Willmar Area Community Foundation

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Award in Philanthropy

The Award in Philanthropy recognizes the efforts of an individual, couple, or family who have 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.

The Award in Philanthropy was created in an effort to honor those who work to build a better community and inspire the next generation of philanthropic leaders.

The Marv Otto Award

The Foundation also established the Marv Otto Award after his death in 2009 and honored the first recipient in 2012. Marv Otto, a well-known Atwater resident and business leader, established endowments at the WACF to benefit the people and communities he loved. He was the kind person who would stop by the grocery store, give the clerk $100 for a certain person who he knew needed it, and ask to remain anonymous.

The Award is made to recognize an individual or couple who personifies Marv Otto's spirit and strengthens the community with an endowment or irrevocable estate gift.

Community Builder Award

The Community Builder Award recognizes the efforts of a company/business, an organization, or a professional advisor that has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy in the region. We are now accepting nominations for The Community Builder Award from the Foundation's Board, Past Board members and the Development Committee.


2017 Honorees


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Dave and Mary Baker

Award in Philanthropy

To read and hear more of Dave and Mary's story, click here.




Conway, DeutH & Schmiesing, PLLP

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Community Builder Award

To read and hear more about Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing, click here.




Willmar Area Women's Fund

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Innovative Impact Award

To read and hear more about the Willmar Area Women's Fund, click here.



Previous WACF Award Recipients

Award in Philanthropy

2016 John and Mary Lindstrom
2015 Bob and Patti Dols
2014 Dr. James and Colleen Michels
2013 Dr. Lachlan and the Honorable Kathryn Smith
2012 Dr. Roger and Kay Strand
2011 Alice and Joe Cox
2010 The Linder Family
2009 John and Connie Chapin
2008 Gary and Nancy Geiger
2007 Walt and Raeanna Gislason
2006 The Behm Family


Community Builder Award

2016 Heritage Bank
2015 Affiliated Community Medical Center
2014 Jennie-O Turkey Store
2013 The Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank - Willmar


Marv Otto Award

2016 Jerry Anderson
2015 Elaine Adams
2012 Viola Ness Ausherman