Community Giving

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bremer Bank

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ​

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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