Community Giving

Group of Children

Click on the individual links below to read more about some of the amazing people making a difference in our communities.

Use the search toolbar for a complete listing of all of our CommunityGiving stories.

enter a partial name, date, or foundation

Patt Adair

Pat Adair was the recipient of the ATHENA award in 2008.

Read Story

Elaine Adams

Long-time educator Elaine Adams' support help launched Willmar Women's Fund in 2009 and additional donations after her death in 2014 benefited 20 organizations.

Read Story

Affiliated Community Medical Center

​Affiliated Community Medical Center was presented with the 2015 Community Builder Award from the Willmar Area Community Foundation for their significant philanthropic contributions in the region.

Read Story

Harold and Jeanette Anderson

The Harold and Jeanette Anderson family has given generously to many causes in the St. Cloud area and beyond, establishing a number of funds at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation to help them accomplish their charitable goals.

Read Story

Lee and Penny Anderson

Lee and Penny Anderson were the recipients of the BLACF 2015 Award in Philanthropy and recognized for the passion for education, medical science and veterans.

Read Story

Jim and Linnea Anderson

Jim and Linnea Anderson, Brainerd graduates and the owners of Anderson Brothers Construction, were the recipients of the 2016 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Jerry Anderson

Jerome "Jerry" Anderson was the 2016 Marv Otto Award recipient from the Willmar Area Community Foundation for the lasting legacy his generous estate gifts have left in our community.

Read Story

Antioch Company

​Cheryl Lightle of Creative Memories, and Lee M. Morgan, President of the Antioch Company, were an example for other companies in the late 1990s to do charitable giving through the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Lewis T. and Viola Ness Ausherman

Created in June 1997 with an initial gift of $400,000, the Lewis T. and Viola Ness Ausherman Foundation fund is a permanent endowed fund which benefits designated charities, primarily located in Willmar area.

Read Story

Vi Ausherman

​Viola Ausherman's initial $400,000 gift helped to launch the Willmar Area Community Foundation in 1998. The retired teacher described her donation to set up the first fund as “just a little help.”

Read Story

Maxine Barnett

​Maxine Barnett, long-time leader of a St. Cloud women's shelter, was the recipient of the 2013 ATHENA award and the Women's Fund renamed their education fund in her honor.

Read Story

Jerry and Elaine Bauerly

Jerry and Elaine Bauerly believe "there's a certain magic in giving" and are passing along their philanthropic beliefs to the children and grandchildren.

Read Story

Dorothy Becker

A passion for education and kids first brought Dorothy Becker to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. As a longtime school volunteer, mother of six children and former elementary educator, she knew a child’s success in the classroom depended upon the home environment.

Read Story

Marvin and Luella Behm

Central Minnesota communities are made richer by generations of families like the Behms. Luella and Marvin Behm set a strong philanthropic example for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to follow.

Read Story

Ken and Alix Behm

Central Minnesota communities are made richer by generations of families like the Behms. Luella and Marvin Behm set a strong philanthropic example which is being followed by their son Ken and his wife, Alix who set up a donor advised fund in 2003.

Read Story

Jan Bensen

Financial consultant Jan Bensen received the 2009 ATHENA Award from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Bernick's Family

​Bernick’s has a long tradition of investing in its local communities. The fourth-generation family-owned business donates five percent of its net profits and supports over 100 causes each year.

Read Story

Mimi and Dick Bitzan

Dick and Mimi Bitzan were the 2016 Alex Didier Award in Philanthropy Recipients from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Harold Bjur

Harold Bjur, an Atwater farmer, established a scholarship fund at the Willmar Area Community Foundation for students from First Baptist Church of Grove City and the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School.

Read Story

Lisa Bowen

Lisa Bowen was awarded the 2017 AACF Professional Award in Philanthropy as a way to recognize her passion for her clients, her ability to listen to their needs and a deep personal belief in the value of philanthropy

Read Story

Bremer Bank

​The Otto Bremer Foundation provided the initial grant in 1998 to help establish the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Dr. Frank and Alice Brown

Long-time St. Cloud surgeon Frank Brown and his wife Alice, founder of Birthline, established a fund at CMCF on June 29, 2000.

