Supporting their community has always been important to Rich and Kathy Wehking. They met during homecoming in 1972. It was Kathy’s first year teaching in Hector and Rich, an alumnus and college football player was giving the coronation address.
Rich went away to college at U of M, Crookston but jokes about how he ended up just 50 feet from where he started on the family farm. Kathy grew up in Winthrop and attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Together, Rich and Kathy have tackled marriage, farming and careers. They have two grown children and consider their tight-knit family their greatest accomplishment.
“We’re living in a good place to raise up a family. It can’t be beat,” Rich said. They believe in their community strongly enough to even make it part of their estate
“There are lots of ways to give when you’re this age,” Rich said, “a lot of great causes.” Giving was part of their upbringing. Kathy recalls a local man supported
her parents’ business when she was young. Rich’s mother and stepfather left a portion of their estate to charity.
Rich and Kathy learned about Southwest Initiative Foundation from their financial advisor. They liked the variety of work to support communities, from early childhood to business development, and knowing the organization was well-established. “They’re doing the research, they know the need. I really trust Southwest Initiative Foundation,” Rich said.
Together with their adviser and our staff, Rich and Kathy created a Charitable Remainder Trust. They make tax-deductible contributions to it, often through
a gift of grain, and can continue receiving income from it during their lifetime. Upon passing, the remainder will establish a memorial fund, creating a permanent
legacy for their family that supports charitable causes important to them.
“You see how big the world is, how great the needs are,” Kathy said. “We’ve been blessed with a simple life. I can’t fix everything that happens … we can do
Rich served on the school and co-op boards, and Kathy on the library and Play Island preschool boards. They’re active in church, raised money for the community pool and have hosted students through a U of M agriculture training program.
“We do have a lot to offer here,” Kathy said. “We have good people. We have resources. It takes a strong community to raise good people.”
From mentoring teachers to baking with their grandchildren, Kathy loves teaching. She’s currently part-time dean at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart
Schools. “I’ve had a marvelous staff to work with, lots of energetic, young teachers … I hope we can provide a good educational experience for people moving
here,” she said. “It was a great place to have our kids growing up and learning with us.”
Their giving plans help ensure it will stay a great place for families. “It feels good to help other people out,” Rich said. “If you’ve been blessed, you should give—
you should share.”