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“The 50th” Speaker Series


“Stories are powerful things: they create our reality as much as they explain it.” – Alex Evans

This year, we are celebrating Wolf Ridge’s 50th Anniversary with “The 50th Speaker Series!” Each FREE event features members of the Wolf Ridge community and beyond, including current staff and alumni of our naturalist training program and summer camps. An inspirational variety of topics are giving us an opportunity to come together and learn. For a list of future speakers and videos of past events, see the side menu.

Our next event is… 


An Evening with R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation

Thursday, March 18, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

What does Wolf Ridge have to offer Minneapolis and vice versa? The former mayor of Minneapolis and an avid cross-country skier, R.T. will cover a range of topics including recent developments in philanthropy, education, and inclusion. Come ready with questions! 

R.T. Rybak has served as President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation since July of 2016. As the leader of one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country, Rybak oversees the management of nearly $900 million in assets; the administration of more than 1,400 charitable funds created by individuals, families, and businesses; and the average annual distribution of more than $80 million in grants.

A Minneapolis native, R.T. Rybak spent almost 30 years working in journalism, the commercial real estate business, publishing, and the Internet before being elected mayor of Minneapolis (2002-2013) in his first run for public office. Most recently he served as Executive Director of Generation Next a coalition of civic, business, and school leaders focused on closing the racial achievement gap in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

He is the author of “Pothole Confidential” about his 12 years as Mayor of Minneapolis. He also serves as Chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation a 20-year public-private economic development initiative to facilitate and support public infrastructure in Rochester. He and his wife Megan O’Hara, have two grown children.

Hosts Phil and Schele Smith.
Sponsored by North Star Resource Group

We’ll end the evening with a short update from the board or staff about the impacts COVID-19 has had on the center, how Wolf Ridge is adapting, and how you can help us make it through the months ahead.