The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund, a donor advised fund of the Mankato Area Foundation, was established in 2017 by Jonathan and Ginger Zierdt and a guiding coalition of engaged community leaders to build community cancer awareness and support.

Mission: Committed to Community Cancer Awareness and Support

Vision: Changing the Cancer Journey


#growMANkato Going Strong to Promote Awareness of “Men’s Cancers”

In November and all year long

Once again, #growMANkato, a grassroots effort to raise individual and community awareness of men’s health, with a focus on prostate & testicular cancer (the men’s cancers) will be going strong this November. The efforts started in 2014 with conversation between two local men, testicular cancer survivor, Chris Harstad and prostate and kidney cancer survivor, Jonathan Zierdt.

Funds are being raised through the initiative to help support men going through treatment and their families by providing gift cards to help ease everyday expenses such as gas and groceries. Often cancer puts people on paths they have never predicted, things that were once not a burden due to increased expenses or inability to work. #growMANkato is working with Mankato Area Foundation, the JZ Cancer Fund, and local health care providers to provide donations directly to those who are in need. To donate, click “Give Today” below and select #growMANkato as the recipient. #growMANkato has a goal to raise $10,000 this year.

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Cancer continues to be a leading cause of death in Minnesota and across the country. This is personal—it’s about friends, neighbors and family in Minnesota.

One out of two Minnesotans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

Every day, more than three of our friends, neighbors or family members are diagnosed with cancer in south central Minnesota.

Every day, more than one of our friends, neighbors or family members in south central Minnesota die from cancer.

Early detection makes all the difference—survival rates in most cases are significantly higher.


The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund is committed to community cancer awareness and support. Here are just a few possible examples of how your investment will help change the cancer journey:

JZ Caring Box: The JZ Caring Box program donates specially designed care packages to our medical provider partners for distribution to patients diagnosed with cancer. Each JZ Caring Box contains items to provide support and comfort, and access to information and resources, to cancer patients, their families and caregivers.

Information and Resources:  The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund partners and collaborates with multiple organizations that provide
important information, resources, and services to area cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Learn More

Join JZ!

Let's start building community cancer awareness today.


Donate Today Online           Download Investment Card

$5.00 of each item purchased is contributed to the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund.

In the News

Mankato Brewery Promotes Cancer Awareness with New Beer

KEYC, Mankato, MN (October 8, 2018) – Mankato Brewery has something new on tap this November. In a collaboration with Lupulin Brewing Company in Big Lake, Minn., they've created Hero Hazy IPA: a fruity, floral double IPA with notes of grapefruit and pineapple, wrapped in the brewery's signature comic book-themed packaging. The superhero? Greater Mankato Growth president Jonathan Zierdt.

Special care box delivery: Cancer fund drops off first packages

Mankato Free Press, Mankato, MN (January 4, 2018) – Mankato hospitals and clinics will now begin distributing Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund caring boxes to patients diagnosed with the disease. The fund, founded in early 2017, was established in part to provide support and comfort to the newly diagnosed. The boxes — stuffed with a blanket, cookbook, journal, gift card and informational pamphlets — were the most direct way they hoped to do so.

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Photo by Pat Christman/Mankato Free Press

Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund

Jonathan's Journey

Jonathan was diagnosed with kidney and prostate cancer in November, 2013. While his kidney cancer has been in remission since the fall of 2014, the prostate cancer has been a much stronger foe. Since its onset, he has been in constant treatment including surgery, radiation and anti-hormone therapy, followed by additional radiation, chemotherapy, and ongoing anti-hormone therapy to treat metastatic prostate cancer in 2016.

However, in May 2018 a new, relatively sizeable prostate cancer mass has been identified in his former prostate bed.  Unable to remove surgically or treat with radiation, the palliative option for treatment includes new rounds of chemotherapy treatments from June through September 2018, potentially followed by cryogenic surgery. (to learn more visit Jonathan’s CaringBridge site)

Throughout his journey Jonathan has been bolstered by remaining actively engaged in the community and his work, hoping as he says to “change the face of cancer.” Having received so much support during their cancer journey, this fund allows the greater community to engage with them in the fight against cancer.

Find Support Networks and Gatherings in Your Community

Calendar of Events

Guiding Coalition

Tami Paulsen

Executive Committee
Eric Else
Mindy Else
David Naples
Sarah Person
Ginger Zierdt
Jonathan Zierdt


Laurie Ardner
Brad Ardner
JO Bailey
Kevin Buisman
Dennis Heiden
Pat Hentges
Keith Herwig
Darcy Hermel
Tom Johnson
Marcy Koch
Tom Koch
Fred Lutz
Karen Paape
Dave Pfeffer
Jennifer Pfeffer
Todd Prafke
Marvin Rhodes
Kyle Smith
Todd Snell
Kathy Van Tol
Larry Van Tol
Jeff Weldon
Jay Weir

Caroline Baerg, MD
Mankato Clinic

Laura Bowman
Mayo Clinic Health System

Mike James, MD
Mankato Clinic

Rick Jeddeloh
American Cancer Society

John Kind
Mankato Family YMCA

Greg Kutcher, MD
Mayo Clinic Health System

Mitzi Roberts
Angels for Breast Cancer

Ex Officio Counsel
Nancy Zallek
Special Advisor
Mankato Area Foundation

Silas Danielson
Special Counsel - Legal Counsel

Paul Swenson
Special Counsel
Financial/lLegacy Counsel

Amy Linde
Special Assistance
Marketing & Communications