  The public perception was that domestic violence happened primarily in the inner, low-income neighborhoods. This myth created a significant barriers for victims The founders knew that there were victims in their communities that had no where to go for help and they chose to do something about the problem.  Along the way the City of Bloomington stepped up time and time again.  The Bloomington Police Department was the first law enforcement agency to partner with us to insure that victims knew that had a safe place to go and helped them get to us, and that there were consequences for perpetrators.  Our goal of creating a transitional housing program specifically for battered women and their children may have never have happened if not for the supportive partnership with the Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Working with the […]

By |October 24th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2014 Legacy Award Goes to Susan Neis

Dr. Todd Lefko Presents at Annual Seminar and Breakfast

The Bloomington Community Foundation hosted its Annual Breakfast and Seminar at the Bloomington Civic Plaza with speaker Dr. Todd Lefko. Leaders from the community listened to Dr. Lefko’s presentation on the U.S.’s role as a leader in the world and asked the question, “Is America still the leader of the world?”

Dr. Lefko highlighted the main differences in China and the U.S.’s economic models. China controls investment and leadership in its businesses while U.S. businesses are mainly privately operated with minimal government control. After the U.S.’s recession, beginning in 2008, Dr. Lefko shared how developing countries have lost confidence in the U.S. model. “When the U.S. comes to visit they talk about human rights. When China comes they bring money,” Dr. Lefko paraphrased what state leaders from African countries say.

Terrorism and the U.S.’s difficulty in defending against terrorism were also discussed. Dr. Lefko explained how today’s terrorist threats come from highly organized groups without a state using corporate business models to fund, market and control their terrorist missions.

Dr. Lefko related his global lecture to Bloomington when he began with the story about the dream of the Ghermezian family to build the Mall of America and the late Bob Hoffman, whose legal work helped make the Mall of America a reality.

About Dr. Todd Lefko:  Dr. Lefko has lectured at Universities in Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.  He has also taught urban affairs and sociology at the University of Minnesota, and political science, international relations, political philosophy and organizational development at other Minnesota colleges. Dr. Lefko is one of the founders and current treasurer of Global Volunteers and is their representative at the United Nations.  He has been a member of the Twin Cities Met Council, […]

By |October 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Dr. Todd Lefko Presents at Annual Seminar and Breakfast

BCF knows that kids who start behind stay behind

Kindersprouts is a six week summer program to prepare children for success in kindergarten. Bloomington Public Schools runs the program at the Pond Center and it is funded through public and private donations. With grant money from the Bloomington Community Foundation and United Way, Kindersprouts served 120 children  in the summer of 2014, double the children served in 2013.

Four days a week for half a day children receive free transportation to the Pond Center where they receive breakfast, tutoring and a classroom experience. Tutoring addresses weaknesses in reading readiness and the classroom experience teaches the daily routines of a classroom, like following directions, waiting in line, raising your hand for a question, changing stations, independent working, and taking turns. The goal is to bring children who score low on a kindergarten readiness evaluation up to the level of their peers before they start kindergarten. Fifty years of research suggests that kids who start behind stay behind.

The school district has enlisted the help of its elementary school principals to personally invite families with young children and encourage their participation in getting assessed. English is a second language for 36% of the Kindersprouts’ students and ten different languages are represented.

Kindersprouts has received grants from the Foundation in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for a total of $30,000. The grants are a directed donation from the Simonson Fund.



By |July 17th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on BCF knows that kids who start behind stay behind