Hormel Foundation awards $8.4 million to Austin organizations

December 5, 2018

The Hormel Foundation announced the recipients of its $8.4 million in grant awards for 2019.

In a presentation on Monday morning, Jeff Ettinger, the foundation’s new chairman and former Hormel Foods CEO, said he was excited to announce the monetary gifts, which provide support for groups within the city of Austin.

In addition to the $8.4 million in annual grants, the gifts include $25 million for the Rec Center, which is set to be completed by January 2020, $8 million for the MacPhail Center for Music and Austin High School annex music space project, and an unspecified amount for the Hormel Foundation Assurance Scholarship, which provides scholarships of varying amounts based on need to help students attend Riverland Community College.

The Hormel Institute is the largest recipient of dollars under the $8.4 million fall grant program. Hormel Foundation is a significant funder of the world-renowned cancer research center.

Other organization projects that will be receiving grant money in the fall program include Austin Public Schools for more band and orchestra instruments, Cedar Valley for new vehicles with wheelchair lifts, the city of Austin to support an upgrade to the Riverside Arena scoreboard, and the Austin Assurance scholarship program.

The Salvation Army’s day camp and food shelf, United Way’s “Success by 6” preschool scholarship program and the law enforcement program at Riverland Community College also earned grants in 2019.

Still other recipients of fall dollars include the Austin Area Foundation, Austin Community Scholarship Committee, Austin Community Charitable Fund, Austin Community Growth Ventures, Parenting Resource Center, Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin campus, and YMCA of Austin.

“I’ve had a good opportunity to be on the board for a number of years, but it’s really gratifying to be part of these efforts to improve our community,” Ettinger said. “We hope that the foundation’s ability to offer these donations is in keeping with the vision that George and Jay Hormel had when they set up the foundation.”

He said that vision has become a mix of new and legacy organizations that were in the original documentation of the Foundation when it was established in 1941, including the Hormel Institute, YMCA and Salvation Army.

Now in the role with the Hormel Foundation since August, Ettinger said he’s enjoyed the more personal and interactive work.

“It’s been fun to just focus on the community-based aspects that the foundation is so deeply involved in, versus my previous role in the more business environment,” he said. “I get to see a lot of different people and really have a chance to get more deeply involved in the community.”

Eighteen other nonprofit agencies — mostly youth sports and community arts programs — were selected to receive money from the George A. Hormel Testamentary Trust, which provides $65,000 in additional grants each year. The Hormel Foundation acts as trustee for the trust.

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