Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union to receive Award in Philanthropy on July 14
The public is invited to attend the Brainerd area event, which will also honors two local individuals.
BRAINERD — The 2022 recipient of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s Award in Philanthropy is Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union.
The award recognizes the efforts of an individual, couple, family or organization that has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy.
The award will be presented during the BLACF annual dinner July 14 at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Anyone is welcome to attend the event; tickets and sponsorships can be reserved at www.communitygiving.org/events.
MMFCU was named the 2022 recipient because of their generosity and support of the Brainerd lakes area. MMFCU is a member-owned financial cooperative, and their impact in the Brainerd lakes area is something they are very proud of, according to a BLACF news release
MMFCU donates $1 per member annually. With over 53,000 members, that amount creates an impact in the community. The allocation of donations is decided by local staff through social responsibility committees in the communities Mid Minnesota services, including Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Baxter and Crosby.
Brainerd High School’s Strength Center, Lakes Area Restorative Justice, Kinship Partners and Northland Arboretum are all examples of larger projects receiving $500 or more in grant funding.
MMFCU also gives donations as a credit union wide project and assists with fundraising for organizations such as United Way with projects like matching funds from the credit union, a time and talent auction, penny wars and “dress the Executive Management Team,” allowing their staff to make donations in fun and engaging ways.
MMFCU provides scholarship opportunities for high school students in their service area and provides food and beverages for most of the scholarship recognition events, helping to defray the costs to the school districts.
Community engagement and education is budgeted and staffed because it is, at the core, their mission to improve financial well-being. MMFCU provides over 10 hours per week of financial education to high schools and nonprofits, as well as an 18-week course at Brainerd Learning Center called “Money Smarts.”
MMFCU also offers a poverty simulation to the community that lets participants see what a month in poverty is like, offering an exercise in empathy and how everyone can support those struggling in the community. High school students enjoy attending the Mad City Money simulation to experience real-world budgeting where students are assigned a job, family, debt and bills and must visit booths acting as a car dealer, housing, a grocery store, insurance and fun to live within a budget.
MMFCU provides volunteers and materials for all of these activities at no charge because of their values around giving back to the community and helping teach financial literacy.
In addition to the thousands of volunteer hours MMFCU employees give to local nonprofits, MMFCU supports community efforts and events financially.
“MMFCU has assisted with the growth and development of the Brainerd lakes area and the surrounding communities through supporting nonprofit organizations with financial donations and volunteering for many events and offering financial education to many populations within our community,” Karl Samp, BLACF Executive director, said in the news release. “The Brainerd lakes area is a better place because of their philanthropic giving. We are honored to name them as our 2022 recipients of the Award in Philanthropy.”
Dr. Paul Severson, surgeon at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, will receive the BLACF’s inaugural Global Humanitarian Award in recognition of his kindness, generosity and passion for helping others.
Severson is being recognized for helping raise millions of dollars for Haiti’s health care facilities and serving as a volunteer physician for 30 years with Project Haiti, a nonprofit organization he founded that now has 800 volunteers who provide humanitarian relief to the impoverished people of rural Haiti.
He has made over 70 trips to Haiti as a missionary volunteer to teach laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery to more than 300 surgeons.
Project Haiti also supported Hospital Bienfaisance in Pignon, Haiti, by improving its infrastructure, building a second story, surgery and education wings, in addition to a dormitory, airport and primary school in its community. He’s looking forward to spending more time there during his upcoming retirement.
The legacy of one local woman will be honored posthumously with a Legacy Hero Award. Jean Collins leaves a legacy through sharing gifts during her lifetime as a teacher, Kiwanis member, dedicated member of First Baptist Church, strong supporter of Lakes Area Music Festival and generous community member, the news release said.
Upon her passing in 2021, Collins left financial gifts that will continue to support many in the community and leverage the services of local nonprofits.