Owatonna is a Special Place…

Owatonna is a special place. Historically, our community has had a “can-do” attitude with citizens who are willing to get involved and that generously support causes they believe will improve our community.


The Owatonna Foundation


Today, you will not find many communities our size that have a community foundation. Just think of the amazing vision and foresight that local business leaders had 60 years ago when they started the Owatonna Foundation! Since 1958, the Owatonna Foundation has invested more than $11.8 million in over 260 projects. In addition, and in support of local workforce development, your foundation has awarded scholarships for technical and vocational education to over 400 local students. I’m sure you’ll agree that the Owatonna Foundation projects have improved the lives of everyone in Owatonna over the last 60 years!


Through those 60 years, the mission of the Owatonna Foundation has been consistent; “improving the quality of life for present and future generations by supporting Owatonna projects that focus on community, arts, recreation and education.” With committed community support, the Owatonna Foundation will be able to continue its mission and success of bringing worthy projects to fruition. As those community projects are identified years from now, those visions and ideas are much more likely to become a reality with a financially stable Owatonna Foundation to provide that funding.


Our community has changed significantly over the last 60 years. Because many major Owatonna employers are no longer locally owned, the Foundation has worked hard to broaden its donor base. We greatly appreciate the community’s response, which has resulted in contributions this past year from more than 550 businesses and individuals with consistent increases in donations year after year. With your ongoing investment in your community foundation each year, you are ensuring that there are substantial dollars available for worthy projects in future years to come. If you want Owatonna to continue to be a special place today and in the future, please consider making annual contributions to your community foundation, the Owatonna Foundation.


Legacy Society


In 2014, the Foundation established the Legacy Society to recognize and thank those donors who include the Owatonna Foundation in their estate plan. We currently have 74 Legacy Society members. These donors care deeply about the future of our community and know that their legacy will help meet its ever-changing needs. You can qualify for the Legacy Society by:

  • including the Owatonna Foundation in your estate for an amount of your choosing

  • making a “Living Legacy“ gift of at least $10,000

Like most community foundations, legacy giving continues to be important to the Owatonna Foundation. While every donation, in any amount is important, Legacy giving has greatly impacted our community over the years. In the past five years Legacy donations received by the Foundation have accounted for a large portion of all donations received due to the heartfelt and passionate giving of committed community members.


It should be noted that while many of the Legacy donors have given significant amounts of money to the Foundation, anyone can leave a “legacy” of any amount in their estate plan. If you are a donor of more modest means, but still want to leave a gift that will be your legacy, consider the Owatonna Foundation. By leaving a donation to the Foundation from your estate, you are empowering your gift’s magnitude as it will be paired with the other Foundation funds so that grants can continue to be given to worthy Owatonna projects. Here’s how two of the Foundation’s early legacy donors explained their generous bequests:


“I have enjoyed living in Owatonna. Owatonna has been good to me. Someday I would like to do something for the good people-to show my appreciation-something of lasting value. ”

George C Kohlmeier, 1960 Legacy Donor


“Owatonna is the most perfect place in the world to live.”

Phyllis Rosa, 1992 Legacy Donor


The Kohlmeier donation was the first donation that helped to begin the establishment of our parks and trails systems (Lake Kohlemeier), and the Irvin & Phyllis Rosa estate (Irvin Rosa was a Superintendent of Schools and a President of Jostens who passed away at only 55) was used to fund the former OHS “Top Team” by purchasing equipment for the school’s entrepreneurial and vocational programs. Other Legacy donors have included Stanley Muckle (Muckle Manufacturing) whose bequest was designated for grants that would support the parks and trails systems over the years, the Gasner Estate (Ms. Gasner was the secretary to the Director at the State Orphanage) which funded many grants for projects in West Hills, and a generous gift from Buzz Kaplan (Owatonna Tool Company) that will help to fund future grants. These are just a few examples of the many donors that have included the Foundation in their estate plans to the betterment of our community.


If you and your family share their feelings about Owatonna and the importance to sustain a community that continues to be a vibrant and dynamic place to live, work and play for future generations, please consider becoming a Legacy Society member.


If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to visit our website at www.owatonnafoundation.org or call our office at 455-2995. We appreciate the generous support of the Owatonna community and look forward to your continued support.


Tom Dufresne Dufresne is a Certified Financial Planner and owner of Dufresne, Wayne and Associates. He is a Trustee of the Owatonna Foundation and Chairman of the Foundation’s Legacy Society.