Montgomery named interim CEO and president

Former Duluth official to lead foundation during search for permanent successor

DULUTH—David Montgomery, former chief administrative officer for the City of Duluth, will lead the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation as interim president and CEO while the nonprofit seeks a permanent top official, the foundation announced today.

Montgomery, 62, is a member of the foundation’s board of trustees and chair of its investment committee. He will start immediately and work with Holly Sampson, the current president and CEO, until she retires June 30. Sampson has served 30 years in that role.

“It’s a privilege to serve this institution, which has done so much good for the Twin Ports and the Northland,” Montgomery said. “The board has secured the services of a search firm, and we anticipate filling this position on a permanent basis soon. In the meantime, I am honored to work with the professional staff, our donors, our partners and other stakeholders to continue the foundation’s important work.”

Montgomery served as Duluth’s chief administrative officer from 2009 to 2018, when he retired. He initially was hired as the city’s chief financial officer and worked in that role for several months before then-Mayor Don Ness elevated him to the top staff position. Montgomery helped stabilize the city’s budget after a financial crisis and also helped Duluth recover after a flash flood did more than $100 million in damage in 2012. Before working for the city, Montgomery served in a number of top finance and accounting roles, including at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and Advanstar Communications in Cleveland and Duluth. He started his career at the McGladrey & Pullen accounting firm in the Twin Cities. He has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Minnesota State University Mankato.

“Dave is the right leader for the foundation while we continue our search for a permanent president and CEO,” said David Kropid, chair of the board of trustees. “He knows the operations, he’s a great manager, and he knows our community and region. The board and I want to thank him for
stepping up at this important time.”

The foundation is one of the Northland’s farthest-reaching and most impactful nonprofits. Its mission is to encourage private giving for the public good through a community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations. It makes grants to other nonprofits for projects and to individuals for college scholarships. It also provides leadership on important community initiatives in seven counties of northeast Minnesota and three counties of northwest Wisconsin. Its coverage area extends from International Falls on the north to Carlton on the south and from Aitkin on the west to Ashland on the east.

Since its start in 1983, it has distributed more than $60 million in grants and scholarships and has established more than 430 funds. Some of its major initiatives include:
 Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project, which encourages civic engagement by building and sustaining civil discourse.
 Opportunity Rising, an initiative to narrow the opportunity gap between rich and poor children in Duluth and Superior.
 Attracting and retaining young adults in the Northland to improve lives and address workforce needs.
 Encouraging and developing programs that tap philanthropic involvement to support disaster preparation and recovery, now a collaboration called Ready North.
 A response to economic and health crises posed by COVID-19 in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. This work recently resulted in grants of more than $1 million to area nonprofits, in collaboration with other funding partners.

“We thank Holly for all she has done over the past 30 years to build the foundation and set it on a successful path,” Kropid said. “We appreciate Dave’s leadership in this interim period with the foundation’s staff, donors and partners as we work to ensure a strong future for this important

Rob Karwath | North Coast Communications
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