This year marks the 40th anniversary of the MDU Resources Foundation. For the past four decades, the foundation has served as the philanthropic arm to share the company’s success with the communities in which its companies operate.
In its 40 years, the MDU Resources Foundation has:
- Donated more than $42.3 million to worthwhile charities and organizations in 42 states.
- Awarded more than $1.09 million in scholarships.
- Sponsored annual scholarships at more than 100 colleges and universities.
- Matched employees’ donations to educational institutions in the amount of $990,537.
- Supported employees’ volunteerism by donating $523,250.
“We’re proud of our record of supporting qualified organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities,” Cory Fong, president and director of the MDU Resources Foundation, said. “We believe our efforts have had, and will continue to have, a positive impact.”
The foundation considers requests in the following categories:
- Health and human services.
- Civic and community activities.
- Culture and arts.
The foundation’s greatest impact is through lower-dollar grants. On average, about 85 percent of the foundation’s annual grants are $10,000 or less.
These lower-dollar grants to smaller charities and organizations — often located in small towns with limited funding sources — have a special place in the heart of Rita O’Neill, manager of the MDU Resources Foundation.
“The smaller organizations are so grateful for the funds,” O’Neill said. “They’re the first to send a thank you note, and they use the money so well.”
Throughout its years, the foundation also has made some large donations, like a $1 million donation to the Oregon State University Construction Safety Lab; $100,000 to the Norm Waite Jr. YMCA in South Sioux City, Nebraska, to increase access to daycare options for families; and $250,000 to the North Dakota Heritage Center, to name a few.
“No matter the dollar amount — big or small — MDU Resources Foundation supports efforts to enhance quality of life,” O’Neill said. “We’ve supported large projects that help increase families’ access to much-needed childcare and have helped bring STEM education to youth in rural communities, as well as smaller projects, like helping a small town upgrade its playground.”
Another highlight for O’Neill is working with MDU Resources’ employees in the field, from administrative assistants to presidents, who give her insight on the charities from their communities that apply for grants.
“If it wasn’t for them, our foundation wouldn’t be what it is,” O’Neill said. “They’re my boots on the ground, and they have the pulse on the community where they live and work. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
Foundation also supports employees’ charitable and volunteer activities
The MDU Resources Foundation also has programs to encourage and support employees’ charitable and volunteer activities.
It does this through two match programs:
- Employee Match Program for Education
This program doubles employees’ and corporate directors’ personal contributions to educational institutions (elementary, secondary and higher education) by matching contributions between $50 and $750.
- Employee Match Program for Volunteerism
This program encourages employees to participate in volunteer activities by giving a grant of $750 to a nonprofit organization at which an employee or employee group volunteers 25 or more hours in one year.