Don Ness to lead Ordean Foundation

Don Ness

Former Duluth Mayor Don Ness announced Tuesday he would be the next executive director of the Duluth-based Ordean Foundation.

Just six months into a new gig in workforce development at Lake Superior College, Ness posted on social media that the opportunity to lead the Ordean Foundation was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ness assumes the new job in January.

Duluth banker Albert Ordean and his wife Louise created the foundation in 1933 to address issues related to poverty. The couple had no children. The Ordean Foundation gave out $1.6 million in 2015, according to the Duluth News Tribune, with about $34.3 million in total assets. Over the years, it has disbursed more than $68 million to a multitude of individuals and groups.

“I’ll be focused on developing and supporting strategies to address the root causes of poverty and disparities in our community,” said Ness on Facebook. “For nearly 90 years, the Ordean Foundation has been a modest, yet impactful partner in addressing Duluth’s greatest challenges. I’m proud to join such an outstanding organization.”

Ness left the mayoral office a year ago, succeeded by Emily Larson. He took a job as Director of Workforce Development at Lake Superior College earlier this year.

With the move, Ness joins Northland Foundation director Tony Sertich as another DFL rising star of the early 2000s who chose leading a philanthropic organization instead of running for office.


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