HUTCHINSON, Minn.— Kathy Wehking of Hector was recently elected to the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) Board of Directors.
A retired teacher, Wehking first connected with SWIF through the Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart (BLHS) School Foundation, an affiliated fund of SWIF. She taught elementary students at BLHS for 18 years. She also served as the Early Childhood Family Education Coordinator and a mentor teacher and co-center director at Tri-Valley Migrant Head Start in Bird Island. Wehking holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s in education from St. Mary’s University.
Wehking’s philosophy as an educator was to strengthen her students’ desire to keep learning and to build their ability to be resourceful and inventive long after they left her classroom. She’s been inspired by SWIF’s Grow Our Own initiative to close the opportunity gap that aligns so closely with her personal commitment to kids’ futures.
“As an educator, community leader, and farmer; Kathy brings a multi-faceted perspective to the board that will be so valuable in setting strategic direction for long-term impact,” said Diana Anderson, SWIF President and CEO. “She is passionate about our kids and our communities, and we’re thrilled to have her join the board.”
Wehking and her husband, Rich, own and operate a crop farm in rural Hector and are dedicated to the community where they’ve made their home for nearly 50 years. Through SWIF, they’ve created a donor advised fund to help them support kids, families and community development in their area.
“In Southwest Initiative Foundation’s work, I see curiosity and delight in learning, the expectation of challenge and change, the willingness to take risks and make mistakes, the need for reflection and self-evaluation, the need for collaboration and support from peers, and the importance of advocating for diversity and inclusiveness. It is here in the delicate interwoven balance of doing and learning that I believe progress happens. It’s an honor for me to join this work,” Wehking said.
The Southwest Initiative Foundation board of directors is a governing board that ensures the organization fulfills its mission of connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities in southwest Minnesota. The board sets strategy, manages resources and promotes the foundation’s work.
In addition to Wehking, the SWIF Board of Directors includes Chair Janice Nelson, Montevideo; Vice Chair Randy Reinke, Litchfield; Secretary Mark Titus, Jackson; Treasurer Christie Rock Hantge, Hutchinson; Past Chair Bob Thurston, Olivia; Tom Brakke, Deephaven; Terry Gaalswyk, Worthington; Patricia Loehr-Dols, Willmar; Mary Maertens, Marshall; and Teresa Peterson, Upper Sioux Community. This is a volunteer board.
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $75 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs. Learn more at swifoundation.org.
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