Water Connects Us Celebration

Thank You to Our Supporters!

Thanks to those who joined us for the Water Connects Us Celebration, our live virtual fundraiser in support of healthy water for future generations including all Minnesotans and communities downstream—and to those who donated to protect healthy water.

Thank you for helping us surpass our goal of $60,000—if you can, help us reach our stretch goal of $70,000 by June 30!

🥤 Mix Your Drink! 🥤

Download the drink recipe card for the full details!

ingredients (rhubarb, strawberries, mint, honey)
Red drink with mint garnish

About This Event

6:30 pm, preshow 💧 7 pm, main event 💧 7:30 pm, post-show fun

Water Connects Us is a live virtual fundraising benefit charged with raising the financial resources our work for water requires. Join us as sponsors, donors, and community members from across the state come together to celebrate Minnesota's incredible water heritage and the role we each play in protecting it.

Water Connects Us has replaced Freshwater's annual Ice Out, Loon In in-person gala due to COVID-19 public health guidelines for the second year in a row. Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and support propelling our mission forward.

Event Details

6:30 pm—Tune in for pre-show fun!

woman with food and cookbooksBeth Dooley, a James Beard Award-winning food writer who has authored and co-authored over a dozen books, is creating a virtual mixology lesson for our event.

🍓 Tune in TONIGHT to see Beth demonstrate how to mix up a signature Freshwater cocktail/mocktail recipe (it's a strawberry rhubarb cooler!) using delicious ingredients that our good for water! Download the recipe card and get your own drink started.


7 pm—the LIVE main show begins!

Join us for live remarks from Freshwater Executive Director John Linc Stine, inspiring stories of Freshwater's programs in action, and a live Community Giving Moment in which viewers will have an opportunity to make a donation of support.

Laura BetkerOur emcee for the evening is KARE 11 meteorologist Laura Betker!

Laura joined the KARE 11 weather team in February 2012. Previously she worked in Lima, Ohio at WLIO as the morning meteorologist. She has also worked in radio and with the American Heart Association.

Laura was born and raised in Corcoran on the western edge of the Minneapolis suburbs. She is a meteorologist by trade, but as an amateur, enjoys gardening, cooking and sewing.

7:30 pm—stay tuned in for the post-show FUN!

two men with faces above water, reflectedTune in for a message and music from the Grammy Award winning Okee Dokee Brothers!

Ways to Participate in Water Connects Us from Home

💧 Host a watch party for your friends and neighbors!

💧 Track your water interactions for one day using our water drop tracker

💧 Bid in our online auction from 9 am Monday, June 21 to 7:30 pm Thursday, June 24.

💧 Donate anytime between now and the event to ensure healthy water for future generations. Give online, over the phone by calling Tera at 651-313-5800, or send a check made payable to Freshwater to 2550 University Ave W, Suite 212N, St. Paul, MN 55114. Or learn about other ways to give, like through a gift of stock, a donor advised fund, an IRA charitable rollover, and more.

💧 Make a cocktail (or mocktail) with renowned Beth Dooley during her pre-show segment the night of the event. Then share on social media!

💧 Speaking of social media, we'd love to see what makes fresh water (and everything it supports—recreation, wildlife, plants, and more!) important to you. Follow along and share photos of yourself or your family interacting with water or the great outdoors with #Freshwater #WaterConnectsUs #ProtectWater on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

💧 Engage kids in seeing the water that flows around them with activity books from Project Wet: Clean and Conserve and Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization's Junior Watershed Explorer or check out Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education Big River Journey Online. 

💧 Have a Summer Solstice Bonfire on Sunday June 20, 2021. Learn more about the solstice!

Wear a splash of blue

💧 Dress the part! You and your party can wear something blue and send us a photo! We'll put the pics together and post a photo collage on our social channels to show your support for Freshwater. 💧

Thank You to Our Sponsors and Hosts


Mosaic logo


Houston Engineering, inc


          Dr. Ed Ehlinger

          Peter Gove

          Phyllis & Roger Sherman

          University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences

Clean Lakes MN logo
Kenwood Commercial
stantec logo
Xcel Energy


Best & Flanagan
WSB logo

HOSTS - last updated 10:30 am 6/24

Peter Albrecht

Teresa & Doug Andrys, SunLeaf Naturals

Molly & Mark Biedenfeld

Todd Bolin

Blyth Brookman & Ben Jaffray

Beth Carreño

Mikhael Childs

Jeremy & Elizabeth Duehr

Don Davies & Mary Rice

Susan Denuccio

Randy Ellingboe

Barb & Steve Goodspeed

Jay Guthy, The Toro Company

Mike & Shelly Hanson

Marilyn Jones

Jen Kader

Jill Lucas

Corey Lohmiller

Vicki McLellan

Gene Merriam

Darby & Geri Nelson

Lynn Olson

Charles Oltman

Bruce Pigott

Faith Ralston

Mary & Justin Salisbury

Tom & Gai Skramstad

John Linc & Deb Stine

Kay Verros

Wallace Wadd

Steve & Susan Woods

✨Sponsor Water Connects Us✨

Add your name to the list of sponsors and hosts by contacting Development Officer Mary Salisbury at msalisbury@freshwater.org or 612-619-7136.

Thank You to Our Event Steering Committee

Molly Biedenfeld, 2021 chair

Todd Bolin, Renée Willette, Kate Pearce, Corey Lohmiller, Lili McMillan, Tom Skramstad, Blyth Brookman, Joan Nephew, Beth Carreño, Jill Lucas, John Linc Stine