It started off with an idea from Nashwauk resident, Marion Kumpula, in the year 2000 and ended with a Community Fund of more than $1 million in December 2020. In twenty years, Nashwauk residents and other supporters of the Nashwauk Area Community Fund were able to raise $1 million and are now able to grant $30,000 or more to their community every year. What a triumph!
Marion Kumpula and her fellow citizens, Bob and Mary Jane Latvala, Nancy Nunn and Larry Majewski had the vision in the late 90s to establish a fund that would continue to support the Nashwauk community into the future. Bob Latvala says that he and Marion had a conversation “about what we could do to keep Nashwauk alive and the ‘Nashwauk Area Endowment Fund’ became a reality. Fundraising began in the Nashwauk area and donations came from all over.”
Ruth Sejnoha remembers the early days of this fund where raffle tickets were sold in order to present a grant and says, “Many thanks to the late Marion Kumpula for having the foresight and compassion to establish the Nashwauk Area Community Fund. It was a privilege to serve on the advisory committee with other board members in the late 90’s. What a lasting influence it will have on Nashwauk and outlying areas to receive grants. The possibilities are endless.”
Marion’s generation was able to raise the first $500,000 of this Fund and the next generation was able to raise the next $500,000. Nancy Nunn, a longtime friend of Marion Kumpula, says, "’never in her dreams’ would Marion think the fund would reach this dollar amount!” These compassionate citizens were already thinking about how to help future Nashwauk generations and build an enduring legacy. Robin Gangl, Nashwauk Area Community Fund Past Board Chair, always shares with school students that “this community thought of them and what they could do for them even before they were born.” Bob Latvala credits his father, Charles Latvala, for teaching him that “if we invest in the youth they will learn to invest in future generations.”
Community funds are important for many reasons. As government or school budgets are cut, a community fund such as the Nashwauk Area Community Fund can help fill in the gaps in the community. To date, the Nashwauk Area Community Fund has granted more than 120 grants valued at over $270,000.
Larry Majewski says, “Congratulations to the entire team of people who have been very passionate about the Nashwauk Community Fund. I was fortunate to have been part of the beginning of the fund but never thought it would grow to one million dollars. This shows what can be achieved when a community comes together for a good cause.” Bob Latvala also says, “Thank you to everyone who has been dedicated to keeping this going.”
Congratulations to all of those who have been involved with the Nashwauk Area Community Fund and to the Nashwauk Area! If you are interested in learning more about how to you donate to the Nashwauk Area Community Fund, please go their website www.nashwaukfund.org.