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

The Passing of Our Founder…

Mankato, MN (March 27, 2019) – The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund (JZCF) is deeply saddened to announce our founder, and former CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Jonathan Zierdt has passed away earlier today after a courageous, five-year battle with prostate cancer. All those involved with the JZCF mourn this tremendous loss.

“On behalf of our Executive Committee, Board of Advisors and Partners, we extend our heartfelt and deepest sympathies to Jonathan’s wife, Ginger and their family,” said Tami Paulsen, Director of the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund. “Jonathan’s important and meaningful work in this community, his faith-filled, energetic personality and passion to make a difference, have impacted so many lives. His legacy of living Fully Alive and changing the cancer journey will continue and thrive through the JZCF.”.....Read Full Release



The MN River Builders Association announced this week the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund is their 2019 Raw Fusion Beneficiary. The Raw Fusion Committee met with Jonathan Zierdt at his Greater Mankato Growth offices Monday morning. “The MRBA prides itself on our sense of community and Jonathan Zierdt is the epitome of Mankato,” said Jamie Sorensen, Raw Fusion Chair and MRBA Board Member. “We want to accelerate the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund’s efforts to bring comfort and support to those diagnosed with cancer. Our decision to partner with the JZ Cancer Fund comes at a pivotal time for Jonathan as he embarks on a new journey outside of GMG.”

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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

Mayo Clinic Health System Donates $6,500 to JZ Cancer Fund

KEYC, Mankato, MN (December 11, 2018) – Mayo Clinic Health System has donated $6,500 to the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund. The gift will be used to fund the JZ Caring Box, which provides a specially designed care package for cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Each JZ Caring Box contains items to provide support and comfort, and access to information and resources. Since January, Mayo Clinic Health System has distributed nearly 800 Caring Boxes to area patients.

Cancer fund receives $30,000 grant

Mankato Free Press, Mankato, MN (November 13, 2018) – The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund received a $30,000 boost from the Mankato Clinic Foundation Tuesday. The grant, to be paid over five years, will support the fund's JZ Caring Box program and general operations. Newly diagnosed patients receive the boxes, which include various items to support and comfort them and information on resources for cancer patients.

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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.

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Calendar of Events

Guiding Coalition

Tami Paulsen

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


Board of Advisors
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