Meet Anne and Ed
That is what Laura Baker Services Association (LBSA) employees, donors, volunteers and community members have been doing since Miss Laura Baker founded the school over 125 years ago.
Ed and Anne Lundstrom’s connection to LBSA goes back almost 25 years of that long history. Anne, who founded All Flex Solutions, acknowledges that she didn’t know much about the Laura Baker School when she first moved to Northfield. It wasn’t until All Flex was asked to sponsor a table at the LBSA Gala in 1999, that she and her husband, Ed, became familiar with the mission and work of LBSA by hearing the stories of staff, clients and family members. “We developed such an appreciation for what would go on there. We gained a real understanding of the work the staff do. The work is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was eye-opening.”
The flame had been lit.
As the years passed, Ed and Anne were inspired to get more involved and found numerous ways to connect with and assist the organization – above and beyond attending the annual Gala. They began attending and helping at Dinner Theater (an annual dinner and program held for LBSA clients). The couple served on Gala planning committees and hosted elaborate dinners and cooking classes (In addition to 25 years at Sheldahl, including as CEO, Ed is also a chef!) that were auctioned off at past Galas. Later, they were invited to join the board, which Ed did in 2006. He served on the development committee, and they both served on the major gifts committee for the capital campaign. Perhaps, most importantly, the couple served as ambassadors for LBSA and people with developmental disabilities to the community by introducing friends and business colleagues to the organization and encouraging them to get involved. In 2014, Ed and Anne received the Bob Bonner Distinguished Service Award for their work on behalf of LBSA.
They believe there are many benefits to having LBSA in the community. Anne says, “The people you care for here … where else would they go? It shows that this community is caring and supports those less fortunate, and that is very important.” She adds, “It’s not just the residents either – LBSA is an employer and provides jobs.” To Ed, there is also a significant benefit for family members who have a loved one that receives services at LBSA, recalling, “Our friends told us about the first night that their son moved into LBSA – that it was the first time they had ever slept through the night! There is a huge benefit to family members, too.”
Today, Ed and Anne continue to ignite hope and are members of LBSA’s Laura Baker Society for households/businesses who are either Lifetime Donors (lifetime giving over $100,000), Legacy Club Members or past or present LBSA board members. Ed and Anne have checked all three of those boxes.
Even though Ed and Anne no longer live in Northfield, they still feel a sense of community with LBSA. “We met so many people over the years through our work at LBSA; we are still connected to many of them,” Anne says.
In her 40 years at LBSA, Executive Director Sandi Gerdes has met thousands of employees, volunteers, supporters and family members who have helped positively shape the organization. When asked to describe Ed and Anne Lundstrom’s connection to LBSA, Sandi says, “Sometimes the universe drops unexpected gifts like Ed and Anne. They opened their hearts and their home to LBSA, working to connect people to LBSA in many ways. We still see the impact of those connections today: donors, volunteers and board members.”