Support Community Needs Among COVID-19 Crisis

To address a growing need for emergency funds and assistance, the Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund. It has already received more than $25,000 in commitments from Gillett Pepsi® La Crosse, Merchants Bank, WNB Financial, the Dahl Family Foundation, and Pat and Jerry Papenfuss. The Foundation is actively soliciting additions to this fund to meet community needs during this crisis.

Bob Deter, chair of the Winona Community Foundation Board, explains, “The COVID-19 Relief Fund is designed to supplement and parallel the Winona Community Foundation’s existing Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF). This fund has been a vital resource for emergency aid to individuals and families in Winona, Houston, and Fillmore counties since it was established by anonymous donors in 2003. Because this fund has some restrictions, the Board felt establishing a separate COVID-19 Relief Fund was the best way to allow for flexibility and to respond more broadly to the community’s needs.”

The new fund will allow the Foundation to distribute every donated dollar back into the community, to expand its reach by adding partner nonprofits, and to provide direct benefit to community nonprofits. Between the new fund and the EAF, the Foundation is positioned to provide more than $120,000 in direct assistance through new and established nonprofit partners.

New partners with access to the COVID-19 Relief Fund include Family and Children’s Center of Winona, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health, Home and Community Options, Project FINE. Long-established EAF partners include the Advocacy Center of Winona, Bluff Country Family Services in Hokah, Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota (prescription assistance only), Hometown Resources in St. Charles, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Wabasha, Semcac in Winona, Houston and Fillmore Counties, and Winona Volunteer Services.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund also has the flexibility to fund key areas such as how to support the homeless population during a time where there is a “shelter in place” order. Any remaining funds will be distributed to nonprofit organizations working to reestablish operations post pandemic. The Winona Community Foundation will waive all fees, and no dollars will remain in the Winona Community Foundation.

Contributions to the fund can be made at any time by visiting, by contacting the Winona Community Foundation office at 507.454.6511 or, or by mail, 111 Riverfront, Ste 2E, Winona, MN, 55987.