Community Foundation(s): Central Minnesota
Award: 2012 Alex Didier Award in Philanthropy
Sister Colman O’Connell, O.S.B., describes Ben and Dorothy Gorecki as “wonderful ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.” Ordinary because Dorothy and Ben are so unassuming and modest. They are down-to-earth folks. Extraordinary because they have given more than $20 million to charities across Central Minnesota and North Dakota. They have truly set a new standard for charitable giving in Central Minnesota.
The Goreckis explain their generosity by saying that they started simple in life and now they’re back to simple. Dorothy grew up on a farm while Ben’s father was a barber.
“What else are you going to do with your money?” Ben said.
They have a deep faith in God, in each other, in their children and in the people they’ve met through their charitable work.
They have been thoughtful and strategic with their philanthropy. They have three priorities for giving: the elderly, education and health care. The College of Saint Benedict, the University of North Dakota and the CentraCare Health System have been major beneficiaries of their generosity. Each institution proudly bears the Gorecki name on significant buildings. Ben and Dorothy like to give while they’re alive and like to see where their gifts are going and what is accomplished because of them.
Ben and Dorothy have had a remarkable partnership through the years. They have worked hard and have owned a variety of businesses along the way, from a hotel to a movie theater to a beauty shop to a farm and a manufacturing company. They have raised five children and have been strong community members in Milaca, where they live.
They are supremely qualified for the Alex Didier Award in Philanthropy which honors those who grow philanthropy in Central Minnesota.
Story update: Ben passed away July 9, 2016.