Read Story

Fred and Terri Bursch

​Long-time supporters of many charities in the Alexandria area, Fred and Terri Bursch established a donor advised fund in 2011 which has eased their charitable giving process.

Read Story

Pete and Audrey Bursch

​Pete and Audrey Bursch were active and generous residents of the Alexandria community. After their passing, their children set up a donor advised fund to continue to support their passion for theater and arts.

Read Story

Bruce and Kathy Buxton

A commitment to serve and make a difference earned Kathy and Bruce Buxton the 2008 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Barb Carlson

​Barb Carlson, long-time Central Minnesota Community Foundation donor relations director, received the 2013 President's Award for her strength in making connections and earning the trust of many.

Read Story

Cathedral High School

The Cathedral High School Education Foundation fund was created in 1990 to assist in carrying out the mission of Cathedral High School by providing scholarships to students.

Read Story

John and Conni Chapin

For their many contributions to the community, the Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized John and Conni with the 2009 Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

William and Virginia Clemens

​Some legacies are of brick and mortar, some fund scholarships, and some create and sustain beauty for all to enjoy. The Clemens Garden in southeast St. Cloud is one such example of sustained beauty that Bill and Virginia Clemens established in 1990.

Read Story

Bill and Joyce Coborn

Son Mark Coborn established fund in 2003 in honor of his parents, Bill and Joyce, to help Coborn's employees further their education.

Read Story

Kevin Close and Rod Converse

Business partners Kevin Close and Rod Converse received the Brainerd Lakes Area Foundation 2011 Award in Philanthropy for their role in starting the Foundation.

Read Story

Cote Family

The Cote family, owner of Grand View Lodge, received the 2010 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, recognizing their long-term commitment to community causes in the Brainerd Lakes area.

Read Story

Joe and Alice Cox

The Willmar Area Community Foundation remembers Alice for her generosity. She died Dec. 29, 2011 at the Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, just a couple months after being formally recognized for her impact in the Willmar area. The Foundation honored Alice and her late husband, Joe, in October with the 2011 Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

Robert and LaVonne Danzl

By establishing a donor advised fund through the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, LaVonne Danzl has carried forward her husband Bob's generous spirit.

Read Story

Alex Didier

​Alex Didier, president of the First American National Bank in the 1970s, was instrumental in the development and growth of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. He died in May 2010 but his legacy lives on.

Read Story

Bob and Patti Dols

​Bob and Patti Dols of Willmar received the 2015 Award in Philanthropy for their charitable support and volunteer leadership toward a wide array of efforts within Kandiyohi County.

Read Story

Nancy Ehlen

Nancy Ehlen has had a donor advised fund at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation since 2005. After her passing, her charitable remainder trust will allow her to extend her current giving to organizations that reflect her values and priorities.

Read Story

Stacy Erholtz

Stacy Erholtz received live measles virus as a treatment to kill the multiple myeloma cancer cells in her body. In June 2014, Stacy started a fund with the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation to serve as a catalyst to raise necessary funds to assist in manufacturing this treatment.

Read Story

Merle and Kathy Felling

Merle and Kathy Felling, residents of Sauk Centre and owners of Felling Trailers, have been driven by their faith to give back their community. They established the Felling Family Partnership Fund in December 2015, the first for the Sauk Centre Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Bob and Nancy Ferche

The Bob and Nancy Ferche Family Fund was set up to share the wealth and blessings that they received through 30 years of ownership of Ferche Millwork.

Read Story

Keith Finstad

Keith Finstad was the 2016 Professional Award in Philanthropy recipient from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Friends of the Gardens

​Connecting resources is a part of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation mission, and the Friends of the Gardens is a great example of how CMCF works to bring resources together in the St. Cloud area..

Read Story

Gary and Nancy Geiger

The Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized Gary and Nancy Geiger's dedication to numerous local causes by awarding them the 2008 Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

Walt and Raeanna Gislason

Walt and Raeanna Gislason's childhood examples from their parents set the tone for their approach to philanthropy which now includes service and generosity as a part of their adult lives. For this, they received the 2007 Award in Philanthropy from the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Ben and Dorothy Gorecki

​Ben and Dorothy Gorecki were recognized in 2012 with the Alex Didier Award in Philanthropy from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation for truly setting a new standard for charitable giving in the community.

