graduate of the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, Kathleen “LaBonBon” LaBonne has extensive writing and business experience.  A former newspaper reporter and magazine features writer, Ms. LaBonne has served as public relations, marketing and development director for a major twin cities hospital, a long-term care facility in western Wisconsin, a St. Croix Valley commercial real estate company, a Stillwater organization serving adults with developmental disabilities and a top St. Paul mental health services agency. 

With a career spent mainly in the nonprofit sector, Ms. LaBonne understands the challenges most small to medium-sized entities face to stay afloat.  “It’s the rare organization,” she explained “that can survive in today’s competitive business environment without the support of private foundations.  Fee-for-service programs usually cover the basics but aren’t enough to meet corporate goals.  Yet, instead of being celebrated as a tremendous opportunity, grants are usually seen as a necessary evil.  The process is viewed as tedious and time-consuming, but in reality, the difficulty is symptomatic of a more serious issue:  quite simply, you can’t write the narrative without the necessary information.”

Ms. LaBonne added, “I started LaBonBon Communications to help businesses win awards and in the process become stronger.  Unlike other grant services, we’re a one-stop shop, offering experts who can help with the hard stuff that’s necessary before the actual writing.   In addition to helping companies meet and exceed fundraising objectives, my team of seasoned professionals help strengthen organizations through refocus and refinement of existing strategic and business plans. The Minnesota Common Grant application form can be the template for corporate achievement as it requires articulation of long range plans as well as goals, objectives and outcomes.  I tell my customers to view it as a road map to success.”

Oftentimes, through the grant writing process, undeveloped, or inadequate, areas in other parts of the business become apparent. In these cases, Ms. LaBonne can recommend professionals from her trusted network of partners, experts in areas such as website development and graphic design.
As a professional journalist, writing is the bedrock and mainstay of Ms. LaBonne's career. Personally, her passion is the preservation and support of Bon Bon Pond, a wildlife sanctuary founded by her parents and located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley.  “The Pond,” she confided,  “is my muse.  My animal friends and nature’s beauty provide inspiration for my work and give purpose to my life.