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Bell joins regional foundation

Gretchen Bell, New Richmond area community leader and volunteer, has recently agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation.

A Minnesotan, Gretchen left IBM to come to the New Richmond area in the 1970s after marrying a local attorney. They raised three children.

For the next several years she participated as a volunteer/leader with many organizations in the New Richmond community and surrounding region, such as New Richmond Area Community Foundation, Friday Aquatic Center, New Richmond Fine Arts Board, Holy Family Hospital Auxiliary and Global Volunteer in St. Paul.

After the death of her husband, she returned to college as a non-traditional student to finish a degree in Family Consumer Education.

In 2003 she was appointed coordinator for the YOUth and Families Initiative in New Richmond, a collaboration of the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, the New Richmond School District and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, which had a focus of promoting positive youth development based on the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets.

She also served as Advisory Board member for New Richmond Teen Court, the United Way of St. Croix County - Success By 6, the St. Croix County Youth Nutrition Task Force, and the Y&FI-New Richmond Chamber of Commerce Youth Asset Carnival.

She and her husband, Bill Hannaford, who was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, continue to live in New Richmond. They have a blended family of five grown children and four grandchildren.

Since 2006 when they both retired, they have remained active in new volunteer capacities.

Jane Hetland Stevenson, president of the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation, says, "We are so fortunate to have Gretchen on our Board. She has a deep connection with the counties that the Foundation serves, as well as a breadth of knowledge of programs, people and community needs."

The St. Croix Valley Community Foundation was established in 1995 by a group of Valley residents to provide an effective means for people who care about this unique region to contribute to and be part of shaping its future.

As of December 2007, the Foundation had assets of approximately $15 million, and is active in grant making in five counties that border the lower St. Croix River -- three in Wisconsin and two in Minnesota.