The Owatonna Foundation Board of Trustees recently held its Annual Meeting at the Steele County History Center. During the Annual Meeting the Trustees conducted their business of annual committee reports, adopting new policy, reviewing a strategic plan, and electing Trustees and Officers.
Earlier in the year the Foundation engaged Diane Amundson of The Thriving Workplace to conduct a strategic plan. Amundson has previously worked with Mayo Health Systems, Express Employment Professionals, and Rotary International, along with being a former Board Member on the Winona Foundation. Trustees were given a survey to complete, results were tabulated and a “visioning proposal” was presented at the Annual Meeting. A review of the Foundation’s mission and core values was followed by an overview of the ways we serve our community by providing leadership in three areas: philanthropic-by growing and enhancing business and personal relationships, aligning with other community non-profits, supporting the successful funding of community projects and providing scholarships; Financial growth-by fundraising, Legacy growth, donor options and responsible stewardship of funds, and Grants – by providing grants to our community, exploring outside grant opportunities and grant evaluation. Four primary strategies were adopted from the plan:
- Increase the knowledge of and promote awareness and the scope of The Owatonna Foundation through continuous community exposure.
- Reach $10 million dollars in assets (this would allow for annual grant allocations of $450,000)
- Ensure that the Board of Trustees represents a cross section of engaged community leaders.
- Ensure we are well informed regarding our ever changing community makeup and needs.
“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 just over five million dollars 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. This strategic plan will give us the direction to achieve our objectives in the next few years. We are excited to work towards reaching the goal of “10 in 10”, which would grow our assets to ten million dollars in ten years. By doing so, we would then be able to annually fund $450,000 in grants to worthy Owatonna projects. We are hopeful that our community will embrace this goal and help us to achieve it. 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 adopted a new donor policy. 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 would be two types of 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 were only the accrued interest is used for grants so that the fund’s principle remains intact and the fund continues into perpetuity.
Lindgren stated: “As the Foundation continues to grow and work towards our goal of reaching ten million dollars in assets in ten years, 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.”
Trustees that were reappointed to the Board for a five year term included: Betsy Lindgren, Michael Jensen, Chad Lange, Sharon West, Jay Johnson, David Einhaus, and Ray Stawarz.
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, Dale Gandrud, Todd Hale, Bob Heers, Charles Herrmann, Kent Kienholz, Matt Kottke, Robert Jungbluth, Tim McManimon, Denny Meillier, Corey Mensink, Gene Michaelson, Andy Michaletz, Monte Mitchell, Carol Nelson, Sabra Otteson, Julie Rethemeier, Dave Seykora, Stephen Smith, Dennis Von Ruden, Kenneth Wilcox, and Dr. Carol Winter.
Business at the Annual Meeting also included the awarding of grants to the Steele County Agricultural Society (SCFF) and the Four Season’s Centre, along with the kick-off of the Foundation’s Annual Business Fundraising Campaign.
Incorporated in 1957, the Foundation has served the Owatonna community for 59 years, providing over $11.7 million dollars in financial support to meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation makes grants for capital purchases and improvements 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 provides $30,000 annually in both traditional and non-traditional scholarships for youth and adults that are residents of Owatonna.