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Changemakers to Watch

Changemakers to Watch: Carson Smith
By Elana Warsen

The word “philanthropist” is often associated with individuals who give back during their adult years. However, the essence of philanthropy—a concern for the welfare of others—can be expressed by people of any age. When afforded the opportunity to give of their time, talents, and treasure to causes that are important to them, children and teens can also be powerful forces of change in their communities. United Way of 1,000 Lakes recognizes Changemaker and emerging philanthropist Carson Smith of Grand Rapids. Five-year-old Carson and his classmates at Itasca County YMCA, a United Way-Funded program, learn about philanthropy at home and at school. They recently raised funds to feed hungry families through Second Harvest Food Bank. Continue reading

Changemakers to Watch: Tom and Leanna McBride
By Elana Warsen


Much has been said about rural Minnesota’s “brain drain,” in which ambitious young people leave their quaint hometowns for metro areas. Less is mentioned about the brain gain that occurs when those same young people return several years later, bringing their college degrees, professional skills, and families with them. Tom and Leanna McBride, this week’s Changemakers, are two such young professionals contributing to Itasca County’s brain gain. Since their recent return to Grand Rapids after several years away, the McBrides have taken action to make our community the best it can beContinue reading