What is a Bell Bank Champion?
From music stars and pro athletes to world-renowned chefs, these diverse Champions embody Bell’s values – including being a family, treating people well and making our community a better place. These individuals add to our rich company culture, performing at events, attending celebrations, mic’ing up as keynote speakers and sharing their wisdom and inspiration with employees and customers alike.
We’re grateful to these outstanding individuals. The Champion roster has never been stronger!
Bell Bank Champion: Larry Fitzgerald Jr.
Find out what his partnership with Bell means for the causes he cares about.
3-Time Stanley Cup Winner
Moorhead, Minn., native and former NHL player Matt Cullen shares his Midwest roots with Bell. He represents Bell at community and civic events, engages in business development through professional contacts, and serves as an ambassador for Bell’s culture.
Matt won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, then with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He retired in 2019 after 2 final seasons with the Minnesota Wild and the Penguins.
Matt and his wife, Bridget, and their 3 sons now live in Moorhead, Minn. He and Bridget do extensive charitable work through their Cullen Children’s Foundation – improving the quality of life and increasing awareness for children and families dealing with cancer or life-threatening diseases. Matt’s initiative, ProjectGRACE, a part of the foundation, also reaches children more directly, funding whatever they need.
Emmy Award-Winning Actor
Television and movie actor Josh Duhamel is a Bell Bank Champion, adding to his roles in acting as a brand ambassador for Bell, and partnering with us through his charitable work.
Josh has appeared in All My Children, Las Vegas, four Transformers films, The Lost Husband, Think like a Dog and more.
In spring 2020, Josh joined professional golfers Amy Olson and Tom Hoge and 3-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Cullen for the first ever Play It Forward charity golf event presented by Bell Bank. The event raised more than $267,000 for local charitable organizations. (While not yet a Champion at the first event, golfing with 3 Champions inspired Josh to join the roster soon after.)
Called one of “Hollywood’s humanitarians,” Josh has also been involved in fundraising and support for charities including the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, WildAid and the African Community and Conservation Foundation (ACCF).
Larry Fitzgerald Jr.
Philanthropist and Former NFL Player
Larry Fitzgerald Jr. is widely respected and recognized not only in Arizona sports, but also as a community leader, investor and philanthropist.
A native of Minneapolis, Larry starred at the University of Pittsburgh and played for 17 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, setting franchise and NFL records.
Larry established The Larry Fitzgerald Foundation with a 2-part mission to focus on youth education and breast cancer awareness. The foundation promotes reading proficiency and technology access for K-12 youth, and breast cancer awareness by aiding in research, resources and support for women, men and families impacted by breast cancer.
Our partnership event, the Larry Fitzgerald Jr. Bell Bank Golf Classic, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in Phoenix and Minneapolis for charities that are meaningful to Larry and his family.
Sports Broadcaster and Play-by-Play Announcer
Marney Gellner is a longtime broadcaster and announcer for pro baseball and basketball games. One of very few women sports announcers when she first started her career, Marney’s knowledge and humor have made her a widely recognized face and voice in Minnesota sports.
Now described as “at home in any broadcast booth,” Marney has been with Bally (formerly FOX) Sports North since 2002, including stints in sideline reporting, pre-game and post-game analysis hosting and interviews, and play-by-play announcing for the Lynx, Timberwolves and Twins.
Marney has supported numerous local foundations, charities and fundraising events and has co-hosted the annual Twins Diamond Awards, a celebration of baseball, medical research and philanthropy.
Country Artist & Radio Personality
Chris Hawkey wears many hats. He’s a rising country music singer and songwriter and a co-host and producer on KFAN sports radio. He also regularly produces and contributes to Minnesota Vikings radio broadcasts (with fellow Bell Bank Champion Ben Leber).
Chris combines his loves of music, broadcasting and helping others through so much of his work. In fact, he has been involved in numerous charities, including Tuberous Sclerosis (TC) Alliance, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
A fixture at our some of our biggest team events, Chris is also a proud Bell Bank customer. Read more of his story, and find out why he loves Bell.
Fargo native Tom Hoge has been a professional golfer since 2011 and joined the PGA TOUR in 2015. As one of his major sponsors, we’re proud to see him sport Bell Bank’s logo. Among the top 100 players in FedExCup rankings, Tom has career earnings of more than $5.6 million.
To kick off the 2020 Masters Tournament, Tom teamed up with golf legend Tom Lehman for an exclusive virtual discussion, called “Chasing the Jacket: A Masters Chat.” With Bell as the presenting sponsor – along with partners Forum Communications and WDAY-TV – bank employees and customers conferenced in for stories from the greens and insights about golfing at the highest level.
Tom calls The Village Family Service Center and The First Tee of Fort Worth 2 causes he’s passionate about.
