ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota, which pairs adult mentors with youth mentees in one-to-one mentoring relationships, is the recipient of a special Community Builder grant from the Offutt Family Foundation. The Community Builder Program is a unique initiative supported by R.D. Offutt Company, parent company of RDO Equipment Co. in Sauk Rapids, designed to support charitable organizations and nonprofits in communities across the RDO footprint.
All RDO team members are invited to apply for Community Builder grants in the program’s eighth year to support causes they are passionate about and that make a difference in the communities where they work and live. RDO Equipment Co.’s Customer Service Advisor David Henkel – who is also a Big in BBBS’ community-based mentoring program and has been matched with his Little, Alex, for three years – nominated the agency for the grant.
“My involvement with the Big Brother Big Sister program began in 2019. I had a close friend who was involved in the program, and I noticed how fun and rewarding the Big Brother Big Sisters have been for them,” Henkel said. “After meeting with a program coordinator and learning more about the mission: ‘Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth,’ I was hooked.
“As an RDO Equipment Company team member, we are encouraged to participate actively in the community. When RDO’s charitable organization, Offutt Family Foundation, announced 2023’s ‘Community Builder Grant’ focus on community development, I immediately thought of BBBS of Central Minnesota, so I filled out a grant application on BBBS’s behalf to illustrate their positive work. The Offutt Family Foundation approved the grant application, and I’m thrilled that BBBS of Central Minnesota is receiving $10,000 to make a difference in many kids’ lives, just like my Little Brother Alex.”
This year’s Community Builder Grant program exclusively focused on supporting organizations in healthcare, education and community development. Altogether, a total of $345,500 was awarded to 48 recipients, with record-breaking numbers of applicants and recipients. In addition to funding from the Offutt Family Foundation, R.D. Offutt Company partnered to support each award as a tribute to nominating team members and their passion for causes within their communities.
At BBBS of Central Minnesota, the grant will be used to continue to make meaningful, professionally supported one-to-one relationships between adult mentors and youth mentees. These relationships have proven to help build confidence in local youth and improve their educational goals and expectations.
“We are so grateful for the work our Bigs do each and every day with their Littles,” BBBS of Central Minnesota Executive Director Jackie Johnson said. “When our mentors nominate us for awards or grants like this generous grant from the Offutt Family Foundation, it means so much to our agency because it goes to show what an impact we are making on the lives of both the mentors and mentees. Grants like these make matches like David and Alex’s possible, and we look forward to making more connections to defend the potential of kids across Central Minnesota.”
Since 2015, through the Community Builder program, the Offutt Family Foundation has awarded $1.4 million in grants to nonprofits and causes that RDO team members are passionate about. The program builds on the spirit of community involvement embedded in RDO culture and embodied by its team members.