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Luverne Area Community Foundation celebrates generosity

Lead Summary
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Lori Sorenson

The Luverne Area Community Foundation hosted its annual Friends of the Foundation Celebration of Philanthropy Monday night, Dec. 5, at Take 16 Brewing Company in Luverne.
The event recognizes and celebrates businesses, nonprofits and individuals who benefit from and support the foundation’s mission of strengthening the community.
In 2022 LACF provided grants totaling more than $68,500 to 23 local causes.
“This night is to celebrate you,” LACF director Emily Crabtree told the group.
Mike and Cheryl Cox receive Spirit of Philanthropy Award
 This award recognizes an outstanding individual or family with a proven record of exceptional financial generosity and volunteer leadership to one or more Rock County nonprofit organizations, who has “demonstrated extraordinary civic and charitable responsibility, and whose generosity inspires others to philanthropic action.”
Crabtree said Mike and Cheryl Cox received the award for their service in the community. “Both Mike and Cheryl are role models for what it takes to make a community thrive and lead by example for others to do their part in making this happen,” she said.
She mentioned SHARE, Hospice, Compassionate Friends, LACF, child and adult mentoring, church, education are just a few of the many areas these two have supported. “They believe that when you choose to donate your resources, time or talents, it not only benefits your but an entire community,” Crabtree said.
The Coxes shared their inspiration for giving in the community.
“We have taken special note how our previous generation has given with financial contributions as well as their time in worthy opportunities,” they said.
“We feel fortunate to be able to do some of this as well.  We along with our family have benefited from the many opportunities here from excellent schools to recreational activities, the arts and so much more.”
Crabtree said this is why they were recognized Monday night.
“Mike and Cheryl are two of the most generous people I know, and while an important part of that is in gifts, a bigger part of it is in action – the how can I help, what do you need, the smile, the hand hold, the you can do this,” she said.
“This action is not special for any one person or project but for all persons and meaningful community supports.”
Hartquist Funeral Home & Cremation Services named Outstanding Corporation or Business
This award recognizes a business that has “created a culture of philanthropy with their organization and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to philanthropy” through financial support of nonprofit organizations, leadership involvement, and volunteer participation and commitment of its workforce in establishing a role model for the business community.
Hartquist Funeral Home & Cremation Services, owned by Jeff and Sara Hartquist, makes financial donations for families it serves to Hearts of Hope – a family grief camp.
The burial insurance company, Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company, also partners with Hartquist Funeral home through a program called Helpers of People to match their donations to qualifying charitable organizations – doubling local impact.
Serving families through death care, the Hartquists said they have learned that relationships matter.
“All of us bring something unique to life and make this world better for it,” Jeff Hartquist said.
“As a company, we encourage charitable giving and lead by example, encouraging staff to bring a company check along with their personal donations to many local fundraisers.”
He said they encourage their staff to be involved in the community.
“Being blessed with talents and treasures not put into action results in wasted potential and opportunity,” Hartquist said.
He encourages involvement and works with staff to allow for extra activities whenever possible to help sustain and improve the communities they said they’re blessed to be part of.
“We are continuing to work towards becoming a true Kingdom Company, which operates under the philosophy that none of what’s been given to us is ours and should be used as a means to give back to others,” he said.
#Luv1LuvAll receives Nonprofit Spotlight Award 
The award recognizes an outstanding volunteer group that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the community through direct involvement, financial support and leadership. 
“Leadership in their organization comes by identifying issues within the community that are either not currently being addressed, are hard to tackle or need greater public awareness,” Crabtree said.
“They strive to offer a hand up rather than a handout. … It’s not very often that a new organization forms whose focus has really steep issues and keeps its vision, leadership and commitment to stay the course.”
Born out of a 2017 Blandin leadership grant called Leaders Partnering to End Poverty, #Luv1LuvAll was formed with active focus teams that offer programs, education and activities. 
•The Brain Health group is comprised of local mental health professionals and advocates and others who have expressed a desire for mental health improvement in the community. Funds support brain health education in the community, online and in school.
•The Oral Health Task Force works to increase local access to oral health. Funds have been used to work with Children’s Dental Services out of Minneapolis to provide a monthly mobile dental clinic since 2019. Other activities include student dental screenings, oral hygiene education and more. 
Substance Free Coalition of Rock County uses a federal opioid grant for substance-free education and youth activities, NARCAN training and distribution, peer recovery training and more. The grant focus is on awareness, prevention, treatment and recovery.
Other #Luv1LuvAll focus groups work on resource guides, dementia awareness, safe and affordable housing and more.
The Luverne Area Community Foundation can be reached at 507-220-2424 or

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