(Jan. 4, 2013) "” The Bush Foundation has expanded its Leadership Program team with the addition of Lars Leafblad and Alfonso Wenker. Leafblad will take the helm of the Leadership team, elevating the scope and profile of the Foundation's well-respected and long-standing leadership work. Wenker will serve as the Founding Fellow of the Foundation's new Staff Fellows program, an initiative designed to attract a diverse group of emerging leaders into the field of philanthropy.
"I am absolutely delighted to welcome Leafblad and Wenker to our team," Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy said. "Lars Leafblad is uniquely qualified to drive the transformation of our leadership work into a region-wide network of engaged leaders. Alfonso Wenker possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a Founding Fellow: grantmaking experience, strong ties in emerging leader communities and strong community engagement skills."
Leafblad has extensive experience in leadership development and civic engagement. He is currently a principal at executive search firm KeyStone Search, where he specializes in higher education, nonprofit and philanthropy clients. Leafblad is also the founder and publisher of BePollen.com, a community of more than 6,000 civic-minded connectors who share ideas and opportunities. Prior to joining KeyStone Search, he served as the director of development for the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Leafblad was named the "most networked man in the Twin Cities" by Minnesota Business magazine and one of the "200 Minnesotans You Should Know" by Twin Cities Business magazine. He also serves on the advisory boards of Minnpost.com and the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the University of Minnesota and recently completed his final term on the board of CaringBridge.org.
"The Bush Foundation's leadership work has had a huge impact across our region for decades," said Leafblad, "and I'm very excited to be a part of expanding that work to meet the needs of communities in the 21st century."
Leafblad has a BA in economics from St. Olaf College and a master's degree in business administration in strategic management from the Carlson School of Management. He also completed a Humphrey Policy Fellowship in 2008-2009.
Wenker is active in a number of emerging leader networks and has impressive community engagement experience, including leading the online fundraising and grassroots donor engagement and events work for Minnesotans United for All Families. Prior to joining the campaign, he was the first director of programs for PFund, a foundation that works for LGBT equality, where he developed and managed a grantmaking program across a region that includes Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wenker took on additional responsibility, including serving as the director of development and communications. Further demonstrating his commitment to community leadership and engagement, Wenker also serves on the Community Shares of Minnesota board of directors and has completed various facilitator training programs, including the Bush Foundation's InCommons Art of Hosting.
"The Bush Foundation's new Staff Fellows program has the potential to significantly change the face of philanthropy by bringing new, diverse voices to the table," said Wenker. "I'm excited at the opportunity to shape and build this program from the ground up."
Wenker has a BA in communication and journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in justice and peace studies from the University of St. Thomas.
About the Bush Foundation
Our mission is to be a catalyst for the courageous leadership necessary to create sustainable solutions to tough public problems and ensure community vitality. The Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, and today works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Learn more at BushFoundation.org.