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FALL 2014

Strategic Plan 2015-2017
Creative solutions for sustainability


On a bitterly cold Saturday morning in January, the staff and board of directors of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly gathered in a conference room at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in Eagan. Four hours later, they emerged with a bundle of goals, metrics and fresh ideas that eventually were spun into LBFE's three-year strategic plan. 

The Strategic Plan will guide our mission of providing friendship to isolated elders for the next three years.

"The new plan is a brilliant piece that will guide our work for the next three years," said LuAnne Speeter, Interim Executive Director. "It ties together our vision - that older adults are a valued and integral part of our community - with clearly defined goals and action steps to make that vision a reality." The result is a seven-page document that outlines an achievable plan for ensuring LBFE will be fulfilling our mission for years to come.


The strategic plan incorporates all areas of the agency, from elder services and volunteer management to internal systems, facilities, technology and resource development. Highlights of the strategic plan include:


Broadening our public awareness. LBFE will leverage mail, email, social media and annual special events, as well as a more vibrant interface with local media, to enhance our recognition. We will also utilize new marketing opportunities available through LBFE's national and international organization.


Dynamically engaging our board of directors for maximum effectiveness. Greater focus on active recruitment; ethnic, gender and age diversity; enhanced new member orientation; and ongoing enrichment will empower our board to be valuable stewards and ambassadors of LBFE's mission.


Diversifying our elder and volunteer groups to better reflect the communities we serve. LBFE programming will establish a diversity action team, and build partnerships with agencies serving targeted elder populations with the goal of developing mutually beneficial elder programs.


Developing new sources of revenue. We will be reaching out to new funders as well as developing a flexible sponsorship package for partnering corporations. We're also moving forward on renting the unused office space on the second level of our East Lake Street building, and better utilizing the event center for broader community use.


You can view the strategic plan document by logging onto our website. For a print version, please contact Danielle Fehring at 612.746.0726.

From the Board President

Together, we accomplish the mission

We wish our leader Greg Voss all the best as he moves back home to be closer to his mother and takes on a le

Nick Keller
Board President

adership role with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region. Although anyone who had the chance to meet Greg knows of his deep Packer roots, his energy, enthusiasm, and talent we

re undoubtedly ours while he led our organization. We are extremely grateful; thank you, Greg.

As we embark into transition and envision our future, I am energized by the amazing people within this organization. I deeply believe that it is only through working together that we move Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly forward. I became involved with LBFE because I do not want to live in a society that neglects some of our most vulnerable people. It is not okay that elders who have often contributed so much to the lives of others find themselves facing their later years alone.

Arguably, the most important role a board of directors plays in the management of a non-profit is hiring and overseeing the executive position. Although transition is rarely easy, the current board is strong and possesses the experience and instincts needed to find the right person to fill these important shoes. The process will not be rushed; we have a strong interim leader in LuAnne Speeter, who, over the past few years, has played an instrumental role in anchoring the fundraising and communication efforts of LBFE. She also has behind her an amazingly dedicated, competent, and flexible staff that is ready to roll up their sleeves and enthusiastically do what needs to be done during this period of change.

All the above acknowledges that the foundation and engine of LBFE are its many supporters - volunteers, funders, and community partners - who directly contribute to our mission of alleviating isolation in our elderly population. I have been lucky enough to see first-hand the compassion of our community in action - what important work we accomplish together!


Nick Keller

Board President

Forming a friendship out of clay 

When volunteer Pat Cook first delivered a Friendship and Flowers bag to 92-year-old Betty at her care center, she at first looked shocked, but quickly responded, "I am so glad you came!"


"She expressed such heartfelt and utter delight, it was taken aback!" Pat exclaimed. As he looked in Betty's kitchen cupboard for a vase for the carnations, he came across an attractive, handmade cup and asked her about it. "I made it," Betty said. 

This intrigued Pat, who himself had been crafting pottery for 15 years. He discovered that, about 70 years earlier, Betty 

Patrick Cook, LBFE Visiting Volunteer, and elder friend Betty display the pinch pots they crafted together during a recent vi

attended the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she learned pottery. Her father, a mechanical engineer, had made her a studio, complete with a potter's wheel and wood burning kiln. She then set about selling her own pots. "They all sold!" Betty proudly attested. When she and her husband moved to Golden Valley, she continued to throw pots in her basement - an activity that she hasn't been able to perform for 20 years.

For Pat, who is a retired fundraiser with Minnesota Public Radio, there was no question that he wanted to expand his relationship with Betty, so he took on a more dedicated role as her Visiting Volunteer. One day they went to the Edina Art Center, and Betty was in her glory. She was curious and interacted with the older instructors at the Center, asking about the electric pottery wheel and the gas kiln. 

On another visit, Pat and Betty made pinch pots from some clay she had stashed away but hadn't been inspired to use it. "It was the kind of clay that didn't need firing - it hardened just by itself," Pat explained. Betty also made nameplates for herself and her parakeet, Sweetie.

Betty has short-term memory issues, which Pat takes into account on their visits together. "On one of our earlier visits, we went for a walk and Betty was so excited," said Pat. "She said to me, 'This must be one of the greatest days of my life!' and I was thrilled. Then I began to realize she would say that at every visit. But what a wonderful gift she has - to be constantly amazed and appreciative of the little things in life that most of us take for granted."


Still, Pat says Betty frequently mentions how much she enjoys LBFE and the relationships she has with volunteers and staff members. Like the potter's hand, a caring touch for an elder can make a lasting impression.

