Lynn Bushinger and Don Hickman are serving as interim co-presidents.

Two Appointed to Oversee Foundation

LITTLE FALLS, MN—The Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees has appointed Lynn Bushinger and Don Hickman to co-lead the organization following President Matt Varilek’s appointment by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to lead the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Varilek will start his new duties as DEED commissioner on June 20.

Bushinger and Hickman bring a combined history of more than 45 years of service with the Initiative Foundation. Bushinger has served as the Foundation’s chief financial officer, chief operations officer and treasurer. She was slated to retire in August after 27 years with the organization but has agreed to extend her time until a new president is onboard. Hickman serves as vice president for community and workforce development and has been with the organization since 2001.

“The Initiative Foundation team is in great hands with Lynn and Don co-leading the organization,” said Kim Ellingson, chair for the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees. “The Foundation has never been stronger, and our board and staff are fully committed to serving the region without interruption during this time of transition.”

The Initiative Foundation board has retained the executive search firm of Ballinger | Leafblad to find and place Varilek’s successor. The timeline calls for a successful candidate to be forwarded to the board by October with a goal to have the successful candidate onboard by early December.

“I’m honored to co-lead this great organization with my longtime colleague, Don Hickman,” Bushinger said. “Our skillsets complement each other’s so well. As interim co-presidents, we have the privilege of working alongside a group of talented people that care deeply about others and our communities.”

Said Hickman: “From entrepreneurial programs to our granting, lending and nonprofit development work, there are numerous initiatives in progress. I remain committed to advancing these important priorities over the next several months as Lynn and I work shoulder-to-shoulder to steer the ship and support the team.”