Grant awarded from SWIF’s Paul and Alma Schwan Aging Trust Fund in honor of 25th anniversary
During a presentation Friday, Aug. 6, at the Rock County Veterans Memorial in Luverne, Minn., the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) announced its award of a $25,000 grant to support the Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota. Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota is a chapter of the national, nonprofit organization Honor Flight Network. Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota is dedicated to honoring America’s WWII veterans (men and women with active duty dates between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946) for all their sacrifices. Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington D.C. on an overnight trip to visit and reflect on their memorials at no cost to them.
SWIF’s grant is made through its Paul and Alma Schwan Aging Trust Fund, a designated endowment fund established in 1990-1991 with a generous gift from Marvin Schwan in honor of his parents. The Aging Trust Fund helps communities prepare for and respond to the opportunities and challenges of our aging rural region.
The Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota grant also marks the official start to SWIF’s 25th anniversary year. As one of six regional community foundations founded by The McKnight Foundation in response to the 1980s economic crisis, SWIF has been providing financial resources and creative leadership to southwest Minnesota for 25 years. Throughout its anniversary year, SWIF will be highlighting and celebrating the opportunities, impact and growth of southwest Minnesota through various activities and awards.
“We are so excited to support Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota,” said SWIF President/CEO Sherry Ristau. “We’re losing more than 800 WWII veterans every day across the country and that means we’re losing opportunities to do something very special for our veterans right here in southwest Minnesota, too. Not only is this a great way to honor people who have done so much, it’s a great way to honor our region and kick off the foundation’s milestone 25th anniversary year with a $25,000 grant.”
The first Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota trip took place in April 2010. Future trips are scheduled for Oct. 1-2, 2010, and spring 2011. Additional flights will be scheduled as money and interest provides. Veterans spend two days visiting the WWII Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, service memorials and attending ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. All transportation, tours, food, lodging and assistance are provided through Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota. Each flight costs about $136,000 and serves 110 veterans.
Top priority is given to senior veterans. Those interested in participating must complete an application, which are currently accepted from World War II Veterans of Southwest Minnesota on a first-come, first-served basis. Guardians are also needed to make these flights possible, ensuring that every veteran has a safe and memorable experience. Guardians are responsible for their own expenses, approximately $800.
Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota is accepting additional donations to cover trip expenses, which for the two-day trip total about $800 for each veteran. Individuals, businesses and organizations may sponsor a veteran for upcoming flights through the Adopt-A-Vet project.
To obtain a veteran or guardian application, to make a donation or for more information about Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota, visit www.honorflightsouthwestminnesota.com or call 888-283-4061.
Photo caption: SWIF President/CEO Sherry Ristau (left) presented $25,000 to Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota at the Aug. 6 fundraiser in Luverne, Minn. Also pictured (seated from left) Tim Tangemann, Warren Herreid Sr., Casey VanEngelenhoven, Helmer Haakenson, Bob Anderson, “Poppie” and (standing from left) Honor Flight Executive Committee members Larry Lanphere, Terrie Gulden and Gene Spicer.
The Southwest Initiative Foundation is a regional community foundation dedicated to advancing southwest Minnesota through leadership, relationship building, program development and philanthropy. The Foundation has contributed more than $50 million through its grant and loan programs in southwest Minnesota. It has also helped more than 480 businesses start or expand through its business finance programs, which have created or retained more than 7,600 jobs. The Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.