Meet Our Donors

In every generation there are special people who look to their past with gratitude, who recognize their commitment to the future, and who exercise their power to make a difference. At the Mankato Area Foundation, we have the privilege and pleasure of helping individuals, families and organizations exemplify generosity and achieve their philanthropic wishes. We are proud to be able to share some of their stories.  

It only takes a quick walk-through Thin Film Technology Corp (TFT)’s remodeled office space in North Mankato to see just how much the company’s leadership invests in its employees. From large updates like easy access to the CEO’s office, to small gestures like birthday cake in the breakroom, it is clear the company cares about the individuals who work there.

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Growing up in Wayzata, Minnesota, Kristin Duncanson always knew that giving back would be an important part of her future. What she did not anticipate is that sometimes her philanthropy would look less like cash and more like cash crops.

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When Michelle Schooff’s dad died in 2013, she knew exactly how she wanted to memorialize him: with a scholarship given in his name each year. And Michelle and her husband David knew exactly how they would create that scholarship, as well another in honor of David’s father: through funds set up with the Mankato Area Foundation.

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When David Christensen retired almost four years ago, he and his wife, Jill Evans, started thinking about the legacy they’d leave when they were gone. They quickly realized that they didn’t want to wait that long to have an impact on the causes that mattered to them—and that they were blessed to be in a position to do so.

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Jim and Kathryn Vonderharr laugh that during their 22 years of marriage, they’ve updated their will dozens of time. But the couple is fairly sure that they won’t need to change it again, now that they’ve set up a donor-advised fund with the Mankato Area Foundation.

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The Page Jones Richards Fund maintains its focus on family priorities, even as part of the Mankato Area Foundation. Sarah Richards has one word for why her family decided to convert their foundation to a donor-advised fund run by the Mankato Area Foundation: trust.

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Amid all the changes that John Finke was thinking about when Enventis was purchased by Consolidated Communications in 2014 was the question of what to do with the company’s foundation.

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In an interview with Jane and Ogden W. Confer, they made it clear that they have deep roots in Mankato and a strong connection with the Mankato Area Foundation (MAF).

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