Community Giving

Mark and Ann Thelen


While recording polka bands in the 1970s, Mark and Ann Thelen couldn’t have imagined the future success that awaited them and the strong desire to give back to the community that came along with it.

Mark and Ann are the retired, former owners of Thelen Advertising in St. Cloud. Their years of work in the community gave them lifelong relationships and friends, but also taught them about the gravity of the area’s needs. The stories of these needs motivated the Thelens to take organized action by partnering with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

The couple soon discovered that working with the Foundation was easy, efficient and rewarding. The Thelens were able to establish a program of giving that was more strategic and had more of an impact than they were making before.

The Foundation works closely with the Thelens’ tax advisor to ensure that the logistics of giving go smoothly. “The linkage among professionals in this community is exceptional, and it’s a delight to do business in this community,” noted Mark.

The Thelen Fund makes grants to organizations that are helping individuals and families meet basic needs, so the recipients can focus on living a fuller, richer life. Grantees include Catholic Charities, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Salvation Army and Anne Marie’s Alliance, among others.

“Helping someone out at a crucial point in their life truly builds better citizens and better communities,” Ann said.