Board Member Spotlight: Jonathan Weinhagen
Tell us about your background and why you care about expanding housing opportunities.
Business is in my blood. After spending over a decade leading in my family’s fourth generation company in Saint Paul, I took a role at the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and now lead the Minneapolis Regional Chamber. Housing affordability is increasingly an area of concern for employers and employees. People who are worried about losing their homes can’t be productive. We need to consider housing as a key part of our region’s economic infrastructure and recognize the important role it plays in our economic competitiveness.
Why were you interested in serving on the Family Housing Fund board?
Honestly, it was a bit selfish and as I write this, I realize that I should probably keep that to myself! For much of the decade I’ve spent advocating on behalf of the business community in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Region, housing has not been a top tier priority – or priority at all. As it became increasingly clear that housing was emerging as a critical business issue, I needed to gain some expertise. I’ve learned a tremendous amount through my service on the board and am passionate about the work that the Family Housing Fund advances.
What housing aspirations do you have for the region?
That’s simple: Safe, stable, and affordable housing for everyone. Period.
What is one area where you think people generally fail to think big enough – and what is your vision for change?
I don’t think you can pick just one area, especially in Minnesota. We love to talk about the “Minnesota Miracle,” but today we consistently underestimate ourselves and fail to cast a grand vision to solve some of our region’s and state’s greatest challenges. We seem to self-moderate and have resigned to accepting incremental progress. It’s been half a century, folks. Perhaps it’s time for “Minnesota Miracle 2.0!”
What do you do for fun?
As lame as the saying, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” is, it’s true. I have fun advocating for our region every day. When I’m not doing that I’m on my road bike, hanging out with my wife and four boys or having a martini.