A Rich History of Shaping Philanthropy

The Mankato Area Foundation, incorporated June 10, 1974, began its work with a volunteer board and no paid staff. The Board of Directors included local individuals who wanted to make Mankato and the surrounding area a better place to live, work and raise families.These founding board members saw the need for a community foundation that would encourage donations to significant projects and to improve the community, and would also be able to receive charitable contributions from wills and estates.

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.

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.

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 21stcentury. 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.

The Fourth Decade 2004-2013

As MAF transitioned into the fourth decade, MAF was again the recipient of donor generosity, in the form of a sizeable bequest to support various key community initiatives. This bequest has made a lasting impact, enriching the quality of life in our community for decades to come. The Foundation continues to be a flexible and responsive philanthropic vehicle to support bequests; however, some donors prefer to actively participate in their philanthropy. In this same decade, more donors chose to partner with the Foundation through the creation of donor-advised funds that support operations and projects at numerous nonprofits as well as major cornerstone projects. This fourth decade has exemplified the ability of the Foundation to connect philanthropic interests with community needs and our goal to enhance the livability of this area.

The Fifth Decade 2014-2023

The fifth decade promises to be transformational as the Foundation continues its accelerated growth. With increased visibility and continued donor support, Mankato Area Foundation has doubled its asset size and has been a key partner in a variety of community projects. As we continue to focus on facilitating philanthropy, we are anxious to see what this decade will bring …it’s an exciting time at the Mankato Area Foundation!