Grand Forks’ Community Foundation has a new executive director, hiring former Grand Forks School Board member Becca Bahnmiller to replace previous chief Kristi Mishler.
Bahnmiller is director of operations for Indigo Education, a Twin Cities-area special education nonprofit serving charter schools, and concluded her agreement to join the foundation last week. Her hiring closes a search process that reviewed more than two dozen applicants.
Bahnmiller joked that her first challenge is how to pack up and move. She hesitates to share fundraising goals now, she said, before further discussion with the foundation’s board, but said she’ll soon be getting to know donors, community leaders and the inner workings of the foundation while pressing ahead with ongoing fundraising.
“I have a lot of friends in the community, so I’ve been getting in touch with people, and I’m just really excited,” she said. "I’m excited to not just be an outsider looking in anymore, but being a part of the vibrancy that Grand Forks is creating."
Bahnmiller may be better known in Grand Forks as Becca Grandstrand, the name she had while on the School Board from 2010 to 2015, when she was married to former City Council member Tyrone Grandstrand.
Bahnmiller holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in educational leadership from UND, the latter of which she received in 2011. She’s worked as a development and communications coordinator at the Empire Arts Center, with donations and fundraising at the New School in New York City and in her current role at Indigo Education.
“She’s got a real enthusiasm for the community of Grand Forks, (which) was really one of the things that drew us to her,” said Derrick Johnson, vice president of the foundation's board of directors. “She has lived here, gone to school here, and was involved really in the community during college and then after college.”
Kristi Mishler, the foundation’s previous executive director, announced her resignation in December, citing long-standing plans to leave as her daughter graduated high school in the spring to build a private consulting business. Sheila Bruhn, a former senior staffer for the foundation, was named “transition director” in February.
Bahnmiller’s first day on the job will be Oct. 9.