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Karina DeJong
@karinadejong

One experience I have had is with a grantee who just recently started his own 501c3 running club for kids and mentors for five free fun runs. All kids learn about teamwork, relationship building and how to be a good sport. They all run together and each child receives a medal for completing the race. This was a dream start up for this grantee. He didn’t know where to start on writing a grant or even how to get money for his program. With the guidance of myself, my executive director and the entrepreneurial passion of our board, this non-profit received their first grant from the Willmar Area Community Foundation for $7,500 towards the Fun Run series they offer. I remember him coming up to me after finding how he received the grant, he was beaming with tears in his eyes just unbelievably thankful for the opportunity, help and support of the Foundation board and staff. His first summer of fun runs was a complete success. Hundreds of children across Kandiyohi county have participated and enjoyed this program. Yesterday, the first year has past, and the president came into our offices with a framed medal for their appreciation of WACF and said “We just wanted to tell you how appreciative we are of WACF. You helped us get off the ground and a big reason for our first year of success. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Knowing the impact my team has made by offering support and guidance, is now changing lives for hundreds of kids who wouldn’t get the chance to engage in these fun run experiences for free. In addition the appreciation from helping someone from the ground up is an amazing feeling and I will never forget seeing his beaming face full of thankfulness.

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