The Owatonna Foundation Board of Trustees recently held its 62nd Annual Meeting. During the Annual Meeting the Trustees conducted their business of annual committee reports, grants approval, 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 over seven 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. 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, Denny Meillier.
At the Annual Meeting Trustees and Officers are elected. Trustees that were reappointed to the Board for a five year term included: Tim McManimon, Steve Smith, Dennis Von Ruden, Andy Michaletz, Dr. Brian Bunkers, and Gene Michaelson. Trustees Monte Mitchell, Jerry Deetz, Julie Rethemeier, and Kent Kienholz were recognized for their years of service towards the mission and betterment of the Foundation and were granted Emeritus Status for their outstanding contributions while serving on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
The following Trustees were elected to serve as officers: President: Denny Meillier, Vice President: Tom Dufresne, and Secretary/Treasurer: Ray Stawarz.
Other members of the Board of Trustees include: William Beer, Gregg Draeger, David Einhaus, Dale Gandrud, Todd Hale, Bob Heers, Charles Herrmann, Mike Jensen, Jay Johnson, Chad Lange, Betsy Lindgren, Corey Mensink, Jolayne Mohs, Carol Nelson, Judy Plemel, Dave Ramsey, Dave Seykora, Dean Velzke, Brandon Wayne, Sharon West, and Dr. Bob Wottreng.
One new Trustee was elected at the Annual Meeting. Peng Olson is a familiar face in Owatonna having served in many volunteer capacities and on many community projects. She is employed at Federated Insurance as a Community Relations Manager. Peng is married to Bob Olson, who is the Director of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Safety for ISD 761. They have three children: Lydia – 27, Garrett – 25, and Reid – 21. Olson stated, “I am motivated to serve as a Trustee for the Owatonna Foundation. I view the Foundation’s role as a trusted philanthropic leader in our community. In the future, I see the Foundation not only distributing grants but also serving as a catalyst. One that helps to convene and connect community members around Owatonna’s needs for the purpose of creating long-lasting, positive change.”
Business at the Annual Meeting also included the full Board of Trustee approval for a grant to the City of Owatonna for $25,500 to be used for the restoration of the Central Park Fountain and the addition of a new drinking fountain for people and pets in the park. Other grants that were approved at the spring Grants Committee meeting prior to the Annual Meeting were:
- Owatonna Fire Department: $12,500.00 for PPE storage at the Fire Hall.
- Steele County Master Gardeners: $8,694.00 for a storage shed and garden tiller to be used at the Community Gardens.
- Hospitality House of Owatonna: $18,751.00 for replacement of the windows and a door at the home.
Incorporated in 1958, the Foundation has served the Owatonna community for sixty one years. Since then, the Foundation has provided over $12.1 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 vocational and technical scholarships for youth and adults that are residents of Owatonna.
The Foundation office is located at 108 West Park Square, Owatonna. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the office currently closed, but you may reach Executive Director Laura Resler Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 9 am till 1 pm. For more information please go to the Foundation’s website at www.owatonnafoundation.org, or call 451-2995
Pictured below is new Trustee Peng Olson