September 11, 2017

Each summer, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) hosts a celebration to recognize the achievements of community funds that are making an impact in the lives of those living and working in their community. This year’s event was held on Thursday, September 7th in Stephen, Minnesota at the Riverside Golf Course. The purpose of the event was to present the Stephen Area Endowment Fund (SAEF) with the Community Philanthropy Award. Recipients of this award also receive a $1,000.00 gift from NMF to their community fund endowment.

The SAEF advisory committee is comprised of community champions leading the way to secure philanthropy for future generations. In 2008 the initial fund advisory committee was formed and received training and technical assistance. Their dedication has resulted in establishing funds for the curling club, the golf club, the arts and emergency services. In addition, they have assisted in starting two scholarship funds for the local school. All in all, through their work, the SAEF has raised $450,000 in endowed funds. And since 2008, the SAEF, sub-funds and the scholarship funds have distributed $81,866 in grants to local nonprofits, local government and community groups to bring the vision set by the community to fruition.

It is a part of NMF’s mission to promote philanthropy in the northwest region. One way this mission is accomplished is by working with communities to establish endowed community funds across the region. Currently, NMF hosts 23 community funds. Local leadership is what makes the success of community funds a reality, with recruitment and retention of fund advisory committee members, promoting local community philanthropy, and providing leadership and financial resources for the future of their communities and its residents.