Krista Olson & Stephen Rider

Initiative Foundation Welcomes Two New Staff Members

The Initiative Foundation has announced that Krista Olson has joined the team as grants and compliance officer and Stephen Rider as a small business coordinator. Both are newly created positions that will help the Initiative Foundation attract funding and resources for local communities and serve more entrepreneurs in Central Minnesota.

Olson, who grew up in Nisswa, has spent much of her career working in education, most recently as the community education and early childhood coordinator for Cook County Public Schools in Grand Marias. In her grants and compliance role, she works across teams and programs to research opportunities, secure awards, and manage incoming grants. The Initiative Foundation’s ability to attract resources from state and national funders enables it to deliver an average of $4.37 into the region for every local dollar donated.

“I wanted to work for the Initiative Foundation so I could be a part of giving back to my community and the area where I grew up,” Olson said. “Helping local organizations grow and expand is truly a rewarding job. I love that everyone I work with is passionate about the work they do.”

Small Business Support

Rider recently moved to St. Cloud from North Carolina. In the small business coordinator role, he will provide one-on-one assistance to start-up and established entrepreneurs. Rider has a passion for working with small business owners and building communities and looks forward to leaning into his work at the Initiative Foundation.

“I work for the Initiative Foundation because I am very passionate about building—whether it’s building relationships, building a business or building a stronger community,” he said. “The Foundation reflects this passion perfectly, and I am happy to have found such a great organization.”

In 2023, the Foundation’s entrepreneurship team delivered nearly 4,000 hours of training and one-on-one assistance to more than 300 entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to add Krista and Stephen to our team,” said Brian Voerding, Initiative Foundation president. “They are both well suited for their roles and will help us serve even more entrepreneurs and attract more funds to Central Minnesota.”