To volunteer, contact Josh Windham at 612.746.0732 or

International Day of Older Persons 2014
Honor and appreciate the elders among you


In Brazil, elders celebrate International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) by dancing in the streets. In Australia, a symposium will bring together key decision makers to discuss age discrimination in its labor force. And in the United Kingdom, events will vary from shorter half-day activities to month-long festivals.

What about in your neighborhood?

IDOP, which falls each year on October 1, was specially designated by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1990 as a day to celebrate and honor elders around the world. It's also is a time to tackle negative perceptions and outdated stereotypes of aging.


On October 1, LBFE will celebrate IDOP and honor elders by distributing fresh roses on the Nicollet Mall in

Minneapolis and at 5th St. W. and Market St. in St. Paul. 
The roses will include a note to remember to honor an elder by giving them the rose. We have also invited a number of other senior-serving organizations to join us in promoting IDOP by distributing flowers or holding special events to honor elders. 

Please join us in celebrating IDOP by reaching out and appreciating an elder in your neighborhood. In doing so, you will brighten his or day while enriching your own. Consider that elders contribute to the rich tapestry of our neighborhoods. They know the community's history, block by block, and pass its story down to younger generations. They keep a guardian's eye on our children and property, enhancing our sense of security. And they enjoy an unhurried conversation, forging enduring friendships that enhance a community's livability.

If you know of an elder neighborhood who is alone and needs companionship, you can also refer them to LBFE by calling 612.746.0724.

Wells Fargo supports new website
LBFE'S WEBSITE will soon be redesigned, thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota. The grant is part of an initiative by the Wells Fargo Community Funding Council to fund one-time, non-recurring expenses for non-profits that provide services to low- and moderate-income, aging-in-place seniors. The new website will include nutritional and fitness information for elders and their volunteers to help seniors live independently longer. From left to right are Susan Smilanich, Wells Fargo Asst. Vice President, Implementation Consultant; Monnie McMahon, Sr. Vice President, Technology Relations Manager; Sandy O'Donnell, LBFE Program Services Director; LuAnne Speeter, LBFE Interim Executive Director; Jessica Anderson, Wells Fargo Proposal Manager; and Christian Thompson, Wells Fargo Business Process Consultant.

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Strategic Plan 2015-2017
From the Board President
Forming a friendship out of clay
Oct. 1: International Day of Older Persons
Wells Fargo supports new website
Activities calendar
Holiday wish list for elders
How to give through the United Way
In memory
Gallery: "Laughing at Out Age"


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Please support LBFE's work to provide friendship for lonely seniors in the 

Twin Cities





Become a vibrant part of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly!


The holidays are approaching! Most of the elders in LBFE's programs have no family or friends with whom to exchange gifts. If you are interested in dropping off a gift for an elder, here is a wish list:

Gift cards in the amount of $10, $20 or $25 from either Target, Walgreens, Rainbow, Cub Foods, Baker's Square, Perkins, Subway or Dominos

Cardigan sweaters (men's or women's, all sizes)

Sweat shirts (men's or women's, all sizes)

Bath toiletries sets, including lotions, sprays and soaps

Socks (men's or women's)

You can drop off your gift at LBFE, 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis, during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thank you for your generosity!


If your employer is among the nearly 2,000 corporations that participate in the Greater Twin Cities United Way campaign, you may feel compelled to contribute. Did you know that you can designate all or a portion of your contribution to Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly?

While LBFE is not currently a listed Agency Partner, you can write in our name. Be sure to include our complete name and address (Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly/MN, 1845 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407) along with the contribution amount. Also consider indicating on the form that you give permission to release your name as the donor, unless you prefer to be listed as "Anonymous."

The vast majority of our donors prefer to contribute directly to Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly. However, by designating your gift to LBFE through the United Way, you can still help achieve your employer's United Way goals while also making a difference in the lives of older adults in the Twin Cities.

To discuss donation options that best fit your situation, contact LuAnne Speeter at 612.746.0753 or





The following elder friends we served were remembered at our June and August memorial services:


Georgia Bredesen
Georgette Edewaard
Charles Erickson
Jean Henderson
Louellea Knauf
Marian Manthey
Jim Miller
Bill Nordin
Maggy La Terre
Arvilla Ohlgren
Leonard Prokott
LaDonna Sammon
Egon Stephan
Dee Warren 


Our next memorial services are 

Monday, October 20 and Monday December 15, 

4-5 p.m. at 1845 East Lake Street in Minneapolis. 

We encourage anyone whose life has been touched by an elder we served to attend our memorial service. Please contact Josh Windham at 612.746.0732 or jwindham@

if you wish to attend. Open to all. 



Humor bridged the generations at LBFE's summer fundraiser, "Laughing at Our Age," on Thursday, July 17, at the Brave New Workshop in downtown Minneapolis. Entertainment was provided by BNW's 55+ Student Improvisational Troupe, who kept the crowd in stitches with their witty sketch comedy. LBFE elders shared in the fun through video clips of them telling their favorite jokes. The evening also featured door prizes, our signature cocktail, the "Ageless Snicker," elegant appetizers and ice cream sampling.

Many thanks to our sponsors, the Brave New Workshop, Empire Door and Glass, Mintáhoe Catering and Sweet Science Ice Cream; our many contributors and attendees; and our volunteer event planners Deena Igou and Karee Bohman, for making "Laughing at Our Age" a rip-roaring success! 





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