Northwest Minnesota Foundation marks year of growth
The numbers are in and donations were up this past year for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The organization saw a $2.1 million bump in donations from the previous year, according to its 2015 annual report for the fiscal year spanning July 1,...
The numbers are in and donations were up this past year for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.
The organization saw a $2.1 million bump in donations from the previous year, according to its 2015 annual report for the fiscal year spanning July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015. Much of that increase is from a large bequest, but it still reflects the foundation's continued growth.
"We're really excited about these numbers because it's really good when your job is to do good and other people let you have that opportunity to help," Foundation President Nancy Vyskocil said.
In addition to growth, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation is celebrating its 30th year in operation. It was one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations established in 1986 through The McKnight Foundation.
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation serves a 12-county region. Part of its mission is to provide asset management services for nonprofits, cities and other groups. That comes in the form of establishing and managing community funds, project funds, grants and scholarships. It also distributes small business loans and trains nonprofit staff.
In total, donations to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation this past fiscal year came to nearly $6.5 million.
Big donations can swing the total from year to year, but Senior Development Officer Lisa Peterson stressed donors don't need to give big to make a difference in the region.
"Really, it's those everyday donors and people that are contributing out of their checkbook that are making an impact," she said.
The foundation saw an increase of 89 donors from its previous fiscal year, landing at 3,410 in 2015. The total falls in line with those of other years.
"Our donor base tends to stay relatively consistent," Vyskocil said. "We add a few extra donors, but as we add new components and work more heavily in different areas, it brings more people into the fold who may not have been donating in the past."
Ten component funds were added this past year and included scholarships, memorial funds and funds for service groups or school clubs.
The additions brought the total number of components overseen by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to 340 for the 2015 fiscal year. The number of components fluctuates as funding goals are reached and money is withdrawn to complete projects such as building playgrounds, nature trails or splash parks.
Even though some numbers have their ups and downs, one has continued to climb for the foundation.
From 2011 to 2015, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation's assets - which includes cash, investments, pledges and other items - grew from $47.7 million to $63.3 million.
The diverse philanthropic opportunities offered by the foundation is one of the reasons Vyskocil said she believes its assets continue to grow.
"Our job is to really be a matchmaker," she said. "It's to match people with the opportunities to fulfill their philanthropic goals."
Also up is the foundation's investment back into the region. Between grants and other funding, the annual report notes it invested $3.3 million back into region during the 2015 fiscal year - increasing 77 percent from the prior year.
For more information about the foundation and how to donate, visit www.nwmf.org/.