Alden Area Community Foundation joins SMIF

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation recently welcomed the Alden Area Community Foundation as its 27th affiliate fund. The Alden Area Community Foundation’s mission is to serve the City of Alden and its surrounding areas by supporting programs and projects that improve the quality of life and build a stronger community.

The Alden Area Community Foundation is starting off with $50,000 in its endowment. The $50,000 startup money is from the Alden Area Development Corp., a privately funded nonprofit group that was formed by business people in 1966 to buy land to develop next to the yet to be built I-90 interchange. In addition, some local donations have already come in.

Rick Hemmingsen, a 1970 graduate of Alden High School, is one of the founding board members of the Alden Area Community Foundation and an early champion of the idea.

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“I’m such an advocate of foundations,” Hemmingsen said. “Over my career I can see what they can do.”

“A community foundation is one marker of a healthy community,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “It shows that people are willing to invest in the future.”

Affiliate funds are a helpful way to leverage SMIF dollars.

On average, for every dollar invested locally, SMIF returns $10 to its region through its own fundraising. In total, SMIF has granted more than $4.1 million to its affiliate funds.

The Alden Area Community Foundation is now able to accept tax-deductible charitable donations.

Hemmingsen encourages others who grew up in the community to consider donating.

“It’s real simple for me as an alumni: It’s payback time,” Hemmingsen said. “I was very fortunate to have grown up in Alden. It has survived very well over the years compared to other small towns in the area. By writing a check, you are saying ‘Keep up the good work!”

SMIF handles most administrative details for the 27 funds under its umbrella.

“Our job is to do all of the back- end stuff so our affiliate funds can focus on raising money and making grants in their communities,” said Alissa Oeltjenbruns, SMIF’s development coordinator. Alden is the only SMIF affiliate fund in Freeborn County. SMIF also hosts donor-advised and designated funds.

Alden Area Community Foundation board members include Rick Hemmingsen, Jerry Reyerson, Cheryl Reynolds, Natalie Schmidt and Barb Zeller. All of the board members are Alden natives with strong ties to the community, and each is a graduate of Alden High School. They are seeking more board members. If interested, call 507-874- 2730.

“I am excited about the future of Alden and this foundation will help strengthen our community in so many positive ways,” said Zeller, board treasurer and founding board member.

To donate to the fund, visit and select “Alden Area Community Foundation” from the dropdown menu. Donors can also send checks to AACF, 19524 650th Ave., Alden, MN  56009.

To learn more about how to become a SMIF affiliate fund, contact Oeltjenbruns at or 507-214-7023.

More information is also available at