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Local family honored for philanthropy efforts across the local area

Tribune photo by Gary Miller Steve Linder, president of Lakeland Broadcasting Company in Willmar, said giving and philanthropy is not something his family does for recognition. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Area Community Foundation will honor the Linder family of Willmar for its steadfast belief that generous giving creates a prosperous en-vironment for business, employees, families and community.

The family will be honored during the fifth annual Award in Philanthropy di-nner hosted by the Willmar Area Community Foundation tonight at the Willmar Conference Center.

The award recognizes the efforts of an individual, couple or family who has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy in the region, either through their personal philanthropy, their work as a volunteer or through their work as a professional in advising their clients about philanthropy.

Steve Linder, president of Lakeland Broadcasting Company in Willmar, said giving and philanthropy is not something that the family does to be recognized, but he said this is a nice award and is meaningful to the family. To attract good people, it's important to have the kind of assets that raise a community's standard of living, he said.

"Service has been a very important value in our family and in our business. I think our feelings are we're just very grateful to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to our community and I think that to have a community like we have requires a lot of support,'' he said.

The Foundation said the generosity of the Linder family spans the generations, beginning with Harry W. Linder, a man with vision and a deep sense of commitment. He founded Lakeland Broadcasting Company in 1939. Harry and his wife, Irene, worked together with their sons Bill and Don to expand the radio business and start new businesses including Minnesota Electric Supply, Business Music Inc., and the Linder Farm Network.

Harry's grandsons operate the businesses today. In addition to Steve at Lakeland Broadcasting, Dave is president of Business Music, and Don's son, John, is president of Minnesota Valley Broadcasting in Mankato.

Locally, the Linder family members and their businesses support many charities including Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, Humane Society of Kandiyohi County, Kandiyohi County Area YMCA, the United Way, Bethel Lutheran Church, Luther Seminary and Gustavus Adolphus College.

"I hope a lot of us can celebrate this because it's not just us," Steve Linder said. "It's a lot of us. In our organization, I have to give a lot and fair credit to our employees. I think the key in probably any organization is good people and it's probably true in a community as well.

"The award does bring to light the importance of giving back to the community and hopefully it encourages us to continue and other people to join in,'' Linder said.

More information is available at

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150