The Owatonna Foundation Board of Trustees recently held its 61st Annual Meeting at the Steele County History Center. 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 six and a half 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: Todd Hale, Jerry Deetz, Dale Gandrud & Julie Rethemeier. Trustees Dr. Carol Winter and Matt Kottke 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.
Two new Trustees were also elected at the Annual Meeting. They are Dave Ramsey and Brandon Wayne. Ramsey is a retired Federated Executive and also recently retired from his current position as a Vice President at Cambria Enterprises LLC. He has served in numerous volunteer positions such as Steele County United Way, Owatonna Rotary, Big Brother & Big Sisters, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Exchange Club of Faribault and as a Volunteer Hockey Coach for Owatonna Youth Hockey. He is married to his wife Kim, and they have two grown children and two grand children. “The Foundation is the leading nongovernmental/business organization in the community to impact infrastructure challenges and needs in the community. I believe the Foundation has to share the vision and motivate people who value the community to make meaningful and impactful contributions to the mission to help assure continued growth and prosperity such that Owatonna continues to be a leading small city not only in Minnesota but recognized as a special place for people throughout the 21st Century. The Foundation is the difference maker and needs to continue to have leaders who can express that vision and need and get community leaders to sign onto that vision with both financial resources and talent to generate and use those resources wisely.” said Ramsey.
Wayne is a partner at Dufresne, Wayne and Associates, an Ameriprise Financial Services office. He has served in several volunteer positions such as the 761 Foundation Board, Director of, and Public Policy Committee, of OACCT, Fundraising Committee for the NRHEG PTO, the Allina Owatonna Hospital Board, and Trinity Lutheran Church of New Richland. He is married to his wife, Jodi and they have 3 children; Eva, Owen and Quinn. “The Foundation’s biggest impact is right here in Owatonna and Steele County. I see the opportunity of giving and financing projects that are critical to the community, and to be a vehicle for success when the private and/or public sector cannot accomplish certain projects on their own. The goal of the Foundation is to create a better Owatonna and to enhance community assets that belong to us that we can all enjoy.” said Wayne.
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, Dr. Brian Bunkers, Gregg Draeger, David Einhaus, Bob Heers, Charles Herrmann, Mike Jensen, Jay Johnson, Kent Kienholz, Chad Lange, Betsy Lindgren, Tim McManimon, Corey Mensink, Gene Michaelson, Andy Michaletz, Monte Mitchell, Jolayne Mohs, Carol Nelson, Judy Plemel, Dave Seykora, Stephen Smith, Dean Velzke, Dennis Von Ruden, Sharon West, and Dr. Bob Wottreng.
Business at the Annual Meeting also included the full Board of Trustee approval for a grant to the Owatonna Soccer Association for $35,000 to be used towards the development of the new soccer field and $85,000 towards the “We All Play” Project. 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 for sixty one years. Since then, the Foundation has provided over $12 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. Summer office hours are 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