Zach Tabatt, Vice president for economic opportunity

Tabatt Elevated to Vice President for Economic Opportunity

The Initiative Foundation, a regional foundation with a focus on economic and community development in the 14 counties of Central Minnesota, announced today that Zach Tabatt has been promoted as vice president for economic opportunity.

A Little Falls high school graduate, Tabatt will lead the Initiative Foundation’s lending and business services programs—including the Initiators Fellowship and Enterprise Academy—and serve as an advocate for equitable economic development in Central Minnesota. He succeeds Brian Voerding, who in November 2023 was named Initiative Foundation president.

An anchor in Central Minnesota for four decades, the Initiative Foundation provides training and lending for small businesses, grants for nonprofits, hosts funds and community foundations to support local generosity, and leads a variety of programs that empower the region’s residents to build stronger communities. Learn more at

“Zach’s passion for the work of the Foundation, and his broad-based experience working across community, nonprofit and economic development makes him a natural fit for this position,” Voerding said. “He brings a strong history of community engagement, he has family roots in our region, and he truly understands the key role that access to capital, training and technical assistance can play in driving small business success.”

Tabatt joined the Initiative Foundation in 2019. He initially served as the organization’s nonprofit development program officer and was promoted to manage community philanthropy initiatives in 2023. Under his guidance, the number of funds owned and managed by the Foundation on behalf of families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups has grown to 137. Supporting an array of fund types, the Foundation’s community philanthropy program helps local people invest their wealth to make grants and to champion local causes that ensure strong and vibrant communities throughout Central Minnesota.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Tabatt served as a financial adviser and as a law enforcement officer. As he transitions to his new economic development role, the community philanthropy program will be overseen by Carl Newbanks, vice president for philanthropy.

“I’m honored to support our small business and entrepreneurial community,” Tabatt said. “Our incredible team will continue to grow our services as we support new entrepreneurs, help businesses expand and prosper, and contribute to vibrant economies throughout the region.”

Tabatt earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a master’s degree from Creighton University. He serves on the Baxter City Council and the Crow Wing County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and also is a 2022-2023 policy fellow with the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Zach and his wife, Jessica, make their home in Baxter with their two daughters.