Minneapolis Breakfast Club

Your Community Impact by the United Way!

Early Birds: President Mark Arnold was the first to arrive followed by Dick Anderson.

Mark Arnold brought the meeting to order with a ring of the bell and a moment of silence and a joke about Tents.

Guests: Tyler Jacobson, who found us on the internet, was a guest today.

Honorary Members: Mark Simon, Martin Peyer, and Ron Britz joined us today.


  1. Boulay is moving their craft talk to November 13 and Karen H may have a guest speaker for October 23.
  2. Check your calendars! The 2020 Craft talk schedule is being circulated. Contact Craig to get on the schedule.
  3. On behalf of the Playworks staff and our high-profile board, you are invited to showcase your brand and corporate values for the childhood our kids deserve. “The Great Playworks Get Together” takes place on March 5th, 2020 at 6:30PM at Machine Shop. Take a look at how we showcased our sponsors last year! For more information, please contact Chloe Czaplewski, Senior Development Associate, at chloe.czaplewski@playworks.org or 651-278-7707.

Business Networking: Tom Ashbaugh mentioned Craig Blixrud’s work on the newsletter was pretty good. Mark Arnold says Continental Diamond was looking for greeters, they pay about what Walmart does, but they do have a bar….

Business Exchange: Julius Webster started us off and was followed by Dave Mitchell, Chris Leonard, Craig Blixrud, John Winston, Mike Palm, and Keith Kovacevick.

Business Updates: Jim Erickson mentioned that the U of M is forming support groups and a PAC to advocate for the U. Contact him for more info. Interesting the high number of former Gophers in the club.

Table Introductions: Table #3 was introduced by Craig Blixrud with a theme of “What’s new in your business?”.

Pot of Gold: Tony Rubin drew and Martin Peyer won. It just warms the heart to see a retiree on a fixed income win the pot (or not).

Craft Talk:

Tony Rubin introduced our craft speaker, John Wilgers, the President/CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

John is a graduate of Kansas University, retired partner of Ernst & Young, husband, father, and 14 year Minnetonka resident.

He has spent more than 10 years as a volunteer with the United Way and loves the Twin Cities area. However he has been exposed the needs in the community for basic services like food, housing, and jobs.

The United Way priorities are;

  1. Household Security
  2. Education
  3. Economic Opportunity

Last year they raised $68.6M, advocated at the state for $91M, had 60,700 volunteer hours, and touched over 500,000 lives in a positive manner.

They do this work by 1) raising funds through Workplace campaigns and Individual Donors and 2) making grants through partners that work in the communities.

Something you may not know are that 1 in 4 people in the Twin Cities can’t meet their basic needs regularly without some help. People of color have a far greater percentage than the general population. When you have to worry about food and housing, you may neglect early childhood education and that may lead to an achievement gap in school that lasts throughout your life in terms of economic activity.

The United Way has a 211 24/7 Helpline to connect people with services and fielded over 275,000 calls in 2018. The highest percentage of calls dealt with housing issues.

Consider supporting the United Way as a volunteer and/or donor.

Register for the Pot of Gold with Tony Rubin at tony.rubin@wellsfargoadvisors.com or 612-810-1474

Looking ahead

October 9 is Canterbury Downs update at ECC

October 16 is LVC Companies at ECC

October 23 is TBD at ECC