Community Giving

Marv and Gladys Otto


Marv Otto was the kind of the man 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.

Otto knew what it was like to go without. His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was raised in poverty by his aunt and grandparents. As an adult and successful businessman, Otto believed in giving back.

Otto died in 2009 at the age of 92, but his legacy continues through bequests Otto and his wife, Gladys, made through the Willmar Area Community Foundation. The Ottos' funds support charities that the couple valued in Kandiyohi County.

“Too often, words like philanthropy and charitable giving and such get tossed around, and they’re sort of abstract terms, seemingly removed from everyday life,’’ WACF Director Dean Anderson said. “But they weren’t for Marv and Gladys Otto."

“They knew their place, in the very best sense, in the world. And they didn’t just take from it, they also gave back. Maybe there’s a lesson for all of us. We need to take care of our place.”

Read his full story at the West Central Tribune or by clicking the link below.