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Our Vision

Individuals in the Greater Mankato area have the tools and knowledge to assist them in charitable gift planning.

Our Mission

To educate, provide access and encourage Greater Mankato area donors, nonprofit organizations and professional advisors on the benefits, methods and opportunities of charitable gift planning.

We hope that you will enjoy the following "Legacy Stories" and that they might be an inspiration to help you answer the following question.

"My Charitable Legacy Will Be...."

Legacy of Memories and Kindness

When Elmer passed away two years ago, he left behind many who were sad to see him go. He left behind memories of kindness, generosity, and neighborly advice. He also left his legacy!

Elmer had designed his will with his wife who had passed a few years earlier, to benefit organizations that he felt had a positive impact upon his community. While Elmer meant to provide assistance to 20 agencies throughout the nation, he probably did not realize the eternal impact his gift would have.

A portion of his estate was left to a local agency, which in turn began an endowment with that gift. For the entire future of this agency, Elmer's gift will earn interest every year and that interest will benefit the agency each year. Elmer made a one-time gift to show his appreciation and deep belief in this agency, and that gift gives to many more, for longer than he could ever have expected. Elmer's legacy is his forethought, and the future of our agency, and 19 others like us.

We don't always know how, but what we do today may impact each day of the future. Thank you Elmer!

Legacy Surprises!

Gifts come in all sizes of checkbooks, cash, containers and even a knitting bag!

A senior citizen donor recently walked into my office and informed me she needed a little help counting her savings, which she was carrying in her knitting bag. Upon completion of the counting, there was a gift of $13,000 that merited a new bank balance for our nonprofit organization to be used for less fortunate community members.

We are most grateful!

I had only one opportunity to speak to a potential donor and through this conversation she shared with me that she needed to make out a will. The next day she proceeded to a lawyer's office and took care of the matter.

Three weeks later she was found dead on her kitchen floor. Our nonprofit institution, along with others, became the recipient of a generous gift. It took only one phone call ... To Make a Difference!

Today's Gift Serving Our Community

Last year VINE moved into our new office building on the north end of Mankato. We received two wonderful donations, one from an older Mankato couple and the other from First Presbyterian Church, to purchase conference room furnishings.

This gift has made VINE's Community Conference Center a very comfortable place to train volunteers and host other meetings which help people in our community. We freely share our room with other nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross and the United Way. Many people benefit from the gifts of our benefactors.

Lasting Gifts

The quality of life for many people we serve was greatly enhanced due to the generosity of a woman, who through her estate, gave Harry Meyering Center $100,000. As a result of her gift, HMC was able to gain the necessary financing to build a twin home, buy a duplex and complete some remodeling on a third home. As the population HMC serves has aged and mobility issues have increased, housing generally available for rent has become inadequate.

This wonder gift has helped us to meet these community needs!

Land Gift Funds Grandchildren's Future

A married couple, retired farmers, recently found themselves in the following situation. After retiring from farming and moving into town, the couple found they did not need the rental income, but wanted to keep the farm so that they would be able to pay for a portion of their grandchildren's education.

"Was there a way to give the farm to our organization and still help pay college bills?" The answer was YES, with a Charitable Reminder Unitrust.

The couple gave the farm to our organization; we sold it and placed the proceeds in a trust that will pay an income to the grandchildren until they are finished with college. The couple was able to convert their farm into gifts for both our organization and their grandchildren. They were also entitled to a substantial charitable tax deduction.

"It is the Responsibility of every human being to aspire to do something Worthwhile, to make this world a Better place than the one he found."

Albert Einstein

Lifetime Benefits

A long time member has told us how he has been involved in the "Y" since 1927. He learned to swim at the Y and worked as a counselor at our camp. He has credited the YMCA, along with other things, for his success in life.

This gentleman believes in and has supported the YMCA with leadership gifts in the last three capital campaigns!

Time and Talents Create A Legacy

We had an active volunteer at LEEP who passed away this last year. His wishes were for family and friends to send money in his name to help support athletes with disabilities, in which he had worked with over the past two decades. We received over $1,000 of gifts in his name. All the money that was given became scholarships for athletes who could not afford their registration fees for various sports.

He not only touched people's lives by volunteering, but with these gifts of memorial, he has continued to reach out to others well beyond his time!

"My estate will never be large enough to build libraries, but it may be large enough to buy books."

Myrna Strand, Retired Teacher

Young Artist Competition

For the past four years, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra has sponsored a "Young Artist Competition" that falls within the orchestra's goal of educational outreach activities. The contest offers young string students [grades 7-12] within our region an opportunity to perform a solo piece in front of a judge and to compete with their peers for prizes. The competition is intended to promote the growth of young musicians.

The MSO is proud of its commitment to this unique and meaningful program and Symphony board members volunteer their time to assist entrants and families at the competition. Local educators, parents and audiences have expressed enthusiastic support for the program. Our evaluations are uniformly supportive, and unsolicited phone calls and letters of thanks have reinforced our commitment to this worthy project. The greatest testimonial to the value of this program came last year when an area music educator anonymously donated money for large monetary prizes. This educator wanted the gift to be an incentive to the young students to keep striving toward a goal of excellence and to reinforce the value of participating in the contest.

"If you want to leave your mark, remember who you are and what you did during your life and give accordingly."

Ann Sheldon Duff, Community Leader

Class Reunion Creates Legacy

Last fall, out of nowhere, Educare Foundation got a call from a member of the Mankato High School Class of '49. He had been talking with two other members of their class and they had decided that they would like to express their gratitude to the faculty of Mankato High. He wasn't sure how they should go about it, so he contacted us. After explaining what Educare Foundation was about and how we worked with providing grand funds for District #77 faculty projects and student scholarships, the alumni said they would think more about it and try to come up with a fund raising plan.

