The Owatonna Foundation Board of Trustees recently held its 60th Annual Meeting at the Steele County History Center. During the Annual Meeting the Trustees conducted their business of annual committee reports, adopting new policy and donor opportunities, and electing Trustees and Officers.
“The Foundation has gone through a period of incredible growth in the last few years. The establishment of a staffed office located in downtown Owatonna and the incredible support from business and individual donors that has grown our assets to almost six million dollars and has brought us to the place we are at today. Our commitment to the mission of “improving the quality of life for present and future generations by supporting Owatonna projects that focus on community, arts, recreation and education” is taken very seriously by our Trustees. At this Annual Meeting a new donor policy and donor opportunities were adopted. This will give donors the opportunity to fund their passions while staying within the parameters of the Foundation’s grant making policy. Donors will now have the options of creating an endowed fund that will carry their vision into perpetuity, a donor advised fund which will enable donors to fund a specific Foundation approved project, or a non-endowed option that will allow the donor to fund a specific area of interest. There are no words to express our gratitude to everyone that has contributed to date. No matter the size of your gift, each gift given truly reflects our donor’s commitment to making Owatonna a better place. The Owatonna Foundation is truly your community foundation.” said Foundation President, Betsy Lindgren.
At the Annual Meeting the Board of Trustees revised a new donor policy that was adopted in June of 2017. This will allow donors to fund specific areas of interest they are passionate about. Typically, when donations are received they are pooled together for the purpose of awarding grants in four primary areas: community, arts, recreation, and education. The new policy allows for the formation of “Field of Interest Policies”. There are now three types of specific donor funds available:
Non-Endowed Field of Interest Fund:
The Foundation would receive non-endowed gifts to support a donor’s specific area of interest. A minimum gift of $10,000.00 would be required.
Endowed Field of Interest Fund: The Foundation would receive gifts intended as endowed gifts to support a donor’s specific area of interest. A minimum gift of $100,000.00 would be required. Endowed funds are funds where only the accrued interest is used for grants so that the fund’s principle remains intact and the fund continues into perpetuity.
A Donor Designated Field of Interest Fund: The Foundation would receive gifts for a specific Foundation approved grant project that the donor wishes to contribute to that is within the four Foundation areas of interest: community, arts, recreation or education. A minimum gift of $10,000 would be required.
Lindgren stated: “As the Foundation continues to grow we are excited to be able to offer these new donor opportunities. There is nothing more gratifying than being able to empower an idea or project that you are passionate about! These “Field of Interest” funds will enable donors to be more specific in their giving. A wonderful example of this is the June A. and Melanie Nelson Scholarship fund that was established several years ago to offer support to women of diversity and single mothers. This gift has meant that we can now offer two, $1,500 scholarships each year to women working towards their education. This is in addition to the $30,000 that we already award each year for both traditional and non-traditional students.” These new funds compliment the Foundation’s Legacy Society initiative where donors state their intent to leave a bequest to the Foundation or contribute a $10,000 “Living Legacy “gift in their lifetime. We invite the public to learn more about these new donor opportunities and the Legacy Society. If you are interested in learning more, please contact our office at 455-2995.
At the Annual Meeting Trustees and Officers are also elected. Trustees that were reappointed to the Board for a five year term included: Carol Nelson, Bob Heers, and Denny Meillier. Trustees Robert Jungbluth, Sabra Otteson and Ken Wilcox were recognized for their many years of service towards the mission and betterment of the Foundation and all have been granted Emeritus Status for their outstanding contributions while serving on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Two new Trustees were elected at the Annual Meeting. They are Dean Velzke and July Plemel. Velzke is a lifelong resident of Owatonna and is the owner of an Ameriprise Financial Services office. He has served on numerous Boards such as St. Mary’s School, the Owatonna Arts Center, and Owatonna EDA among others and he has coached for various youth sports. He is married to his wife, Kelly and they have 3 children “I have always been impressed with the accomplishments of the Owatonna Foundation, their vision for enhancing the quality of life in Owatonna and the generosity of our community and business to support these initiatives. I’m proud to be a part of this wonderful Owatonna Tradition.” said Velzke.
Plemel is the CEO and owner/agent of State Farm Insurance-Plemel Agency. She has served on the United Way Board, Owatonna Chamber Board, Chamber Ambassadors, and as a prior Trustee for Sacred Heart Church and is a graduate of Leadership Owatonna. She and her husband, Joe, have three adult children and six grandchildren. Judy states; “I am honored to be a Trustee and am personally excited to be part of an organization that supports the community presently and in the future.”
The following Trustees were reelected to serve as officers: President: Betsy Lindgren, Vice President: Dennis Meillier, and Secretary/Treasurer: Ray Stawarz
Other members of the Board of Trustees include: William Beer, Dr. Brian Bunkers, Gerald Deetz, Gregg Draeger, Tom Dufresne, David Einhaus, Dale Gandrud, Todd Hale, Charles Herrmann, Mike Jensen, Jay Johnson, Kent Kienholz, Matt Kottke, Chad Lange, Tim McManimon, Corey Mensink, Gene Michaelson, Andy Michaletz, Monte Mitchell, Jolayne Mohs, Julie Rethemeier, Dave Seykora, Stephen Smith, Dennis Von Ruden, Sharon West, Dr. Carol Winter, and Dr. Bob Wottreng.
Business at the Annual Meeting also included the approval of a grant to the Owatonna Soccer Association for $40,000 to be used towards the development of a new soccer field. Other grants that were awarded recently include: Owatonna Tennis Association – $3,800 for improvements to the Indoor Tennis facility, ISD 761 – $25,000 towards the purchase of a new scoreboard at OHS, Steele County Historical Society- $8,754 for new roofs for the large and small cabins at the village of Yesteryear. The Annual Meeting is also the official ‘Kick-off” to the fundraising season and the Business Fundraising Campaign.
Incorporated in 1958, the Foundation has served the Owatonna community and is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. Since then, the Foundation has provided over $11.9 million dollars in financial support to meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation makes grants for capital projects in the following categories: Community – with projects that have an impact on the quality of life of the people of Owatonna, and the parks and places they use and enjoy. Arts – with projects that support fine arts, both visual and musical, and encouraging a diverse cultural environment. Recreation – with projects that help improve the recreational diversity of Owatonna, offering all ages a recreational outlet throughout the year. Education – with scholarships and improvements promoting literary and scientific ventures and preserving the history of Owatonna. The Foundation also provides $30,000 annually in both traditional and non-traditional scholarships for youth and adults that are residents of Owatonna.
The Foundation office is located at 108 West Park Square, Owatonna. Office hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 am till 1 pm. For more information please go to the Foundation’s website at www.owatonnafoundation.org, or call 451-2995