Read Story

Dr. Leslie R. Green

Dr. Leslie R. Green was the 2016 President's Award recipient from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Lynn Grewing

Lynn Grewing was the 2016 ATHENA Award recipient from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Tom and Janet Grones

​After selling their majority ownership in GeoComm in downtown St. Cloud, Tom and Janet Grones opened a donor advised fund in 2013 which has allowed them to leverage tax benefits and do more to support their favorite causes.

Read Story

Catherine Gustafson

Catherine Gustafson designed a donor advised fund which was funded at her death and named her three daughters as advisors for the fund. They focus their giving on children and health issues.

Read Story

Dr. Philip Halenbeck

Dr. Halenbeck championed his education-focused philanthropy by forming two trusts in 1957 and 1981, respectively. Both funds were transferred to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation in 1989 and are used give aid to students with financial need and good academic records.

Read Story

Hattiesburg Community Partnership

Americans will long remember the fall of 2005 and the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Through the Hattiesburg Community Partnership established at CMCF, Central Minnesotans donated more than $236,000.

Read Story

Odette Hedlund

The Odette Hedlund Memorial Scholastic Fund was established by her family for graduates of Willmar High School to pursue a degree in science or mathematics.

Read Story

Hedlund Family

​Pat and Shelley Hedlund are sisters who share a faith and many values that were passed on to them by their parents, Ralph and Odette Hedlund. They are creating a family legacy of philanthropy through the Ralph and Odette Hedlund Family Fund.

Read Story

Leo Henkemeyer

Leo Hinkemeyer discovered the Central Minnesota Community Foundation through his financial and legal advisors and in 1996 established the Leo T. Henkemeyer Fund to benefit a variety of charitable organizations throughout Central Minnesota.

Read Story

Heritage Bank

Heritage Bank was the recipient of the 2016 Community Builder Award from the WACF because of their long legacy of giving back to the community through making charitable donations and volunteering a cornerstone of their organization.

Read Story

Andy and Carol Hilger

​Every once in a while, we unexpectedly meet that one person who changes the way we look at the world and helps shape our understanding of life. For many, that person was Andy Hilger.

Read Story

David Hodnefield

Established by his family, the David Hodnefield Scholarship Fund was opened in 1997. The fund encourages individuals and groups to pursue agricultural education and to support youth ministry.

Read Story

Fran Holden

Long-time Brainerd philanthropist Fran Holden hoped her generosity and philanthropic mindset was an example for others to follow.

Read Story

Cody Hulst

The Cody Foundation was established in honor of Cody Hulst, who died from cancer at age six. The foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of children’s cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and making life a little easier for the children and their families.

Read Story

Paul and Lynn Hunt

The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation recognized Paul and Lynn Hunt with the 2013 Award in Philanthropy as BLACF celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Read Story

Arnie and JoAnn Johnson

Small business owners Arnie and JoAnn Johnson received the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s 2009 Award in Philanthropy for their commitment to the community.

Read Story

Tom Keating

The Central Minnesota Community Foundation helped the family of Tom Keating, a beloved educator from Foley, set up the Tom Keating Foundation Fund to honor his memory and continue his work with youth at risk.

Read Story

Brian Klinefelter

The Brian Klinefelter Scholarship Fund is given to students enrolled in a post-secondary education program to prepare for a career in law enforcement.

Read Story

Kevin and Amy Kluesner

Kevin and Amy Kluesner, who opened a donor advised fund with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation in 2006, found the experience to be very organized and convenient and recommend it to others who want to practice philanthropy.

Read Story

Bob Kovell

​Accountant Bob Kovell has turned his love for running into a platform for raising money that supports causes he loves.

Read Story

Tom and Helen Krebsbach

For Tom and Helen Krebsbach, discovering the legacy preserving tools and options at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation “was like a dream come true,” according to their nephew, Paul Pfannenstein.

Read Story

Kathy Kresbach

The family and friends of Kathleen Krebsbach created an education fund at the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation in honored of this beloved teacher.

Read Story

Steve Laraway

In 2012, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation recognized Steve with the Professional Award in Philanthropy for his commitment to working with his clients on their philanthropy while continuously donating his own time and financial resources.