Six months later, they called again and we set up the "49'er Scarlet Awards". This group of three Mankato High classmates of 1949 organized what they called a 'low budget' fundraising effort within their class. They simply sent out a letter explaining their intentions and how members might contribute. The members of their class were given the option of contributing to Educare Foundation or to a scholarship program for students planning to enter the teaching field. They were excited about the possibilities and believed it would be a great way to Leave A Legacy for the Class of '49! To date, the class has raised $17,250 for Educare.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

Anne Frank, Diarist

Building For The Future

The generosity of a single donor has enabled the South Central MN Chapter of the American Red Cross to undertake a building project that will nearly triple the size of the current building.

While the gift will not pay for the entire project, it was substantial enough to get the work started.

With this new facility addition, the American Red Cross will be able to expand its Youth Programs, CPR & First Aid classes and greatly increase blood donations with a permanent donation site.

Surprise Bequest

Recently, we were contacted by an attorney's office informing us our organization would be receiving a sizable check soon from the estate of an elderly woman. As the name was unfamiliar to us and she had not lived in the Mankato community, we were excited, but obviously puzzled, by the gift.

After some research and phone calling, we found out from the woman's representative that approximately 25 years ago we had cared for her parents. As the representative indicated, "The daughter was so pleased with the devoted love and care her parents received, she wanted to acknowledge your organization in this special way."

Childhood Memories - Make A Difference

This donor so admired the efforts and struggles his mother went through to make sure that he and siblings received a Catholic school education after their father had died prematurely in the 1940's, he visited with the Schola Foundation and created a scholarship in his mother's name to assist needy children of single parent families with tuition assistance.

Since the creating of the scholarship with a $50,000 gift in 1995, this endowment has doubled in size and grown to over $116,000 in 2001. This endowed scholarship to help needy children of single parent families enrolled in the Mankato Area Catholic Schools [MACS] system now creates over $6,000 in tuition scholarships each year.

Anonymous Gifting Builds Futures

Every year for the past 6-years Habitat For Humanity has received an anonymous cash gift during the Holiday season. The gift has enabled us to build an extra home per year. With this money we have housed an additional six families totaling 26 individuals. These families will make a monthly mortgage payment to our office for 20 years; thus we will continue to use their house payment to build more homes in our community. Donations like this give us all a chance to succeed with our goals. We just dug the 21st basement within the Mankato/North Mankato community. We are very fortunate to have a donor that is so gracious to our cause! People like this truly enable nonprofits to succeed within our community.

A Gift Of Land

"This land is God's and should be used for God's purpose - taking care of the poor, " commented one donor couple, who always give a helping hand when needed.

The family decided to leave a legacy beyond their lifetime. "We wanted to put the land in the custody of people who would place its return directly in the hands of those in need." They donated their farm to a local charity. "We saw a vital group of people who will be around 100 years from now continuing God's mission. We felt confident they would do the job," said the donors. "You get so much more out of giving than receiving," commented the couple. "We have been so blessed!"

Caring For Tomorrow's Leaders

About 10-years ago one of our development associates made a visit to one of our donors. The donor was willing to set up a scholarship in memory of his brother and alumnus who was killed in WWII. Eventually that scholarship grew to over $100,000 and has benefited numerous Bethany College students. On March 21, 2000, the Lord called that donor to his eternal rest. However, his love for Bethany continues as a result of his estate planning. After caring for his relatives and his church, a bequest of over $4.2 million was left to the college. Truly, the donor believed in Bethany Lutheran College and the "One Thing Needful." He also set an important example for all of us by including in his planning those people and institutions that were important to him.

Average Middle Class Philanthropists

"We consider ourselves average folks who have benefited and been blessed from our education."

While Sam and Elizabeth consider themselves "average" folks, their charitable bequest is extraordinary! Their bequest is intended to provide scholarships to encourage and support aspiring student musicians to reach their fullest musical ability. They are hopeful their scholarships will assist students aspiring to become future music teachers, professional musicians and community musicians.

Sam and Elizabeth graduated from college in the 1960's. Elizabeth notes, "many of her college experiences went beyond anything that she had in her background," and they have been experiences that have affected her for a lifetime. Elizabeth notes many of her college professors influenced her own teaching and encouraged her lifelong musical interest and involvement.

Upon the advice of their attorney, this couple identified two charities, including the college, as beneficiaries of their trust. They considered the charities because they felt the purpose and work of each was important to each of them. As a bonus, Elizabeth noted the charitable gift planning provided tax advantages for them, too. Through their Charitable Trust, Elizabeth and Sam note their future gift "will somehow give back to the college for what we have received throughout our lives and in some way, allow future students to develop their personal dreams just as we have realized ours!"

Thank you to the following Leave A Legacy nonprofit organization members who have submitted these "legacy stories".
American Red Cross South Central Minnesota
Bethany Lutheran College
Educare Foundation District #77 Schools
Gustavus Adolphus College
South Central MN Habitat for Humanity
Harry Meyering Center
Immanuel St. Joseph's Hospital/Mayo Health System
Leisure Education for Exceptional People [LEEP]
Mankato Lutheran Homes, Inc.
Mankato Symphony Orchestra
MN State University, Mankato
MRCI Foundation
Schola Foundation for MACS
School Sisters of Notre Dame [SSND]
Family YMCA Mankato



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