The Mankato Area Foundation is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2024! Over the past five decades, we’ve witnessed the spirit of giving in this community and have had the privilege to help individuals with their philanthropic goals. To mark this milestone, we are sharing 50 years of significant events, contributions and donors who have made an impact with their generosity and commitment to doing good. We look forward to what the future will bring. 

The First Decade 1974-1983
The First Decade 1974-1983

During the first decade, the MAF Board worked hard to share their vision and increase community support. They identified key community initiatives and raised the funds necessary to bring those projects and programs to fruition. Once a project was complete and funds had been distributed, they identified the next goal for community impact and began the process again to raise significant donations. Through this “community chest” model, the Foundation was able to successfully undertake a variety of projects that are still visible today.


Mankato Area Foundation Incorporates


Minnesota Valley Regional Library
Rocks & Fountain Area


Public Affairs Institute: Energy Seminar, $2,000


Williams-Minneopa Outdoor Learning Center, $400,000


Public Affairs Institute: Economic Future Seminar, $2,000


Mankato Heart Health


Leadership Mankato Area Established Program to Train Emerging and Future Community Leaders
MSU South Central Regional Science Fair

The Second Decade 1984-1993
The Second Decade 1984-1993

Entering the second decade, the “community chest” model continued. The Foundation’s leadership became increasingly proactive in fundraising for specific initiatives and local projects and programs. As time passed, local donors embraced the concept and the Foundation continued to grow.


Mankato Summer Band – Band Shell, $3,000
Mankato International Festival National Flags
Welcome Signs “Where Rivers and People Meet”
Minnesota Valley Regional Library


Wilson Scholarship Fund Established
Williams-Minneopa Outdoor Learning Center, $259,225


Mankato Heart Health Cookbook, $5,000
Mankato Youth Symphony, $300


Ogden and Jane Confer Scholarship Fund Established
Mankato Teen Center, $589
Mankato Sister City Program, $3,222
Mankato Youth Symphony, $300
Leadership Mankato Area, $850


Dakota Indian Statue, $100
Suzuki School of Music, $100
Lancer Marching Band Uniforms, $2,100
Heritage Center, $10,000


Mankato Youth Symphony, $150
Blue Earth County Heritage Center, $4,000


Habitat for Humanity, $100
Walk Around Downtown Beautification. $25,000
Blue Earth County Heritage Center, $2,305
Lincoln Park Restoration, $10,289


Red Jacket Trail, $5,000
Youth in Government Scholarship, $200
Sunken Garden, $2,976


Sunken Garden $3,024
Mankato Arts Council – Carnegie Arts Center, $4,000
Minnesota Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, $200
Youth in Government Scholarship, $210
Lancers, $400


Salvation Army, $200
Minnesota Valley Regional Library, $1,000
Red Jacket Trail, $5,000
Youth in Government Scholarship, $210

The Third Decade 1994-2003
The Third Decade 1994-2003

The third decade began and ended with major gifts, one private and one corporate, that set the stage for the Foundation’s rapid growth as we entered the 21st century. Early in the decade, a significant endowed gift from a local donor allowed the organization to nearly triple in asset size. The effects of this gift were threefold: more and larger grants could be distributed, funding began to include expanded social causes, and a need emerged to develop a more structured board governance system. The board also made the decision to transition from raising money for specific projects to increasing the asset size of the Foundation so that granting could be distributed through income from investments- ensuring that funds will exist into perpetuity. Toward the end of the decade, MAF became the philanthropic vehicle for a local technology corporation seeking a partner to assist them in establishing a donor-advised fund to facilitate their philanthropy. Grants focused in the area of science, engineering and technology education became the focus of this new fund and the Foundation has been able to award significant grants in that area.


Youth in Government Scholarship, $210


Council for Health Action Promotion, $5,000
Ogden W. and Jane M. Confer Scholarship, $2,000
Mankato Area Youth Hockey Association, $1000


Mankato Symphony Orchestra Steinway Restore, $4,338
Mankato International Festival, $1,000
Mankato Area Skateboard Association, $500


Council for Health Action Promotion, $3,450
Bethany Lutheran College – Ruth and Chris Faye Scholarship, $25,000
Mankato Area Youth Hockey Association, $1,000
Mankato International Festival, $1,000
Mankato Arts Council – Carnegie Arts Center Door Replacement, $4,000


Minnesota Valley Regional Library Film Restoration, 2,500
Merely Players Portable Lighting Equipment, $3,450
Loyola Audio System, $1,000
St. Peter North Field Trip, $900
Business and Education Succeeding Together Virtual Tours, $2,400


East High School United Against Prejudice – Peer Mediation Training, $1,200
Mankato Symphony Concert Scholarship, $5,000
Youth in Government Scholarship, $335