Telling Our Story

Power in Numbers

Women's Giving Circle

WE WANTED WOMEN TO FEEL THE POWER OF GIVING. “And to think it all began over a cup of coffee.” This is the tagline on the emails from Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) leaders Laura Stevens and Melanie VanRoekel, and it speaks to the power of a single conversation between two friends looking to make a difference in their community.

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Quaran–Team Effort

Community Response Fund

IT’S AMAZING WHAT A SHARED SPACE CAN DO. For the Mankato Area Foundation (MAF) and Greater Mankato Area United Way (GMAUW), a shared physical space spawned a partnership that would shape the Mankato area’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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A Mankato Masterpiece

Donor Advised Fund

It’s not every day you drive by 135-foot-tall children. Unless you’re a Mankato resident, that is. The Ardent Mills grain silos in downtown Mankato, home to the newest of internationally-renowned artist Guido van Helten’s enormous original murals, feature the likenesses of elementary school students. This way-larger-than-life masterpiece is a celebration of Mankato’s past, present and future; it features local children and adults learning, playing and dancing at the Mahkato Mdewakanton Association Powwow.

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Sew Important

Fiscal Sponsorship

A YEAR AGO, “PPE” MEANT NOTHING TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. Today, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for all Minnesotans in public spaces, and every day tens of thousands of Mankato area residents don reusable face masks they received for free, thanks to the work of Priscilla Roos and Get Mankato PPE. “When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the U.S., I was glued to the television, horrified, for two solid weeks. Finally, I said, ‘That’s enough. I need to do something.’ But I wasn’t sure where to start,” Roos said.

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A Home for Philanthropy

Special Projects & Programs

Nancy Zallek never anticipated her job would involve endless conversations about plumbing, flooring and electrical wiring. It wasn’t really in her job description, but that’s just what happens when you build and later expand upon a successful nonprofit center. “I now know more about HVAC than I ever cared to,” Zallek said, laughing. “But it’s all for a great cause.”

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It Takes A Village


On any given day, it’s nearly impossible to find Mohamed Abdulkadir at home. He begins his workdays at MRCI in Mankato, where he fulfills his duties as a Refugee Employment Specialist, connecting refugees with employers and other resources in the region.

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Giving Outside the Box


When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Mankato area, local nonprofits felt its effects immediately. Programs shut down, government funding was shifted or cut, and the uncertainty forced many nonprofits to question their future and how best to serve their constituents.

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MAF Spotlight: R.T. Rybak, “Igniting the Power of Philanthropy”