The Redwood Area Communities Foundation (RACF) is a core community developer. The support offered to the community by RACF is unrivaled in its impact.

Don Yrjo, chairman of RACF, recently offered insight as to what makes the foundation special and vital to the Redwood area.

The Redwood Area Communities Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit entity organized for the welfare and benefit of Redwood County residents and organizations. The RACF’s focus is on those who live or have their principal place of business in Redwood County or within a 10 mile radius.

The RACF was established in 1988.

The foundation works hand in hand with the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) to improve the quality of life for local communities and their residents, to benefit public school districts and any charitable organizations operating in Redwood County and to provide scholarships and loans to students living here.

“Looking at all of the diverse groups served in itself is a success story. The groups benefited by RACF include different spectrums across the board, including youth to senior citizens and those in need to those who are healthy,” said Yrjo

The RACF supports civic, charitable, benevolent, educational and cultural purposes in Redwood County. The foundation has more than 30 subsidiaries and over three million dollars in assets that are managed for these groups. The foundation’s current designated accounts are listed as follows and continue to expand.

• Apple Gourd Project

• Celebrate Redwood Falls

• Country Sno Riders

• Dominick Bruns Memorial Fund

• Ehlers Student Loan Fund

• Erik’s Memorial Fund

• Ernie Werner Ag Scholarship

• Friends of the County Fair

• Friends of the Park

• Giving Back – Redwood Lions & Rotarians

• GRASP – Greater Redwood Area Suicide Prevention

• Hinterland Art Crawl

• Leave a Legacy-SW MN

• LINC Redwood County

• Minnesota Indigenous Women Society

• Minnesota Valley ATV Riders

• Orrin Estebo Foundation

• Friends of Parkview Senior Living - Belview, MN

• Redwood Area Community Youth Foundation

• Redwood Area Hospital Foundation

• Redwood Area Junior Golf Association

• Redwood Chamber Community Partners

• Redwood County Purple Ribbon Club

• Redwood Electric Trust

• Redwood County Warrior Foundation

• Redwood Valley Baseball Association

• Redwood Westside Center

• Share the Spirit

• Technology and Trades on the Prairie

• Wanda Cemetery

A cornerstone program of RACF is the Ehlers Student Loan Fund. The cost of a college education continues to rise, and, for some, those costs can hinder their goal of earning a degree. Those who do pursue post-secondary education quickly discover the costs associated with furthering their education result in taking out loans at a high rate of interest.

In an effort to help address those financial realities a program was established in Redwood Falls by a benefactor named Martin Ehlers. The program provides interest-free funds for students living in Redwood County or attending school in Redwood County. The next deadline is May 4, 2020.

Groups are able to receive grants and tax deductible gifts from individuals due to the 501(c)(3) status of RACF. They can receive these grants and tax deductions as both short term subsidiaries and long term subsidiaries.

The financial help received by the 501(c)(3) status allows these accounts to put more of their finances into their missions for the community.

The RACF plans to continue providing scholarships for youth to adults, encouraging the expansion of community youth activities as well as mental and physical health activities, progressing technology in the area, assisting civic organizations, helping veterans, benefiting the arts and providing leadership. Countless opportunities exist for growth in Redwood County.

“The RACF has been serving many diverse needs for more than 30 years in our communities,” explains Yrjo. “I believe it will continue to grow and serve the needs of many more groups as time and needs change in the future."

To learn more about establishing a subsidiary of Redwood Area Communities Foundation, contact Redwood Area Development Corporation at (507) 637-4004.