Rushford Community Foundation marks 20th year

By : 

When most people or groups celebrate a birthday they receive gifts. But the Rushford Community Foundation (RCF) is marking its 20th birthday by doing what it had always done; giving back to the community.


Since 1998, the Rushford Community Foundation has been hard at work, following its mission of “improving the quality of life and building a strong community for the future.”


The non-profit foundation is organized as an endowed, designated fund of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) to help to improve the Rushford area. In its twenty years of existence, the RCF has granted more than $1.6 million to help fund numerous community projects, annual scholarships, and help benefit the Rushford Peterson area. The foundation tries to find projects to benefit citizens for the long term while promoting volunteer and citizen participation.

In recognition of its 20th anniversary this year, the RCF is participating in the “Give to the Max” on November 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rushford’s Sterling Drug Store. RCF  members will be present at informational tables to answer questions and accept donations, and people interested in becoming part of the foundation can find out more as well.

All donations are welcome, whether by cash, check, and/or on-line through their website at Donations can also be mailed to: Rushford Community Foundation, P.O. Box 671, Rushford, MN  55971. 

Of special note, Tim Penny, President and CEO of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMNIF), is offering the “Penny Match Challenge.” Penny will personally match “Dollar-For-Dollar” donations of $100 or more by new donors to RCF.

The RCF is primarily built by  donations, large and small, from the people and businesses of the area. These donations all add up significantly and are used to benefit the community. Besides donating cash, there are other ways that parties participate, such as through designated scholarships and grants.

According to RCF President Kari Johnson, interested donors/sponsors can contact the foundation to set up annual scholarships for as little as $12,000, with or without a specific field of study. Another education option is a one-time grant that can be given towards a graduate’s education, such as in remembrance of a loved one, for example, for a specific amount.

 The foundation’s projects can be found throughout the area and cover many topics: area beautification, the parks, the public places, libraries, the Veteran’s Memorial, historical places, the playgrounds, Magelsson Bluff, the arts and humanities, the elderly, the youth groups, families, and tourism.

The RCF was a source of help during the 2007 flood, as well as the 10th anniversary celebration of recovery. The foundation recently helped cover $6,542.64 towards the $10,000 of the costs to replace the carpeting from the Rushford Village Hall, which served as information central for volunteers and National Guard workers. Even after 10 years of cleanings, the carpeting still smelled like the flood waters when it was wet, so the community was glad to have the carpeting removed. The hall is once again, fresh and inviting, ready to be rented out or open for events

Among the 2018 RCF grant payouts and other project contributions are:  Fillmore County Free Night at the Commonweal Theater, $500; Friends of Peterson for Gammel Dag Days, $250; Relay for Life in Rushford), $1,090; Rushford Days, $500; Mary Poppins play, $2,395; The Jimmy’s Band for Root River Jams, $2,000; Kiosk signs for placement in Rushford, $3,000.

The foundation is also in discussions about the Phase II portion of the Veteran’s Memorial Project at Creekside Park. RCF has donated $8,200 towards the project’s Phase II as of 2017.

Looking forward toward for 2019 projects, Johnson said “the slate is open”. The foundation encourages the public to present requests for grants to the foundation with written plans/proposals, estimated costs, etc. for consideration as long as it benefits the community. More information and the official grant request form can be found on the foundation website at