The vision for establishing this Foundation had its origin as a tribute to Scott Anderson's life. The motivation came from the community, which valued all the good that Scott's life represented, reflecting the desire of the community to "do good" as a tribute and fitting legacy.

An important step was taken February 1, 2000, when the ad hoc group that had been working since the fall of 1999 to establish the Foundation made the decision to move forward by authorizing the Northland Foundation to deliver a program for thirty ninth-grade youth beginning in the fall of 2000. The program, based on the program Northland Foundation had developed for area communities, was called the Scott Anderson Leadership Academy. Another important step taken in the spring of 2000 was formalization of the organization as the Scott D. Anderson Leadership Foundation (SALF) as a Fund within the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. An endowment gift in the summer of 2000 of $600,000 from the Ray Foundation together with significant contributions from individuals and grant awards from several local Rotary Clubs and Northland Foundation assured the goal of long-term viability for a high-quality, values-oriented yearly leadership development program for a significant number of youth.

By 2003 the Northland Foundation had elected to fold their excellent Leadership Academy into their Kids Plus program under a different title and the Board of Advisers of SALF was working to establish a leadership program that was high school-based and reflected the goals of the Foundation. An extensive series of meetings, visits and interviews culminated in establishing a yearly week-long program based on a highly respected program in Blue Earth, Minnesota. The first Scott Anderson Leadership Forum was held at Marshall School, June 2003, with 10 local high school staff in training led by folks from the Blue Earth program. Learn more about the program now by following this link.

The vision for, and the creation of, this Foundation was the result of the collective efforts of the Founding Board of Advisers comprised of Richard Swenson (Vice President), Gerri and Dan Lewis, Jackson Huntley, Paul Johnston, Dean Vogel, Pat Waddick, Dale Klapmeier, Peter Strommen, Barbara Elliot, Christine Penney, Laurie Anderson, Todd and Catherine Anderson, and Paul (President) and Carol Anderson.