Jean BurkardtJean joined SMIF’s Board of Directors in 2010 after serving in a variety of government, nonprofit, and philanthropic roles. We chatted with her before she ends her term as Board Chair this summer. 

Where do you hail from?

Section 9, Cedar Township, Trimont, Martin County, southern Minnesota

Where do you call home now?

Section 34, Fox Lake Township, Welcome, Martin County West School District, Martin County, south central Minnesota

Favorite thing about being a SMIF Board member?

I really love time with the Board and staff in puzzling through what we see happening throughout the 20 counties we serve and what ought to be our responses…from there, seeing what strategies emerge. It’s fun and rewarding being part of an organization that can help individual communities, yet must keep the big picture of the trends across many communities.

Most memorable moment…or at least a funny one?

Last year at the Minnesota Initiative Foundation retreat, where all the MIF Boards and Presidents meet, Tim singing and playing “Country Roads” on his guitar while all of us Board members were waving our hands and cell phone flashlights in the air…we thought it was far funnier than he probably did!

What do you love about southern Minnesota?

It’s capacity to shift and change. With just a small amount of help, communities can re-make themselves.