Lin Van Hofwegen Leaves A Legacy and Lots of Memories
By: Andrea Schmidt
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lin Van Hofwegen during her last week of employment with Dakota Resources. She joined the staff in 2005, the second hire for the organization, starting in an administrative role. Fifteen years later, she left her position as Managing Director of Dakotas America to follow her calling to work in ministry.
If you’re not familiar, Dakotas America is a certified Community Development Entity (CDE) that assigns New Markets Tax Credit allocations to help remote and distressed areas of the United States enhance quality of life. They seek to promote job growth and focus on starting or growing enterprises that are rural economic engines. They have helped provide $400 million in allocation to these projects, which in turn created more than 5,000 jobs and gave more than 370 thousand people access to healthcare. Dakota Resources is proud to be a stakeholder in Dakotas America along with Rural Development Finance Corp, based in Bismarck ND.
During Lin’s time there, she worked on 32 NMTC transactions. She is proud of every one of them, but she has some favorite stories to tell. Below are a couple of them, in her own words.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Let me tell you about one of my favorite projects – the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM. They have four medical schools, two of which we had the privilege of being involved in constructing. One is in Auburn, Alabama, and the other in Monroe, Louisiana, which was recently completed.
VCOM attracts students with rural backgrounds and has a high percentage of graduates returning to serve rural communities. Odds are, if you grew up in rural you’re more likely to go back and serve in rural. At last count, they had accepted over 30 students from North and South Dakota.
Oglala Lakota County Schools
We’ve done four large-scale school projects on Pine Ridge with the Oglala Lakota County School District, along with GROW SD. I had worked with Monica, the principal of the elementary school whose daughter was in 8th grade at the time. She wanted to do something special for the students who were completing 8th grade and wouldn’t get to attend the new school, so she wanted to take them on a class trip. On the day of closing, I shared that with the 30 service providers on the call, and I asked if anyone would want to contribute. We raised $10,000 – over and above what they needed. Those kids got one great class trip.
They planned a field trip to Minneapolis and arranged to take buses. Renner is about a halfway point, so we offered to provide a stopping place for some food and fun. We worked with Renner Corner Meats to cater a meal, and we rented bouncy houses. Everyone had a great time.
Then, at the grand opening that following fall, Monica asked me to come forward, and the two young people who led the flag ceremony, one of which was her daughter, now a high school freshman, presented me with a beautiful star quilt. That was a rewarding memory.
What Lin will miss the most
The people I work with daily, and both my Advisory Board and Governing Board. The people that I have worked with have been phenomenal, of the highest caliber. Working with people with such competence and integrity has been a great honor. They have been a fabulous team.
I couldn’t ask for a better Governing Board. We have worked hard at developing unity around a group of people who don’t see each other in person more than once or twice a year. They represent communities across both North and South Dakota. And our Advisory Board is group of people from all over the country. They have come together to do this good work, volunteering with their own sacrifice of time. They are doing tremendous work and have been very good to me.
It’s been an honor to be part of this work and this fabulous team. The good work will continue and become even better. I’m excited for the future for everyone.