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Philanthropic fund is established by New London-Spicer community

The New London and Spicer area communities will soon benefit from a new fund at the Willmar Area Community Foundation. Local leaders have long recognized the need to further assist persons interested in making philanthropic gifts to the community.

Now they have it in the New London-Spicer Area Fund and that fund already attracted a $200,000 gift commitment from an anonymous donor.

The Willmar Area Community Foundation, which helped launch the fund and will administer it, also is contributing $5,000 and staff assistance, said Foundation Executive Director Sara Carlson.

“We are absolutely delighted to be supporting this important new initiative,” Carlson said. “It gives donors a new and professionally managed vehicle, with a broad range of giving options, for supporting northern Kandiyohi County communities. We look forward to the great things that will come from the New London-Spicer Area Fund.”

The fund will make grants to nonprofit 501(c)(3) and qualifying government organizations operating in 12 northern Kandiyohi County townships of Arctander, Burbank, Colfax, Dovre, Green Lake, Harrison, Irving, Lake Andrew, Mamre, New London, Norway Lake and Roseville. Grant-making is expected to begin sometime early next year.

The Willmar Foundation and foundations in Brainerd and Alexandria are affiliates of the Central Minnesota Community, a public charity that administers over 600 charitable funds totaling more than $100 million for the benefit of local residents since 1985.

“This is the first fund of its kind for one of our affiliates and will go a long way in making a difference in the New London, Spicer and surrounding communities for generations,’’ said Steve Joul, president of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Joul said the New London-Spicer fund “shows the generosity of the community and is only the beginning of what is possible when local leaders are focused on engaging people, connecting resources and building community.’’

The NLS fund will focus on supporting the arts, capital projects, healthy communities, environment and lifestyle, large-scale initiatives, and special collaborative initiatives.

Information on funds and grant applications are expected in late 2014. A blue ribbon planning committee of New London and Spicer area citizens worked diligently last fall to outline the fund’s geographic service area and potential grant-making priorities.

Also, they identified candidates for the fund’s inaugural advisory committee. They are John Bergman, Jeannette Carlson, Peg Peterson, Steve Rambow, Bill Taunton Jr. and Clark Vollan. Additional advisors may be selected in the next few months. Committee members are working with guidance from Willmar Foundation staff member and Spicer resident Nancy Lee Johnson. She said the fund’s mission and vision are bold and exciting.

The New London-Spicer Area Fund will operate as a special fund of The Willmar Area Community Foundation, a $14 million organization governed by a 15-member volunteer board representing communities throughout Kandiyohi County.

More information is available at CommunityGiving. org/Willmar.