Community Foundation(s): Alexandria Area
Award: 2017 Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy
Micheal Lillehaugen and his wife, Kathie, moved to the Alexandria area in January 1972 after Micheal became a partner at the Community State Bank (now Wells Fargo) the previous fall. They knew no one except Micheal’s partners at the bank. In true Alexandria fashion, they were welcomed with open arms. They raised their family and became integral members of the community.
Recognized and lauded for his high level of integrity and community leadership, Micheal received the 2017 Alexandria Area Community Foundation Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy at the 25th anniversary celebration in May 2017.
Tom Anderson, who considers Micheal a father figure, describes Micheal as one of the key players in building the community of Alexandria. “He never asks for any credit. They’ve [both Micheal and Kathie] always been contributors to anything that was going on in the community……Micheal has the philosophy that what’s good for Alexandria is good for all of us. He’s been a real leader in perpetuating that.”
Jon Olson, principal at Clifton Larson Allen and former AACF board member, knew from the moment he met Micheal that he would enjoy working with him. “He’s a great person. He’s a fun person to be around. He has done well in his life financially and he is giving back in his life financially,” Jon notes. “I think that’s a model for a lot of us to follow. If you have done well, much is expected of you. He lives that.”
Not one to talk about himself, Micheal prefers to talk about how businesses and others have thrived through the support of the broader community. “The strength of a community foundation is that if you can bring a whole group of people with difference interests and different financial backgrounds …. and work together toward the common good.”