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

Grow MANkato and Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund Announce November Schedule of Events

Grow MANkato and the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund (JZCF) announce this year’s schedule of events to raise awareness and increase support of mens’ cancers. Activities will take place throughout the month of November and include another Celebrity Shavedown with this year’s celebrity being Dain Fisher of MOGWAI Collaborative and Fisher Development. Read Full Release

To donate, go to Give Today and select #growMANkato as the recipient. To specifically support Dain Fisher’s Celebrity Shave Down fundraising effort, please go to

Learn more about events and get update at the Grow Mankato Facebook page.

Box Love Campaign

In anticipation of the need for 1,000+ Caring Boxes each year, the JZCF has launched a major fundraising campaign called Box Love with a goal of raising $1,000,000.

We wish to thank all donors to our Box Love Campaign. We are especially grateful to our major gift donors and total donations of $5,000 or more will be recognized on a special Community of Caring Wall in the Mankato Area Foundation Building.

$50,000 - $74,999
Eric and Mindy Else

$25,000 - $49,999
Dan and Angie Bastian
EI Microcircuits
Exclusively Diamonds
Fred and Diane Lutz
Mankato Clinic Foundation
MN River Builders Association
David and Dawn Naples
Bryan and Tami Paulsen
Todd and Jackie Snell
Chad and Tara Surprenant Family
Tailwind Group
Jonathan and Ginger Zierdt

Greater Mankato Growth Board of Directors
David and Darcy Hermel
Mayo Clinic Health System Community Foundation
Paape Companies
Dave and Jennifer Pfeffer
Michael and Donna Rstom
Jeff and Cindy Thom Foundation and All American Foods
Jeff and Katherine Weldon

Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Dennis and Carole Dotson
Lenore Else and Douglas Johnson
Grow Mankato
Dr. Michael James
Wynn and Ginette Kearney
Dr. Greg and Maura Kutcher
Marvin and Davona Rhodes
Geoff and Rebecca Roise
Dan and Becky Sarff
Mary Jo Surprenant
Jay and Lisa Weir
Larry and Kathy Van Tol

Chuck Bailey and JO Guck Bailey
Blethen Berens
Lucy Brown
Consolidated Communications Community Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation
Rob and Rhonda Else
US Bank Employees

Please join us in supporting those in our community who receive a cancer diagnosis by making a donation or pledge to the JZCF Box Love Campaign. To make a donation, please click on the link below.
Donate Today Online          


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

Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund partnering with Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont to benefit cancer patients in Fairmont and surrounding communities

FAIRMONT, Minn. – The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund is expanding its reach to the Fairmont area, partnering with Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont to serve the area’s cancer patients well into the future. Read Full Release

Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund Announces Box Love Campaign

The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund (JZCF), a donor advised fund of the Mankato Area Foundation is pleased to announce the Box Love Campaign. In January 2018, the JZCF launched our signature program—the JZ Caring Box. The JZ Caring Box is designed for patients diagnosed with cancer and contains items to provide support and comfort as well as access to information and resources for patients, their families and caregivers. In anticipation of the need for 1,000+ Caring Boxes each year, the JZCF has launched a major fundraising campaign called Box Love with a goal of raising $1,000,000. Read Full Story

See More News

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

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

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