It's that time of year again – leaves are changing and across the nation we are getting ready to give thanks with our families. And in the spirit of the holiday season, it's also a great time of year to make a difference in our local communities. The Land O’Lakes Foundation makes it easier than ever to maximize your impact in the community through their Member Match Programs.
The Direct Member Match program matches donations between $100 and $500 to eligible charitable organizations in member communities. The Member Co-op Match program is similar and matches dollar-for-dollar donations from our member co-ops, with match limits that vary per co-op. Donations made to eligible organizations in the 2017 calendar year are eligible for matching funds.
If you have given to education, 4-H or FFA, a community food pantry, a city improvement project, United Way or other local projects this past year, check your eligibility and submit a grant by Nov. 30.
The application form for both programs are available in the Community Involvement section on the homepage of the member website.
These gifts and matching funds can go a long way in rural communities. The Land O’Lakes Foundation wants to make sure that we are tackling hunger, supporting education and building communities. Your communities.
A dairy supporting education
Twin Eagle Dairy is located in Todd County, Minnesota. It’s an almost textbook description of a rural American small-town – a population of about 500 deeply caring people with a Midwestern spirit. Pat and Jody Lunemann co-own the Twin Eagle Dairy operation and have been using the Direct Member Match program for the past two years, to give back to their community.
Both years, the match went toward the Clarissa Community Museum. The museum will showcase the town’s 120-year history since its founding, when it had its start as a farming community. Jody sits on the board for the Museum and hopes it’ll attract young people from after-school programs to learn more about rural Minnesota.
“The museum is going to show a lot of the businesses that came and went, the history of the schools, the farming community, the churches. The farm aspect is going to be major because that’s a history of the families in this town,” she says.
As a former teacher herself, Jody has a soft spot for sharing knowledge with others. A museum like this in the small town could really bring people together.
“These matches from Land O’Lakes are so important with these small communities – we don't always have that many places to go to for these types of things,” Jody says. “Our money can go twice as far.”
A co-op alleviating rural hunger
These matches can also make a difference in larger towns as well. In Fort Dodge, Iowa, a town of approximately 24,000 people, NEW Cooperative has been donating to the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma Club every year since 2014, and they have been utilizing their member matches each year.
The Sertoma Club has a Backpack Buddies program that NEW Cooperative is passionate about. The program packs backpacks with nutritious groceries for kids and their families to use over the weekend. Backpack Buddies works with nine schools in the Fort Dodge area.
“Our mission at NEW Cooperative lined up with the Sertoma club and what it stands for, ending hunger. Our Foundation Board saw the need for a program like this – making sure that kids have a meal on the weekends,” says Gary Moritz, Communications Director for NEW Cooperative.
According to Feeding America, rates of rural hunger are typically higher than those of urban areas, with 15 percent of households in rural America being food insecure. Fighting rural hunger is a mission we can all get behind.
“Our board believes in the Land O’Lakes matching funds. It is an excellent way to help our communities. Land O'Lakes makes it really easy to apply for the funds. It takes minutes to fill the application out,” says Gary. “And it makes a difference.”
Your chance to build your community
As Gary said, it is a simple process to apply for a grant, so if you’re considering, check out the application form on the Homepage of the Member website and get started today. Applications will be due Nov. 30.
Member co-ops can also reach out to LandOLakesFoundation@landolakes.com to learn more about their match funds available in 2017.
At Land O’Lakes, we know that our members across the nation, from coast to coast, are making impacts in their communities already, through volunteering and donations. The Direct Member Match and Co-op Match programs are the Land O’Lakes Foundation’s way of helping you maximize the support you’re providing in your communities.