ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, U.S. — The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable contributions from CHS Inc., a U.S. farmer-owned cooperative, announced the appointment of Nanci Lilja as its new president.
In the role of CHS Foundation president, Lilja will lead the foundation’s work to develop the next generation of agriculture leaders, champion national agriculture safety and advance rural vitality in hometown communities.
Lilja’s career at CHS spans the last 37 years, with progressive leadership roles in the organization’s legal and compliance areas. Lilja brings strong knowledge of the cooperative system and rural communities to her role as foundation president.
“I’m excited to build on the wonderful momentum the CHS Foundation and our partners are creating across the country to positively impact agriculture education, farm safety and rural communities,” Lilja said. “I believe in being grounded in work that helps agricultural communities grow, while keeping the evolving needs of our communities in focus.”
The CHS Foundation trustees approved the appointment of Lilja replacing Mark Biedenfeld, who served as the CHS Foundation’s interim president during the search process. Biedenfeld will continue to partner with Lilja as the executive liaison to the foundation working to advance key opportunity areas.
“Over the past year, we’ve taken a thoughtful look at the work of the CHS Foundation and the critical role this president will play with our partners and our communities,” said David Kayser, chair of the CHS Foundation finance and investment committee. “Nanci is the type of leader we want bringing continued purpose, focus and results to our work as a foundation.”
Lilja will lead the CHS Foundation’s implementation and activation of two of the largest gifts in foundation history. Last year, CHS Foundation announced a $3.4 million grant to transform agriculture education with the University of Minnesota, and also a $2.5 million grant to create the CHS Chair in Risk Management and Trading at North Dakota State University.
Lilja currently serves as the chair of the Heartland Credit Union Board of Directors and is the incoming chair of the Certifying Board of the National Association of Legal Assistants. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.