Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends

Mission Statement

Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends assists the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in its mission to “work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance the fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefits of the American people.”

Impact and Programs

Accomplishments Transport thousands of students from nearby school districts during the 2019-2020 school year to and from the Refuge with the Blue Goose Bus Fund. Schools where at least half of the student population receives free or reduced-cost lunches qualify for this fund. Provide countless volunteer hours to staff the front desks at the Refuge visitor centers and operate the Blufftop Nature Store, assist in environmental education learning, and support events both at the Refuge and throughout the community, including the Minneapolis Monarch Festival and Minnesota Bat Festival. During the pandemic, we’ve supported the Refuge staff in its efforts to pivot to virtual events and establish the Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends YouTube channel, now home to a treasure trove of online environmental education resources. Provide support for five interns and temporary employees at the Refuge in community outreach, conservation, and environmental education, giving them opportunities to grow and develop as conservation leaders. Conduct habitat-related projects on the Refuge, including goat grazing to remove invasive species at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center and to begin testing of chloride in Ike’s Creek, a restored brook trout steps away from the Mall of America. Work with Refuge staff to secure a partnership with Bloomington theater and visual arts nonprofit organization Artistry to rethink the Refuge’s gallery space and its use. Create a new urban mentoring program for youth to learn an outdoor activity both on and off the Refuge. We worked with Refuge staff to establish a birding program with the nonprofit organization Urban Bird Collective. Continue funding the position of our organization’s first-ever staff member and Executive Director Sara Blood. She has modernized our organization’s operations and has placed us on firmer footing both financially and culturally.
Current Goals Further wean from financial dependence of Minnesota Valley Trust Secure program funding for identified in FYE 2021 budget Maintain and increase membership Resume member programming Publish first annual report Complete Charities Review Council Assessment Improve GuideStar standing from silver to gold
Community or Constituency Served Along the Minnesota River between Bloomington to Henderson, Minnesota Greater Twin Cities Global - we often have visitors stop by from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America
Geographic Area Served Along the Minnesota River between Bloomington to Henderson, Minnesota Greater Twin Cities Global - we often have visitors stop by from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America

Reports & Finances

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Major Program Expenses
Environmental Education Intern Stipends:
Urban Outreach Coordinator Stipend:
Blue Goose Bus Fund - travel program:
3 Year Average Expenses
Program Services
Unrestricted Net Assets
End of Year:
Beginning of Year:

Notes from the Council

Organization Last Reviewed on 05/06/2021

This date is representative of when we completed our initial Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review, and provided the organization with their results. This review is good for three years from the date provided
Return to List of Reviewed Nonprofits


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Bloomington, MN 55427
Phone: 952-858-0737

General Information

Alternative Name: Refuge Friends Inc.
EIN: 20-8644416
Principal Staff: Sara Blood
Volunteer Opportunities: Yes
Number of Clients: 400,000
Ruling Year: 09-28-2007


Board Chair: Robert "Randy" Petzel
Number of Board Members: 8
Board Meetings with Quorum: 10
Average Member Attendance: 7.9

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Charities Review Council

Our mission is building donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant and just communities. We envision healthy communities for all, benefiting from effective and trustworthy nonprofits that are supported by a well-informed public’s generosity.

Let’s Connect

1915 Highway 36 W Ste 133 • Roseville, Minnesota 55113-2709
Phone: (651) 224–7030 • E-mail: info@smartgivers.org

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