Willmar Area Community Foundation

Group of Children

The 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.

2015 Honorees

Bob and Patti Dols

Award in Philanthropy


Bob and Patti Dols of Willmar will receive the Award in Philanthropy for their charitable support and volunteer leadership to a wide array of efforts within Kandiyohi County. Since joining Northern States Supply in 1972, Bob has played a key role in promoting economic and business growth in the region, dedicating years to the expansion of Highway 23 into a four lane road between Willmar and St. Cloud. He has also served on numerous non-profit and economic development boards that align with his personal passions of keeping jobs local and providing a high quality of life for those in the Willmar area. Patti is a retired educator, serving as the principal of Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar for over a decade. She continues to advocate for children’s issues via the Willmar Children’s Cabinet, as co-chair of Empower: Women in Leadership and as chair of the Willmar Public School Foundation board. Patti also serves on the board of the Southwest Initiative Foundation and helps several local arts organizations.

Affiliated Community Medical Center (ACMC)

Community Builder Award


Affiliated Community Medical Center (ACMC) will be presented the Community Builder Award for their significant philanthropic contributions in the region. ACMC is an 11-clinic, multi-specialty health care network serving over 100,000 patients annually with advanced care and specialty services focused on compassionate, quality care. Since its founding in the early 1970’s, ACMC has been committed to helping our communities stay in good health, and has been proud to support organizations and activities that make our communities a healthier place to live. Examples of their local investments include the iPads for iCardinals campaign, the Barn Theatre capital campaign, Reach Out and Read (a children’s literacy project) and numerous scholarships supporting area students pursuing health related careers.


Elaine M. Adams

Marv Otto Award

The late Elaine M. Adams will be honored with the Marv Otto Award, presented to an individual or couple who personifies Otto’s spirit and strengthens the community with an endowed or irrevocable estate gift. Elaine, a longtime math teacher in the Willmar area, knew the importance of community and helping ignite both leadership and philanthropy in future generations. She had a keen interest in supporting women and girls, which led to a significant gift to establish the Willmar Area Women’s Fund at the Willmar Area Community Foundation. Elaine was a generous donor during her lifetime to Willmar Public Schools, Ridgewater College, College of St. Scholastica and the Willmar Area Community Foundation. She cemented her legacy by making gifts to over 20 charitable organizations at her passing in early 2014.