Community Foundation(s): Willmar Area
Award: 2009 Award in Philanthropy from the Willmar Area Community Foundation
John and Conni Chapin have already created a significant legacy in the Willmar area, through the success of their family business, Willmar Electric Service, and because of their generous spirits. For their many contributions to the community, the Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized the couple with the 2009 Award in Philanthropy.
A conversation with John and Conni Chapin reveals that faith is their bedrock and the inspiration for their generosity and much of their labor. That is shown in the selections of the charitable work that they support, in much of the volunteer work they have committed to, and in their fundamental belief that no earthly goods are theirs.
Their church, the Evangelical Free Church, benefits from their commitment of time and expertise and nourishes them in return. Their activities there range from Apples of Gold, a group that connects older and younger women, to adult Sunday school, to the board of the church.
The location of Willmar Electric has spawned much of their generosity and has led to creative philanthropy. They have allowed groups to use space that they own—apartments for Hope Pregnancy and an office for Bethany Christian Services, and they have given property—the building for Youth for Christ and space for Barn Theater. Other giving includes scholarships through the school foundation and a prison fellowship program they established at Lino Lakes. They were taught to give back by their parents who believed that we need to give money or time or both. The Chapins are superb at giving both.