Riverland merges two foundations

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Two foundations serving Riverland Community College are now one.

The merger was approved Monday and announced to the media at a Wednesday press conference in Austin.

"This merger unites two separate groups that have been working toward the same goals: raising money in support of the students, who live and work in our community," said Jerry Adwell, president of the Riverland Community

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College Foundation.

"Together we are looking toward the future in which we will apply our fund-raising efforts to benefit the entire region," Adwell said. "With more than 70 percent of Riverland graduates living and working within 45 miles of the campus where they attend classes, we are confident that raising funds for a common purpose will ultimately benefit all of our communities and our students."

Adwell, a Hormel Foods Corporation executive, will be president of the merged foundations' board of directors.

Pam Bishop of the Greater Jobs, Inc., Albert Lea, is first vice president and will succeed Adwell at the end of his term this summer.

James Wendorf of Viracon, Inc., Owatonna, is second vice president and will assume the board's presidency in 2004.

Jeff Kritzer, a Hormel Foods Corporation attorney, is treasurer and Dr. Craig McCormick of the Albert Lea Eye Clinic-Mayo Health Systems is secretary.

Bishop and Wendorf echoed Adwell's prediction that the merger will combine the efforts of the two entities and streamline all fund-raising efforts.

The Albert Lea campus foundation has assets totaling $270,000 and will be used to establish an endowment to be called the "Albert Lea Gala Endowment."

Interest earned by the endowment will award scholarships to students enrolled at the Albert Lea campus.

The endowment funds will be combined with the old Riverland foundation's assets of more than $195,000 in addition to the ownership and operation of College Park student housing on the Austin campus.

"The Albert Lea community should be proud of the impact they have made on the lives of students, who have attended the Albert Lea campus," Bishop said. "In the past decade, more than $300,000 in scholarships were awarded and now a legacy will exist in perpetuity from the $270,000 Albert Lea Gala Endowment fund."

Wendorf said the Riverland community in the Owatonna area is "very excited" about the foundations' merger.

"Riverland is critical to the continued success of Owatonna," Wendorf said.

The foundations' merger has been discussed for the last 18 months.

Enrollment figures are up by 9 percent this year.

Individuals and businesses that would like to support the new Riverland Community College Foundation should contact Heidi Schara, director of institutional development, at 433-0508 for more information.

Schara was credited with being instrumental in the process of merging the foundations and ensuring the smooth transition that has taken place.

Riverland Community College, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, is a two-year comprehensive technical and community college offering more than 3,000 students a wide range of student-centered educational opportunities to enhance personal growth and community vitality. Facilities are located in Austin, Albert Lea and Owatonna.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto:lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com