It all started on a farm.
Cynthia Huse grew up on a quarter section farm in Elm Creek Township, Martin County. Life was simple, but not easy, with summer days spent walking the rows of beans, feeding the cows and pigs and dipping her toes into the cold waters of Elm Creek. A self-described “child of God and daughter of peace,” giving is deeply ingrained in Cynthia. For her, it centers around intent, and stems from watching her parents sit at the kitchen table and work with their finances to make sure that their farm grew into something they could leave for her and her sister.
Years later, her love of giving hasn’t faded but only burned stronger. Cynthia spent much of her life following her calling from God; she traveled the world, finding herself serving for the Peace Corps in Brazil, as a University of Minnesota Extension agent in Koochiching County and as a minister in Arizona and California, before eventually finding her way back to Minnesota and further schooling. Cynthia served as a pastor in several western Minnesota communities and retired from parish ministry in 2006. She currently lives in Madison with her husband, Dale.
Cynthia began thinking about her legacy following the death of her parents in 1998. The journey led her to Southwest Initiative Foundation and the establishment of the Madison Community Foundation. A part of their board for the last 15 years, Cynthia has found her work to be incredibly rewarding, especially when she considers the struggles they faced when they first began—now there are community members who approach the Foundation with things the community needs. It was through the Madison Community Foundation that Cynthia gave her first gift, $5,000 to model to the community just how important this cause was to her.
Now, Cynthia is giving her greatest gift yet—her 80-acre half of her parents’ farm. On why she chose to give something so close to her, Cynthia’s answer came easily: “It really goes back to my Christian faith and our calling to be stewards of all God has given us.”
“There’s a great deal of trust that goes with leaving this part of me to SWIF,” said Cynthia, who hopes that she can inspire others to give back to their communities. Her advice is to “give where you live,” take time to plan what you want to do with your resources and above all, to choose an organization with whom you have a relationship.
“It’s my joy and my duty to share what I have and give back,” Cynthia said. As someone who’s always had a heart for the underdogs and for people on the fringe, it is Cynthia’s goal to make a difference in rural Minnesota, and to inspire others to join her.