Willmar Area Community Foundation

Group of Children

Award in Philanthropy

The Award in Philanthropy recognizes the efforts of an individual, couple, or family who have significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy in the region—either through their personal philanthropy, their work as a volunteer, or through their work as a professional in advising their clients about philanthropy.

The Award in Philanthropy was created in an effort to honor those who work to build a better community and inspire the next generation of philanthropic leaders.

The Marv Otto Award

The Foundation also established the Marv Otto Award after his death in 2009 and honored the first recipient in 2012. Marv Otto, a well-known Atwater resident and business leader, established endowments at the WACF to benefit the people and communities he loved. He was the kind person who would stop by the grocery store, give the clerk $100 for a certain person who he knew needed it, and ask to remain anonymous.

The Award is made to recognize an individual or couple who personifies Marv Otto's spirit and strengthens the community with an endowment or irrevocable estate gift.

Community Builder Award

The Community Builder Award recognizes the efforts of a company/business, an organization, or a professional advisor that has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy in the region. We are now accepting nominations for The Community Builder Award from the Foundation's Board, Past Board members and the Development Committee.

The Innovative Impact Award

The Innovative Impact Award is given to recognize an individual, couple/family, organization, group or professional advisor that is innovatively engaging the broader community as volunteers, creatively encouraging charitable giving and using those resources to meet unmet needs for Kandiyohi County residents.


2019 Honorees

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Ruth and Roger Gauquie

Award in Philanthropy

To learn more about Ruth and Roger's story, click here.





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West Central Sanitation

Community Builder AWARD

To read the story of West Central Sanitation, click here.


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Dorothy Brown

Marv Otto Award

To read and hear more about Dorothy Brown and her impact on our community, click here.





Past WACF Award Recipients


Award in Philanthropy

  • 2018 - WACF Founding Board
  • 2017 - Dave and Mary Baker
  • 2016 - John and Mary Lindstrom
  • 2015 - Bob and Patti Dols
  • 2014 - Dr. James and Colleen Michels
  • 2013 - Dr. Lachlan and the Honorable Kathryn Smith
  • 2012 - Dr. Roger and Kay Strand
  • 2011 - Alice and Joe Cox
  • 2010 - The Linder Family
  • 2009 - John and Connie Chapin
  • 2008 - Gary and Nancy Geiger
  • 2007 - Walt and Raeanna Gislason
  • 2006 - The Behm Family


Community Builder Award

  • 2018 - Marcus Construction
  • 2017 - Conway, Deuth, and Schmiesing PLLP
  • 2016 - Heritage Bank
  • 2015 - Affiliated Community Medical Center
  • 2014 - Jennie-O Turkey Store
  • 2013 - The Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank - Willmar


Innovative Impact award

  • 2018 - Chad and Angie Koosman - Celebrate the Light of the World
  • 2017 - Willmar Area Women's Fund


Marv Otto Award

  • 2018 - Dorothy Timm Meili
  • 2016 - Jerry Anderson
  • 2015 - Elaine Adams
  • 2012 - Viola Ness Ausherman