Foundation Week raises profile for Owatonna Foundation

Projects funded by the Owatonna Foundation.

By: Autumn Van Ravenhorst
October 1, 2017

At the Owatonna Foundation, the beginning of October marks time to remind the community of what the organization is all about.

“It is the community foundation,” said Betsy Lindgren, Owatonna Foundation Board President. “Many foundations that you see will benefit both capital projects and programs. We focus only on the capital, the projects that have longevity. It is our niche.”

When it first began in 1957, it was almost unheard of for a community of this size (then approximately 12,400) to have a foundation.

“It speaks volumes to the rich history and philanthropic nature of our community,” Lindgren said. “We’ve accomplished so much, with donations and fundraising through the community, area businesses, individuals, requests and legacy gifts. And it all goes right back into the community.”

A key goal of the Owatonna Foundation is to create community engagement and awareness. It has invested in this significantly by moving its office to a prime location in downtown Owatonna, across from Central Park, which has made the Foundation more recognizable.

This year, the Foundation will celebrate its sixth annual Owatonna Foundation Week from Oct. 1 to 7, another approach that has helped increase their exposure.

“It is a great fundraiser and PR objective in creating that continuous awareness in our community,” Lindgren said. “We are able to thank our donors and supporters from throughout the years and show what we do.”

In conjunction with Foundation Week, a Spirit of the Community Award will be given to individuals who exhibit a philanthropic spirit as well as give and show their support for Owatonna and the Foundation. In years past, this award has been presented to Bev and Bob Seykora, the Lange family, the Buxton family, the Wenger family and the Kottke family. This year, Gerald (Jerry) and Carol Deetz will be presented with the accolade.

Here are some of the events scheduled over Foundation Week:


Thursday, Oct. 5 — Wine & Beer Tasting

The public is invited to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Owatonna from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. to sample over 100 different wines and brews. This fundraiser is co-sponsored by Cash Wise Liquor and the Holiday Inn. The evening will bring together select wines, breweries of Minnesota and, of course, food. A live auction will also take place, displaying several wine- and food-themed baskets from Cash Wise, two wine-tasting “road trips” including a Romance Package from the St. James Hotel, and a dinner for up to 8 individuals prepared by the one and only duo Betsy Lindgren and Laura Resler of the Owatonna Foundation, held at the historic Stephens and Sis Lange home.

This evening benefits the Owatonna Foundation grant and scholarship programs.


Friday, Oct. 6 — Huskies Kick-Off

The OHS Cheerleaders will toss out T-shirts courtesy of Court Sports and More during the half-time activities at the OHS football game against Rochester Century.


Saturday, Oct. 7 — Saturday Morning Coffee & Mystery Photo Contest Submission

The Owatonna Foundation office will be open from 8 a.m. until noon at 108 West Park Square, across from Central Park. Stop in and enjoy coffee from Central Park Coffee and cookies from Old Town Bagels.

During this time, the Foundation will be accepting submissions to its Mystery Photo Contest. To enter, you must fill out the photo contest form and identify 8 of the 16 mystery pictures that feature Foundation-sponsored projects. Completed forms need to be dropped off by noon. Forms are available at Kottke Jewelers, Tri M Graphics, the Foundation office and online at

Prizes include an “Experience Owatonna” package, $50 in Chamber Bucks, a family membership to the Steele County Historical Society, Owatonna Arts Center membership, Owatonna Country Club Experience Package, a DeWalt ShopVac and gift cards from area businesses such as Alexander Lumber, Kottke Jewelers, Fareway Foods, Hy-Vee and more.

The first 50 contestants that enter will receive a value basket coupon from Culvers.

Autumn Van Ravenhorst is a writer, multimedia consultant and hot mess mom. She is the lead columnist for Southern Minnesota Scene Magazine, contributing writer to a range of publications and enjoys getting in the nooks and crannies of her community. She’ll fill you in on the movers, the shakers and philanthropic nature of Steele County. 

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