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The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners reappointed two Hennepin County residents to the Hennepin County Library Board on March 12 and appointed two new members on March 26.
Caitlin Cahill of Maple Plain and Gary Thaden of Minneapolis (Lowry Hill East neighborhood) were reappointed; their new terms will expire on Dec. 31, 2015. Wynfred Russell of Brooklyn Park was appointed to complete the term of NuRocha Williams, who resigned in November 2012 and whose term expires at the end of this year. Also newly appointed to the Library Board is Doris Rubenstein of Richfield, who replaces Claudia Kelly. Rubenstein’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2015.
County Board Chair Mike Opat said, "Impressively qualified applicants continue to far outweigh the number of vacancies we have on the Hennepin County Library Board, and I am grateful to each one of them for their passion and dedication. Congratulations to Caitlin and Gary on their reappointment, as well as Doris and Wynfred on their appointments. I have great confidence in their abilities to contribute to the ongoing growth and success of one of the finest library systems in the nation."
Library Director Lois Langer Thompson said, “I want to express the Library’s gratitude to Claudia Kelly for her service and commitment to libraries. Among her many contributions to the Library Board, she oversaw the development of a fully integrated policy portfolio for Hennepin County Library.
“We appreciate the interest in the Library expressed by a very diverse group of applicants,” Thompson continued. “The Library staff and I recognize that Caitlin, Gary, Wynfred and Doris represent the talents, knowledge and skills of residents throughout Hennepin County, and we all look forward to working with them.”
Wynfred Russell says he has “an ongoing history of demonstrated willingness to engage the hurdles faced by under-represented groups, particularly as community leaders today have to deal with a variety of economic and political issues that challenge and test the fiscal sustainability of education, health and human service programs.”
Russell is a former researcher at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. Prior to that, he served as director of the Center for Multicultural Services at Normandale Community College. He is a former instructor in the Department of African American & African Studies at the U of M, where he taught for six years. He has also taught at North Hennepin Community College and Century College, and has conducted many cross-cultural health and intercultural educational workshops throughout Minnesota and the U.S.
In 2009, he co-directed a conference on “Cultural Competency, Equity, and the Future of Black Education,” which brought educational experts together from around the country to design strategies to help close Minnesota’s nagging achievement gap between minority and majority students.
That same year, Russell received the Human Rights Award from the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions. He was commended for his service to numerous organizations and the community at large and for setting a “powerful example for all.”
Russell, who says he is committed to “winning or preserving equality and justice for people whose circumstances make them vulnerable to prejudice, discrimination, or injustice,” has extensive civic involvement:
- Commissioner, City of Brooklyn Park Planning Commission
- Board secretary, Envision Minnesota
- Member, American Evaluation Association
- Co-chair, Community Collaboration Council (CCC) - Osseo Area Schools
- Member, Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)
- Co-director, Conference on Cultural Competency, Equity, and the Future of Black Education - Minnesota Humanities Center
- Former member, Board of Directors, Center for Asian Pacific Islanders (CAPI)
- Member, Minnesota Evaluation Association
- Former member, Community Cooperative Council on HIV/AIDS Prevention (CCCHAP) - Minnesota Department of Health
- Former commissioner, City of Brooklyn Park Human Rights Commission.
Russell, who is a patron of Hennepin County libraries in Maple Grove, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, said, “I am greatly humbled by the opportunity to serve on the Hennepin County Library Board. I look forward to adding my voice to the many voices who advocate for access, equity, and inclusion for groups historically underrepresented.”
Doris Rubenstein, principal consultant of PDP Services, a philanthropy development consulting firm, has 40 years of experience in fundraising, philanthropy, and journalism. Her book, “The Good Corporate Citizen: A Practical Guide,” advises businesses on the complexities of planning and administration of charitable giving and volunteer programs.
Rubenstein, who received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. from Augsburg College, has worked with the University of Minnesota and CARE, plus dozens of private family foundations. Her current consulting clients include private individuals and families, high-technology manufacturers and service providers, banks, professional services firms, and a wide variety of companies in other sectors.
Rubenstein is a popular speaker with industry groups and professional societies and has been published in over a dozen magazines and newspapers. She is a past regular guest columnist with the Twin Cities Business Journal and Star Tribune and was a contributing editor for CPA Wealth Provider Magazine. Currently, she is the arts reporter for Minnesota’s American Jewish World newspaper.
Among her honors, Rubenstein has been named a Woman Changemaker by the Twin Cities Business Journal and received the Kenneth Clark Award from the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina. Her volunteer work includes service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador.
When asked why she wants to serve on the Library Board, Rubenstein said, "I thought that I, as a writer, could bring a different perspective to what people are reading these day. Also, I wanted to make sure that my community, Richfield, had a voice in library policies and activities. Richfield fits the profile for diversity across Hennepin County and should be a bellwether for the rest of the county."
Library Board members meet monthly at a Hennepin County Library.
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners regularly seeks applicants from the community to fill positions on the Library Board and other citizen advisory boards. For information: http://www.hennepin.us/volunteering.
For more information about the Library Board, call 612-543-8504 or go online to http://www.hclib.org/pub/info/libraryboard.cfm.