3 local trusts award $107,000

Published 9:56 am Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Freeborn County Communities Foundation this week announced 16 grants for a total gift of more than $107,000, the result of its biggest year ever.

Paul Sparks

The giving comes from the earnings of three local trusts. While the Minnesota Communities Foundation manages the trusts and cuts the checks, the Freeborn County Communities Foundation determines the distribution of the earnings based on the stated intentions of the deceased donors, who set up the trusts in their wills.

The Freeborn County Communities Foundation sent applications to eligible organizations, said Paul Sparks, chairman of the Freeborn County Communities Foundation’s board. A subcommittee then brought forth suggested grants for approval of the board.

Sparks said the round of grants looks to grow next year. He said the organization wants to increase its visibility as an option for leaving legacies.

He said people who bequeath to the Freeborn County Communities Foundation “want to leave money to the community.”

“They want it to be managed in a way that’s consistent with their wishes,” he said.

The largest of the three is the Kenneth W. Olson Charitable Trust. Olson worked in the road construction field, Sparks said. In October, the Olson trust came under the purview of the Freeborn County Communities Foundation, significantly upping the organization’s giving ability. The determination of the grants from the Olson trust previously had been via Minnesota Communities Foundation.

The other two trusts are the Minnesota Ehrhardt Family Foundation and Gladys Gunderson Charitable Trust.

Sparks said the Freeborn County Communities Foundation has nine members and is looking to expand to 12. He said the board hopes to have members with three-year terms, with four joining each year and four going off. The board meets six times a year.

Anyone interesting in establishing a trust to be managed by the Freeborn County Communities Foundation can contact Sparks at 377-0449, Joe Johnson at 373-2353 or Jill Peterson at 373-6491.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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