A year supporting financial-education programming: Affinity Plus Foundation’s 2016 Cultivator Grant recipients

ST. PAUL, MN (December 27, 2016) — Travis Birklid and Bruce Holmseth are Roseville Area High School business-education teachers and enthusiastic supporters of financial education.

“Personal finance is must-have knowledge for everyone after high school,” Birklid said. “If we’re going to prepare students for life, we have to develop effective, engaging curriculum specifically designed for high-school audiences.”

It’s their passion for financial education that made them and their program among the 14 recipients of the Affinity Plus Foundation’s 2016 Cultivator Grants, said Amy Hanson, foundation executive director.

They join 12 others across Minnesota in public and private schools, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Hanson said the annual selection process identifies, rewards and celebrates educators and programs “making a tangible impact through their work and service.”

School educators are using the grant funding during the 2016-2017 school year; other recipients will use funding throughout 2017, as well.


  • Ann Haines, The Wolves Den
  • Anne Barnes, Roseville Area High School
  • Bruce Holmseth, Roseville Area High School
  • Cheryl Braman, Mounds View High School
  • Karlie Crane, Horace May Elementary – Bemidji
  • Katrine Bender, Northome School
  • Kelly Duncan, Scandia Elementary IB World School
  • Lois Lewis, Indus School
  • Patricia Tax, Pierz High School
  • Rich Updegrove, Duluth East High School
  • Robin Christianson, Lakes & Prairie Community Action Partnership
  • Sara Anderson, Northwest Passage High School
  • Sarah Louise Butler, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Travis Birklid, Roseville Area High School

Sarah Louise Butler, financial empowerment coordinator for the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, will use their grant funding to support the department’s Financial Literacy and Tenant Education (FLiTE) program.

“The majority of people who are incarcerated desperately need financial education and other support to have a successful transition back to their community. FLiTE provides that education, skills and strategies for being a successful renter,” Butler said. “That, in turn, improves ex-offenders’ financial stability and housing opportunities.”

Northome Schools teacher Katrine Bender said their grant funding has helped to add additional hands-on components to the curriculum.

“We are teaching students about the personal choices they can make about saving and spending money. They will develop a deeper understanding about savings and how to set long- and short-term goals,” she said.

Ann Haines, co-creator of the Wolves Den, a Ramsey County non-profit developing plans for a sober-living facility for Native American women, said the grant funding will help provide financial literacy programming that is “one important component of helping to end homelessness”.

The Cultivator Grants are one of two grant programs the Foundation offers, Hanson noted.

The Community Grant Program awards grants to non-profit organization with programs that focus on financial literacy. Community Grant applications are open annually from April 1-30. Funds are awarded by Aug. 1.

The foundation also awards academic scholarships to students who also are members of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. The annual scholarship program awards $5,000 to incoming freshmen and returning, graduate and non-traditional students. Applications currently are being accepted through Jan. 31, 2017.

To learn more about the Affinity Plus Foundation’s annual grants and scholarships, its financial education and advocacy programming, please see


Amy Hanson, Affinity Plus Foundation executive director, left, congratulates Roseville Area High School business-education teachers Travis Birklid, center, and Bruce Holmseth, right. They and their program were among the 14 recipients of the Affinity Plus Foundation’s Cultivator Grants in 2016.

About The Affinity Plus Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Affinity Plus Foundation is a 501(c)(3) serving Minnesota communities. The Foundation proudly administers its own scholarship program, awards grants to non-profit groups and schools, and supports financial education initiatives through partnerships, presentations and resources. The Foundation operates on funds generated from its annual golf and fishing tournaments; annual silent auction; from Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union; and from generous donations from community members who believe in and support financial education.


Amy Hanson
Executive Director
Direct Dial: (651) 312-9684

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