College Basketball Coach
Minnesota native and men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson displays values and volunteerism that match the “pay it forward” mentality that’s at the heart of Bell Bank.
A graduate of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, where he was a multisport athlete, Ben played basketball at the University of Minnesota and served as an assistant coach at Minnesota and most recently at Xavier before returning to his alma mater as head coach.
Away from the arena, Ben is excited about connecting with Bell and partnering to help people in our community and neighborhoods, particularly kids.
James Beard Award-Winning Chef
Top chef Gavin Kaysen owns 4 nationally recognized Twin Cities eateries – Spoon and Stable (a 2015 James Beard finalist), Bellecour Bakery at Cooks, Demi in the North Loop and Mara at the Four Seasons. Mentored by celebrated chefs early in his career, Gavin now mentors and showcases up-and-coming chefs through the nonprofit Ment’or BKB Foundation (formerly Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation).
In 2020, Gavin started a nonprofit called Heart of the House Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which deeply affected the restaurant community. As founder of Soigné Hospitality Group, Gavin’s mission was to sustain the growth, health and prosperity of each and every Soigné restaurant team member and their families.
Gavin has been honored with 2 James Beard Awards – as Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2008 and Best Chef: Midwest in 2018.
Gavin lives in Minneapolis with his wife and 3 sons.
Former NFL Linebacker & Sportscaster
Retired Minnesota football player Ben Leber is now a college football broadcaster for FOX Sports and a Vikings sideline analyst for KFAN radio in Minneapolis. Ben was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 2002 NFL draft. He joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. In his 5 seasons with Minnesota, he was part of several top-ranked run defenses and played in the 2009 NFC Championship game. He was selected a player representative all 5 years and given the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award by local media.
One of Ben’s first projects as a Bell Bank Champion was the "Ben Leber Bell Bank Challenge" fundraiser. Ben and Bell teamed up to match donations dollar for dollar, helping patients and families at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ben has been involved in numerous local charities including St. Jude and the “Taste of NFL” initiative for hunger relief.
Bell Bank has been one of Amy Olson’s major sponsors since she got her LPGA tour card in 2014. A native of Fargo, and North Dakota State University’s most decorated golfer (she holds the NCAA individual victory record with 20), Amy had a breakout season in 2018. She’s among the top 50 earners on the LPGA tour and was right in it at the 2018 Evian Championship, tying for second.
Bell is one of Amy’s biggest fans and even went as far as creating T-shirts with “Amy’s Army” to cheer her on at the 2019 LPGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. The feeling is mutual, as Amy isn’t shy about the fact that she loves her bank – and is proud to be represented by a company she’s banked with since she was 6 years old.
When not on tour, Amy lives in Fargo, N.D., with her husband, Grant.
Fargo native and triathlete Branden Scheel has banked with Bell his whole life. He says that makes Bell’s sponsorship of him even more meaningful. Bell is proud to support Branden as he pushes his mental and physical limits in multisport races that test his endurance through swimming, cycling, and running. In addition to setting 5 course records around North Dakota and Minnesota in 2018, Branden also came in sixth in his age group in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship in Australia.
When he’s not out competing, Branden’s passionate about supporting Colorado Youth Outdoors and Smile Train, a charity that helps children who have a cleft lip or palate.
Chef-Restaurateur and Community LeaderAfter studying culinary arts in Paris, Mark Tarbell moved back to Arizona – where he achieved his dream of restaurant ownership in 1994 when he opened Tarbell’s Restaurant. In addition to Tarbell’s, which has become an iconic central Phoenix establishment, Mark also owns Barmouche, The Oven (in Colorado), The Wine Store and The Tavern.
Nominated for Best Chef Southwest by the James Beard Foundation, Mark has said he’s happiest when teaching up-and-coming chefs. A two-time inductee into the Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame, he was also the winner of Iron Chef America.
Not only is Mark a renowned chef, but just as importantly, he is a stalwart supporter of charitable causes in Phoenix and beyond. His service includes many advisory councils and boards, as well as co-emceeing Circle the City and serving as Honorary Chair of the 2022 Heart Ball. Mark also frequently lends his services at events as a chef and wine connoisseur, helping raise millions of dollars in support of causes including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CASA, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Hospice of the Valley, and C-CAP.
Basketball Hall of Famer
Minnesota native and women’s basketball star Lindsay Whalen is a great role model: an ambassador for her sport and for the state of Minnesota. Lindsay led the U of M women’s basketball team to its first NCAA Final Four appearance and later played for the Minnesota Lynx, winning 4 WNBA championships, 2 world championships and 2 Olympic gold medals. She also coached the U of M women’s basketball team for 5 seasons. In 2022, Lindsay was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Lindsay is passionate about promoting social justice issues, adding her voice and actions to the work that can make our communities even better.