Annandale, Minn. (Jan. 18, 2019) – True Friends recently received a $100,000 donation from the Norman C. Skalicky Foundation and Stearns Bank to benefit general operations at True Friends.
“This generous gift from the Norman C. Skalicky Foundation and Stearns Bank makes it possible to carry on our mission of high quality, personalized care to our clients,” said John LeBlanc, President & CEO of True Friends said. “I know our clients and board of directors are very thankful for this gift.”
Beyond keeping the lights on, general operations at True Friends supports program development and critical infrastructure initiatives to provide exceptional care for individuals participating in camp, respite, horse therapy and travel services.
“Stearns Bank has always been passionate about giving back to the community, even more so to those needing a helping hand,” Skalicky said. “The work of True Friends to enhance self-esteem and independence aligns well with our mission to help foster growth and success.”
While True Friends programs provide life-changing experiences for our participants, they also offer caregivers a moment of respite; a chance to rest and to relieve the stress that sometimes occurs while caring for individuals with special needs.
About the Norman C. Skalicky Foundation
Norman C. Skalicky is CEO and Chairman of Stearns Bank, N.A. The Norman C. Skalicky Foundation (NCSF) was formed in 2001 with the help of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. Since then, NCSF has initiated several fund-raising challenges and supported various community causes to benefit those in need. Recipients of this great community resource include Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs, United Way, various food shelf organizations and several disaster relief efforts.
The Camp Cambria Foundation is investing over $2.2 million renovating several buildings at Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN.
“The gift from the Camp Cambria Foundation will truly enhance the quality of experience our participants will enjoy for generations to come,” said True Friends President & CEO John LeBlanc. “We are humbled by their dedication and commitment to support individuals of all abilities.”
The Camp Cambria Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation team up every summer to offer a specialized camp session for kids and teens with juvenile arthritis called Camp Cambria, held at Camp Courage in Maple Lake. Over the years, the foundation saw an opportunity to not only create a better experience for their campers, but also for over 1,300 children and adults with disabilities who enjoy Camp Courage each summer.
Renovation of the Lakeside dining hall, health center and arts & crafts building began in February and will continue through early summer. The dining hall will be torn down to the studs and rebuilt to be a year-round gathering space featuring an upgraded kitchen and restructured bathrooms. The health center will see new updates in layout, equipment and finishes; while the arts & crafts building will provide more accessibility.
The renovation is supported by several local and family-owned vendors from a variety of fields including electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC and many others.
Learn more about the project by visiting www.truefriends.org/ccfreno.
John LeBlanc was recently named President and CEO of True Friends effective January 1, 2018.
“I am thrilled to be leading such an inspiring organization that has a strong foundation created by Ed Stracke,” said LeBlanc. “I look forward to continuing to offer the same life-changing experiences for individuals of all abilities, while being responsive to the growing needs of the populations we serve.”
John was first introduced to True Friends through one of his sons.
“Our family initially learned about True Friends when we were looking for a camping experience for our son who happens to have a physical disability,” said John. “When we picked him up from his first camp experience, he was so excited to give us a tour and show us all the things he did during his week of camp. Right then I realized how impactful True Friends is for participants and their families.”
John was inspired by the mission of True Friends and sought opportunities to be further engaged. He came on board later in 2014 as a Development Officer and had the opportunity to expand into the Chief Operations Officer role in 2015.True Friends began the search for a new President and CEO in the summer of 2017 with support from the search firm CohenTaylor. John was chosen from a group of five highly-qualified candidates to succeed Stracke, who had led the organization for over 33 years.
Prior to his career at True Friends, John worked in Fund Development for a variety of nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities. John lives in Minneapolis with his wife Michelle and their four children.