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


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 “Fully Alive” PACKs - specially designed care packages given on diagnosis.
  • “How To’s” for caregivers, family, friends, employers and more.
  • Preventative health information and access to early detection methods.
  • Downloadable App with information on cancer facts, resources and support.

Join JZ!

Let's start building community cancer awareness today.


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In the News

Tami Paulsen Named Director of Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund of the Manakto Area Foundation

MANKATO, MN (August 25, 2017) The Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund (JZCF) of the Mankato Area Foundation (MAF) announces that Tami Paulsen has been hired as the fund’s part-time Director. The decision comes as the JZCF’s Executive Committee called for the hiring to help launch and guide the newly established Donor Advised Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation. The JZCF was established earlier this year by Jonathan and Ginger Zierdt and a guiding coalition of engaged community leaders to build community cancer awareness and support.

Learn More


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. The prostate cancer remains present, but as of early 2017 is considered to be stable.

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.

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 Pappe
Dave Pfeffer
Jennifer Pfeffer
Todd Prafke
Marvin Rhodes
Kyle Smith
Todd Snell
Kathy Van Tol
Larry Van Tol
David Wittenberg
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