Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards

From 2015 to 2023, MCN and the McKnight Foundation have presented the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards to individuals who have served communities across Minnesota.

In partnership with the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive, four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, each received $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities.

Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards logo over an array of flowers and a green background

2023 Recipients

  • Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Natasha Kingbird, Bagley, Minnesota
  • Julie Malyon, Red Wing, Minnesota
  • Abdirahman (Abdi) Mukhtar, Minneapolis, Minnesota

2022 Recipients

  • Pat Castellano, Duluth
  • Arlen Johnson, Waite Park
  • HaoPay Lee, Woodbury
  • Carol Mulroy, Saint Paul

2021 Honorees

  • Ruth Evangelista, Bloomington
  • Richard Howell, Duluth
  • KingDemetrius Pendleton, St. Paul
  • Rawhi Said, Rochester

2020 Honorees

  • Patti Ballan, Rainer
  • Lisa Bellanger, Minneapolis
  • Desralynn Cole, Minneapolis
  • Hani Jacobson, Saint Cloud

2019 Honorees

  • Shanene Herbert, Minneapolis
  • Jamil Jackson, Minneapolis
  • Shirley Nordrum, Cass Lake
  • Patti Reibold, Red Wing

2018 Honorees

  • Joe Day, Bemidji
  • Memoona Ghani, Maple Grove
  • Carol Orban, Ely
  • Wynfred Russell, Brooklyn Park

2017 Honorees

  • Angela Edwards, Minneapolis
  • Jon Vang, St. Paul
  • Abdirizak “Zack” Mahboub, Willmar
  • Millicent Simenson, Bemidji

2016 Honorees

  • Deborah Jiang-Stein, Minneapolis
  • Koresh Lakhan, Duluth
  • Qamar Saadiq Saoud, Minneapolis
  • Dr. Arne Vainio, Cloquet

2015 Honorees

  • Tom Johnson, St. Paul
  • Wilbur Neushwander-Frink, Mankato
  • Mary Powell, Shoreview¬†(Honorable Mention)
  • Robianne Schultz, Perham¬†(Honorable Mention)