Winona Community Foundation History

In 1985 Mark Kristiansen, then director of the United Way of Greater Winona, organized a task force to investigate the possibility of forming a community foundation in our area. Members of this task force forged ahead and on January 26, 1987, the Winona Community Foundation was a registered not-for-profit agency, receiving a Certificate of Incorporation from Joan Anderson, then Minnesota Secretary of State. A board of directors was established and the first donation of $2,000 was received, thus starting the allocation of grants in our community.  Sue Cornwell stepped in as president of the Foundation and worked as president until 2003.

The Foundation continues to grow rapidly, serving more donors than ever before in the Winona community. For that, we thank our  following founders:

  • Ken Sebo

  • Richard Blahnik

  • Sue Cornwell

  • Dr. James Daniel

  • Tom Graham

  • Pauline Knight

  • Mark Kristensen

  • Earl Laufenburger

  • Lee Luebbe

  • Gerry Neal

  • Patte Peterson

  • Richard Struck

  • Mary Testor

Winona Community Foundation Fast Facts

  • In 1987, the Winona Community Foundation, was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and received its first gift of $2,000 that same year.

  • The Winona Community Foundation has more than $14 million in assets under management in both Foundation controlled and donor advised funds.

  • In 2018, the Winona Community Foundation and its Fund Advisors awarded more than $1.56 million to charities throughout the Winona area and beyond.

  • The Winona Community Foundation meets and exceeds federal and state law requirements in practice and by policy as demonstrated by its National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® accreditation and its Platinum rating by GuideStar.

Some of the many grants and gifts that have come through the Winona Community Foundation over the years, from both general funds and restricted donor funds include:

  • Habitat for Humanity and the Winona/Rochester ReStore project

  • Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center on-site project at the middle school

  • Houston County Women’s Resources’ project “Unlocking Keys Through Art”

  • Project FINE’s U.S. Citizenship Program for area residents

  • Winona Dakota Unity Alliance’s Permanent History project

  • WSU’s Maxwell Children’s Center project

  • WSU’s Maxwell Library

  • Winona Health

  • High Wagon Bridge restoration project

  • Lake Winona bike path project

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters

  • Home and Community Options

  • City of Winona parks projects

  • Morrie Miller Athletic projects

  • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

  • YMCA-Winona

  • American Red Cross-Winona

  • Minnesota Private Colleges Fund

  • Winona Area Hospice Services

  • Nature Conservatory