Read Story

Scott and Dorrie Larison

Dorrie and Scott established a fund at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation in 2014 while they were still "relatively young" to support hunger and basic needs, education and performing arts.

Read Story

Reynold and Eleanor Larson

Reynold and Eleanor Larson made a generous gift to the Willmar Area Community Foundation's Unrestricted Fund and established the Reynold W. and Eleanor D. Larson Fund to support such charities as the Billy Graham Crusade and other endeavors as designated by estate administration. ​

Read Story

Evelyn Lenander

Each year 40-45 education majors receive scholarships through a fund that Long-time educator Evelyn Lenander established in 1989.

Read Story

Micheal Lillehaugen

As one of the founding board members of the Alexandria Area Community Foundation, Micheal Lillehaugen has been a strong advocate for philanthropy in the community and was the recipient of the 2017 AACF Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

Linder Family

Recognizing the Linder family's belief that personal and professional success is measured by how much is given to others, the Willmar Area Community Foundation honored them with the 2010 with the Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

Hope Lindman

​Hope Lindman prefers to give anonymously, but spurred by the thought that her example could prompt others to support the Lakes Area Police Chaplaincy, she agreed to be acknowledged.

Read Story

John and Mary Lindstrom

John and Mary Lindstrom are the 2016 Award in Philanthropy recipients from the Willmar Area Community Foundation. John and Mary are active in their community through a number of organizations and believe that the key to building community is to eliminate barriers and connect people.

Read Story

Annabelle Loschko

​Annabelle's Fund was established by her parents, Mark and Elle Loschko, after her death in 2002 to support organizations like Caring Bridge and Campy Odayin, a camp for children with heart disease.

Read Story

Ruth McDonald

A life-long learner and adventure lover, Ruth McDonald blazed trails at many points in her life.

Read Story

Jim and Colleen Thompson Michels

The Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized Jim and Colleen Thompson Michels with the 2014 Award in Philanthropy for their professional contributions and service-oriented perspective.

Read Story

Jim and Marion Miller

Marion and Jim Miller appreciate the flexibility their donor advised fund gives them when making their charitable donations.

Read Story

Louise Muggli

​In April 2007, Louise Muggli first established a donor advised fund at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation to make her annual charitable giving easy. Later she became a part of the Foundation’s Legacy Society for her estate plans.

Read Story

Brian and Karla Myres

Brian and Karla Myres established their family fund in 2000 with a goal of improving the quality of community life and inspiring others to give.

Read Story

Bob and Marilyn Obermiller

Bob and Marilyn Obermiller received the 2011 Alex Didier Award in Philanthropy from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Marv and Gladys Otto

​Marv Otto established two funds to honor his two wives: Hazel, who died in the 1960s and Gladys who died in 1999. Marv died in 2009 at the age of 92, but his legacy continues through bequests he made through the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

Read Story

Joshua Palke

The memory of Josh Palke, a 14-year-old student who loved the outdoors, lives on through the Joshua Palke Scholarship Fund which opened in 2004 and supports student scholarships.

Read Story

Kay Pattison

​Kay Pattison is one of many individuals, families and corporations who have established a donor-advised fund, which provides an opportunity for the donor to suggest grant distributions from their named funds.

Read Story

Rick and Sandy Paulsen

In March 2013, long-time Alexandria residents Rick and Sandy Paulsen created a donor advised fund with the Alexandria Community Foundation to make the most of the advantages of giving appreciated securities.

Read Story

Thomas J. Reif

Tom Reif's family established the Thomas J. Reif Memorial Scholarship Fund after he passed away in 2015. Many friends and associates have contributed to the fund which awards scholarships to graduates of Alexandria Area High School who are student athletes and leaders.

Read Story

Molly Renslow

Molly Renslow was honored the Central Minnesota Community Foundation with the 2012 ATHENA Award for her leadership role in establishing the Women's Fund.

Read Story

State Bank of Richmond

The State Bank of Richmond established a fund in 1987 to further charitable and community purposes including scholarships to Richmond high school seniors.

Read Story

Thomas Ritsche

​When Tom Ritsche was growing up in St. Cloud, there were few activities for children to participate in. So when Tom sold his business in the mid-1990s and had the opportunity to give back to youth, he made sure it would have a lasting impact -- he established a $2 million endowed fund in 1995 to help central Minnesota youth.

