by Nancy Brown, CFRE, president/CEO, WCF


The Winona Community Foundation celebrated JC Pfieffer on October 6 as the 2020 recipient of its Founders Award. During this event, we thanked him for planting seeds and improving life in the Winona area. Now he wants to help YOU plant a seed by offering a Field of Interest Fund Challenge. He chose to direct his $6,000 award as an incentive for others to start a new Field of Interest Fund at the Winona Community Foundation.

What are you passionate about? How do you want to improve life in the Winona area?

And ... What are FIELD OF INTEREST Funds?

These funds are broad in purpose and allow donors to target their giving to reflect a passion for a particular cause or area of interest. Examples include but are not limited to education or the environment. The Board of Directors of the Winona Community Foundation is responsible for making grants to charities that align with the field of interest. You may choose this type of fund to focus your giving and to encourage others to give to your field of interest.

There are three matching grants worth $2,500 each ready for YOU to inspire your generosity in your interests.


Examples of Field of Interest Funds at the foundation

• Connect People to Nature Fund: Established to support environmental, land, plant, and animal/bird conservation issues. Grants are given for sustainable agriculture, maintaining and improving pedestrian access to public land, related education and for acquiring property or permanent easements for public benefit.

Monies have been awarded to the Sugarloaf Access trail, the Flyway Trail project and Camp Wenonah for new signage for community members to enjoy.

• Donna Helble Childhood Literacy Fund: Established as a bequest in Donna’s will with directives to promote literacy of youth in Winona.

The first grant was given in 2020 to the Friends of the Public Library to start the Dolly Parton Imagination Library project.

• Lyndon and Jennie Pierce Educational Fund (now closed): This fund supported projects focused on educational needs in the Winona area. The monies were granted out through a competitive grant process and the entire balance was used for three-year projects.

One grant was awarded to Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School as a three-year grant to pilot a program that would ensure all kindergartners are at reading level by the end of the school year.

The other grant awarded was to Ready Set School which ensures all Winona County children grades K-12 having necessary school supplies and clothing for school.

• Dental Access Fund: provides individuals in need with funds for dental care.

Program partners vet the needs and receive reimbursement based on criteria established for the fund.

• Emergency Assistance Fund: provides individuals in need with assistance in emergency situations including loss of job, home or unexpected bills.

Program partners work with individuals and request reimbursement from the foundation for any help given.

The Winona Community Foundation seeks to strengthen our community through philanthropy. The foundation can help you direct your donations to the causes you care about most, be that by directing gifts to the foundation, through the foundation, or directly to your charity. Please contact us with any questions.