Then and Now
The Mankato Area Foundation, incorporated June 10, 1974, began its work with a volunteer board and no paid staff. The Board of Directors included local individuals who wanted to make Mankato and the surrounding area a better place to live, work and raise families.These founding board members saw the need for a community foundation that would encourage donations to significant projects and to improve the community, and would also be able to receive charitable contributions from wills and estates.
The Second Decade 1984-1993
Entering the second decade, the “community chest” model continued. The Foundation’s leadership became increasingly proactive in fundraising for specific initiatives and local projects and programs. As time passed, local donors embraced the concept and the Foundation continued to grow.
The Third Decade 1994-2003
The third decade began and ended with major gifts, one private and one corporate, that set the stage for the Foundation’s rapid growth as we entered the 21stcentury. Early in the decade, a significant endowed gift from a local donor allowed the organization to nearly triple in asset size. The effects of this gift were threefold: more and larger grants could be distributed, funding began to include expanded social causes, and a need emerged to develop a more structured board governance system. The board also made the decision to transition from raising money for specific projects to increasing the asset size of the Foundation so that granting could be distributed through income from investments- ensuring that funds will exist into perpetuity. Toward the end of the decade, MAF became the philanthropic vehicle for a local technology corporation seeking a partner to assist them in establishing a donor-advised fund to facilitate their philanthropy. Grants focused in the area of science, engineering and technology education became the focus of this new fund and the Foundation has been able to award significant grants in that area.