Read Story

Bernie and Linda Roberts

Bernie and Linda Roberts were selected as the 2007 Award in Philanthropy recipients from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (BLACF) and recognized for their philanthropic leadership. They also established a donor advised fund in March 1999.

Read Story

Ron and Darlene Schaefer

Retired Schaefer Fan owners, Ron and Darlene established a fund with Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation to benefit the homeless, youth at risk, animals and women in transition.

Read Story

Venture Allies

School Allies is a nonprofit organization, funded in part by the School Allies Fund at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. The goal of the fund is to “enhance teaching and learning in private, elementary schools in Central Minnesota by providing shared access to digital knowledge, management tools.”

Read Story

Chris Shorba

Tax accountant Chris Shorba received the 2013 Award in Philanthropy from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation for his tireless support of the community, especially the arts.

Read Story

Dr. Lachlan and the Honorable Kathryn Smith

Dr. Lachlan and the Honorable Kathryn Smith received the 2013 Award in Philanthropy from the Willmar Area Community Foundation for giving extensive time, energy and resources to many local nonprofits.

Read Story

Katie Stigman

Jim Stigman turned to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation to open the Katie's Club donor advised fund in November 2005, in honor of his late wife. The fund's proceeds help young women and girls.

Read Story

Jennie-O Turkey Store

The Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized Jennie-O with the 2014 Community Builder Award for significantly contributing to the field of philanthropy in the region. Organizations within the Kandiyohi County community and beyond greatly benefit from the company’s significant corporate giving and support of employee volunteerism.

Read Story

Dr. Roger and Kay Strand

The Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized the Roger and Kay Strand, long-time Willmar residents, with 2012 Award in Philanthropy.

Read Story

John Sullivan

John Sullivan, one of the founders of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, received the foundation's inaugural Award in Philanthropy at the foundation's annual dinner in July 2004.

Read Story

Discovery School

​In 2013, when the Central Minnesota Community Foundation shared an opportunity to make a difference for an entire elementary school, Mark and Ann Thelen were happy to help.

Read Story

Mark and Ann Thelen

​Retired St. Cloud business owners Mark and Ann Thelen have found working with CMCF to be easy, efficient and rewarding.

Read Story

Kevin Thesing

Thesing, co-owner of Lakes Printing in Brainerd, received the 2012 Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation for his commitment to giving back in business and life.

Read Story

Bob and JoAnn Thueringer

​Bob and JoAnn Thueringer established a donor advised fund on December 26, 2012 which helped them take full advantage of the tax law changes that made donating stock favorable from a financial perspective.

Read Story

Lee and Mary Torborg

Lee and Mary Torborg established three funds in the 1980's and 1990's, primarily to support parochial education in the St. Cloud area.

Read Story

George and Shirley Torrey

​George and Shirley Torrey have been successful in business, life and family. Their hard work has reaped rewards that they wanted to return to the community that supported them.

Read Story

Pat Welter

​Long-time educator Dr. Pat Welter received the 2014 ATHENA award from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Read Story

Brad and Kathy Wheelock

The Brad and Kathy Wheelock Family Fund allows the couple to give generously to their community and enables their children to do the same.

Read Story

Bob and Penny White

​Bob and Penny White believe in giving back to Central Minnesota through leadership, service and financial support of causes and community initiatives.

Read Story

Dan and Judy Whitlock

St. Cloud residents Dan and Judy Whitlock donated their home to Quiet Oaks Hospice House through the Minnesota Real Estate Foundation, a supporting organizations of CMCF.

Read Story

Julianne Williams

The Julianne Williams Fund was established to honor the life of Julianne Marie Williams who died in 1996 at the age of 24. The fund's goal is to empower girls and young women through outdoor activities.

Read Story

Hands Across the World

The CMCF Women's Fund gave Hands Across the World for its storytelling project which aims to foster awareness and acceptance of a culture often unfamiliar to central Minnesota-born citizens.

Read Story

Joe and Teresa Zeleny

The children of Joe and Teresa Zeleny established an endowed fund after their parents passed away. The fund provides annual support for nine different organizations whose missions were valued by Joe and Teresa.

Read Story