The Mankato Area Foundation is a donor-driven community foundation whose purpose is to improve the livability in Greater Mankato through philanthropy. Our Community Foundation connects donors with causes they care about, provides funding to address key community objectives and convenes individuals and organization to find solutions for local challenges.
A community foundation is governed by a board of directors of community leaders and is administered by professional staff. Operating expenses are paid from an annual fund fee and from gifts designated by donors to cover foundation operating and program costs.
Here are seven questions to consider:
  1. Do you care deeply about your local community?
  2. Do you give to more than one charitable cause?
  3. Are you interested in creating a personal or family legacy in your community?
  4. Are you considering the creation of a private foundation, but are concerned about cost and administrative complexity?
  5. Would you like to stay personally involved in the use of your gift dollars?
  6. Do you want to receive maximum tax benefit for your charitable contributions under federal law?
  7. Do you place a priority on sound financial management of your contributions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from knowing more about the Mankato Area Foundation. We’d be happy to help you with achieving your philanthropic goals.
At the Mankato Area Foundation, we encourage your philanthropic efforts to be more than just writing a check. We want to show you what your giving can do by introducing you to nonprofits/causes that meet your charitable goals and interests.
The Mankato Area Foundation manages various fund types created by donors to support the causes that are important to them. As a donor, you may contribute to any of these existing funds or establish one of your own, depending on your charitable goals. Our staff will help you determine which option would be the best for you.
Deciding what fund to establish depends on your personal goals and interest. One of the first questions to consider is whether you want ongoing involvement on how grants are distributed, or whether you want our knowledgeable staff to make those decisions on your behalf.

You may always want to consider how specific your interests are. Whether you’re passionate about a particular charity or a general cause will make a big difference in determining the right fund for you.

No matter what your interests or personal situation, our staff is available to work through fund options with you.
All funds can be set up at the Mankato Area Foundation for $25,000.
There are many ways to give to the Foundation. You can contribute a variety of assets such as:
  • Cash gifts
  • Stocks and securities
  • Mutual funds
  • IRAs
  • Life insurance
  • Real estate
  • Assets of other trusts or of a private foundation
Yes, you may. The fund name is completely up to you. Of course, our staff is available to offer suggestions if needed. Many funds are named for the donor, the donor's family, or to memorialize someone. Or, you may remain anonymous. Many anonymous donors use a name that reflects their interests or something that is special to them.
The Mankato Area Foundation distributes charitable funds based on the request and recommendation of donors. Some donors designate specific charities or areas of interest and trust our knowledgeable staff to fulfill their wishes. Other donors reserve the option to make personal recommendations as opportunities occur.

Regardless, the Mankato Area Foundation board of directors reviews and approves all grant distributions, verifying that they are in accordance with IRS guidelines.
Our role is to help donors create funds that carry out their charitable goals, be that in Mankato or elsewhere. Community Foundation donors have the ability to recommend grants to organizations nationwide.
The Mankato Area Foundation is required to complete a thorough independent audit every fiscal year. We also utilize the expertise of our finance and investment committees, both made up of a group of independent financial professionals, to provide expert advice and oversight of our investments.
The Mankato Area Foundation maintains the highest level of confidentiality with respect to donor information. We do not share, loan or rent donor names, addresses or fund-related financial information with any individual or organization outside the Foundation.
A community foundation is supported by a broad and ever-widening group of unrelated individuals, families, corporations, and institutions. The only thing that connects all of our donors is a desire to improve local communities.

Because of their broad base of support, community foundations are classified by the IRS as publicly-supported charities. This gives community foundations tax advantages not enjoyed by private foundations.

Community foundations are also allowed to treat all funds within their control (known as “component funds”) as part of a single corporation. This gives them administrative and investment advantages over private foundations as well.

Private foundations, by contrast, are generally supported by a single individual, family, or business. Rarely does it make sense to establish a private foundation if the principal endowment is not large. Today, of course, the world’s largest foundations – Gates, Ford, Kellogg – are all still private foundations.

For more information on how community foundations differ from private foundations you can view our Comparison Chart.
Most nonprofit organizations have a specific mission. By contrast, a community foundation’s mission is very broad: to improve the quality of life in a given area. This broadness of mission reflects our ability to make grants in any field of interest with a charitable benefit to our community. This flexibility allows us to serve a wider group of potential donors on the one hand and, on the other, a wider group of nonprofit organizations whom we consider our partners in improving our community. We help make connections between the people who want to give and the groups who need their support.
The internet is an extraordinary tool for learning more about community foundations. Community foundations have long been among the most innovative and progressive grant-making institutions in the United States. Many have taken full advantage of the internet’s possibilities.

To view a full list of community foundations throughout the country you can visit the Council on Foundation’s website and access their Community Foundation Locator

The Page Jones Richards Family Fund maintains its focus on family priorities, even as part of the Mankato Area Foundation. Sarah Richards has one word for why her family decided to convert their foundation to a donor-advised fund run by the Mankato Area Foundation: trust.

Read more