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Thousands of students across the Upper Midwest to receive backpacks stocked with school supplies


This summer, thousands of students will receive brand-new backpacks stuffed with essential school supplies through the Bremer Backpacks initiative. Made possible by Bremer Bank’s expanded partnership with United Way, this first-of-its-kind initiative ensures more than 5,000 children in need across the Upper Midwest will be equipped to tackle the upcoming school year.

During the week of June 10, hundreds of Bremer Bank employees volunteered in shifts to assemble the backpacks at the company’s Service Center in Lake Elmo. Stocked with classroom essentials including crayons, markers, colored pencils, notebooks, pocket folders, glue sticks, scissors, pencil pouches, erasers and pencil sharpeners, completed backpacks will be distributed to more than 65 Bremer locations throughout its footprint in Greater Minnesota, western Wisconsin and North Dakota.

Launched in conjunction with Bremer’s 75th year in business, the Bremer Backpack initiative represents the company’s philanthropic mission – originally stemming from founder Otto Bremer – to invest in the communities they serve.

“For 75 years, Bremer Bank has defined its purpose as helping our communities grow and prosper,” said Jeanne Crain, president and CEO of Bremer Bank. “We are proud to continue this commitment through the Bremer Backpack initiative and are thrilled to have a such a dedicated partner in the Greater Twin Cities United Way.”

“When it comes to educational success, our vision is that all children are ready to thrive academically, personally and socially,” said John Wilgers, president and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. “We are grateful to Bremer Bank for its support and commitment to helping students in the Upper Midwest start the year off confidently and ready to learn.”

According to the 2018 Huntington Backpack Index, the average cost of classroom supplies is $637 for an elementary school student, $941 for a middle school student and $1,355 for a high school student. A 2018 survey from the National Center for Education Statistics notes that 94 percent of public school teachers pay an average of $479 worth of classroom supplies per year out of their own pocket, with some spending more than $1,000.

About Bremer Financial Corporation

Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately held, regional financial services company with $16 billion in assets, jointly owned by the Otto Bremer Trust and Bremer employees. Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and provides a comprehensive range of banking, mortgage, investment, wealth management, and insurance products and services throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Clients include small businesses, mid-sized corporations, agribusinesses, nonprofits, public and government entities, and individuals and families.