Signs of Gratitude support community crisis fund

When the Luverne Area Community Foundation set up the Covid-19 Help Fund last month, director Emily Crabtree knew
the funds were needed to help people, but she had no idea how the community would respond with donations.

       Her goal was $100,000. “We figured go big,” Crabtree said, and she’s already halfway.

       “The donations have come from people with a desire to help,” she said. “People who have a little or more than a little
extra to set aside for needs that will come in the months ahead.”

       After launching the campaign at the start of April, Crabtree said she’s fielded phone calls about the fund asking how LACF
plans to use it, and those inquiries were followed up with gifts.  

       “People have written notes with their mailed checks with sincere thanks for taking care of our community and they hope
this gift will help,” she said. 

       “The needs around Covid-19 aren’t going to go away soon; in fact they will likely linger into the fall with the potential for a
second wave.  We hope that through our ‘GoBig’ Community Crisis fund we will have the means to help our community
and its residents get through this.  We are in this together.”

       To donate to the fund, go to or mail a check to LACF (memo Covid-19) at PO Box 623, Luverne.  LACF is a registered 501c3 and donations are tax deductible.

       Organizations that qualify for keeping the communities of Rock County stable should contact LACF about potential needs
for the coming months due to unforeseen stresses on programming.

       The first grants will be administered as needs arise in May.

       So far, the LACF received a $20,000 grant from the Minnesota Council of Foundations Disaster Relief Fund and accepted
local donations of nearly $23,000.

       This, combined with a special “Signs of Gratitude” campaign, brings the total so far to more than $43,000 for the
Community Crisis Fund for public emergency Covid-19 help.

Signs of gratitude

       “Signs of Gratitude” that are popping up on lawns and boulevards around Rock County are what Crabtree calls “an
opportunity to create community support in a time when you feel a little or lot helpless.”

       She said the idea came from her own personal “meltdown” one day as the mom of a senior high school student, wife and
sister of health care workers, sister-in-law of an essential worker and as a “hardy Minnesotan” sheltering at home.

       “Hence my meltdown,” Crabtree said. “But the one thing I did know I could do is say thank you. Thank you to health care
workers, our essential workers and all those who are working hard to stay socially distant.”

       She noticed a social media post about gratitude through signs. 

       “I have a senior sign in my yard, and each time I drive by it, it makes me feel good that someone remembered that a
senior lives here who may be struggling with disappointments,” Crabtree said.

       “Maybe ‘Signs of Gratitude’ could do the same thing.”

       She enlisted the help of Mark and Annie Opitz at Quality Printing and launched the Signs of Gratitude Campaign to thank essential workers and encourage social distancing.

       Five dollars of every $20 sign purchased is donated to the Community Crisis Fund at LACF to help with future needs. They
can be ordered on the Quality Printing website at

       In the first round of orders 82 signs were sold.
“The vision of yards filled with messages of hope and gratitude has begun,” Crabtree said.  “Hopefully making those they
are meant to feel the support they need to continue through every day.”

       The second round of sign orders are due May 4.
“We hope to double the order and have signs in all eight communities in our county.” Crabtree said. “If we can do nothing
else, we can always say thank you.”

       For questions about Signs of Gratitude or about the Community Crisis Fund, call LACF at 507-220-2424 or email

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