Founded in 2012 to enhance the rural lifestyle in Bird Island and Olivia, the BIO Legacy Foundation marked its 10-year anniversary with a celebration in March. In its first decade, the foundation made 76 grants totaling $80,850 to support local education, recreation, health and amenities.
BIO Legacy is one of Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) 31 affiliate partners and part of a proven model that helps retain charitable dollars to benefit our region’s communities.
The anniversary celebration included dinner and entertainment, as well as remarks by BIO Legacy Foundation Advisory Board Treasurer Erik Peterson. He thanked donors and noted that their gifts to the foundation’s endowment means that there is now $15,000 available annually for grants.
“Long-term, our goal is to reach $1 million in our endowment, which would mean we could grant about $50,000 per year back to the community,” Erik said.
The endowment fund acts like a savings account for the community. The principal is never spent; as the money grows, a portion of the earnings is granted to local nonprofits and civic organizations.
“That’s the magic of endowments,” said SWIF Community Philanthropy Officer Jeff Vetsch, who attended the event along with a group of SWIF staff members.
BIO Legacy Foundation grants over the past 10 years have helped pay for science goggles and wrestling mats, band trips and trail projects, camping equipment, phonics books, preserving history and more.
Bird Island Cultural Centre is one of the many local organizations that has received grants in the past. Centre director Rosemary Glesener appreciates the lasting impact of the funding, even beyond when a project is done.
“BIO Legacy has enriched generations through meaningful cultural experiences in Greater Minnesota. Whether it is the professional art hanging system for artists to display their works, high school videography classes or the inspirational vertical sidewalk for children to create public art, BIO Legacy allows the Cultural Centre in Bird Island and other recipients to enhance our communities by allowing inspiration to flourish for the common good,” Rosemary said.
How It Started
Read stories about some of the founders who helped launch the BIO Legacy Foundation as a way for people to give back to the places that are important to them: