As a community foundation committed to making a positive impact in Woodbury, we are dedicated to nurturing and supporting charitable initiatives that enhance the well-being of our community. Our focus areas include promoting health and wellness, ensuring public safety, supporting youth development, and assisting economically vulnerable residents. We prioritize collaboration and work closely with our network of non-profits, fund holders, donors and volunteers to meet the unique needs of Woodbury. Our ultimate goal is to promote a thriving community and improve the quality of life for all who call Woodbury home.
Our Greatest Inspiration
The inspired determination of our board members, donors, volunteers, and partners–working through innovative collaborations–fuels our goal, the well-being of all residents of Woodbury.
Woodbury Community Foundation Began
The Woodbury Community Foundation had its beginnings in 2003 as “Friends of Woodbury” when a group of seven concerned citizens took on the task of raising funds to purchase a piano for the City’s new Central Park. The money was raised and the equipment was purchased in 2004. During this process, a number of other needs and issues within the community were identified. This resulted in the vision of the group being expanded to include the establishment of a community-focused nonprofit foundation.
It took several years, and through the vision of Dick Stafford, in 2005 and 2006, the groundwork for this foundation was laid. Articles of Incorporation were drafted, our 501(c)(3) status was approved by the IRS, a mission statement was approved by the Board, and a fundraiser was held to generate revenue for marketing and start-up costs, as well as support initial funding requests.
In addition, more prominent local community leaders were recruited to serve on the Board. These Board Members were drawn from the full spectrum of our community bringing a vast array of knowledge and civic experience to the Board – many of whom have been recognized as Woodbury’s Citizen of the Year by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce during the past 20 years. Their value lies not only in their knowledge and experience but also in their commitment to the mission and goals of the Woodbury Community Foundation.
With a three-year operations grant in hand from the Otto Bremer Foundation, the Woodbury Community Foundation Board began a search and in February 2008, welcomed Alisa Rabin Bell as the first Executive Director. In November 2009, our Basic Needs Task Force commissioned local social service and research experts Wilder Research to conduct a Community Needs survey in Woodbury. Out of that research, four key areas were to drive the direction of the Woodbury Community Foundation: YOUTH, JOBS, HOUSING, & FOOD. in 2009 WCF starts the Citizens Academy.
During this time, new projects and initiatives were seeded and incubated at the Foundation. The Horizon Fund, the K9Fund, The Public Safety Fund and a capital campaign for the local food shelf, which helped CCEFS move into their own building.
WCF continued its partnership with the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce for the our Business Education Partnership, built new relationships with Washington County, the Woodbury Health and Wellness Collaborative and HealthEast to launch our work in transforming our impact work in the area of Health and Wellness, and is partnered with the Sundance Family Foundation to launch a ground-breaking out-of-school leadership experience for teens.
In 2016 the foundation completed its most strategic plan, focusing on creating a culture of philanthropy, developing local leadership, fostering collaboration amongst local organizations, and anticipating future trends. In 2017 the foundation hired its first full time executive director Lori Nelson.
In 2018 the Foundation returned to its roots as a grant maker. 2019 Also marked the 10th Anniversary of the Community (Citizens) Academy.
The Foundation provided critical Covid-19 Grants to direct service agencies during the Pandemic. We helped provide telehealth licenses and organized vaccine clinics. We even held a drive-thru parade community event to bring some joy during a difficult time.
Today the Foundation has more than $1.5 Million in assets and holds 18 different Funds. We run six community programs: Community Academy, Non-Profit Roundtable, Youth Engagement Leadership Academy, Woodbury Racial Equity Collaborative, Woodbury Thrives and the Woodbury Champions. We provide community resources on charitable giving and philanthropy and continue to work to make Woodbury better for all.
Board & Staff
2023-2024 Executive Committee
Matt Johnson, Chair
Christie Denson, Vice Chair
Jim Stevenson, Treasurer
Jacques Peulen, Secretary
John Lehman, Director
Kimberly Alwin, Director
Manali Shah, Director
Office & Support Staff:
Norma Lanners, Administrative Assistant
Roberto Munoz, Bookkeeping/Data Systems Coordinator
Simi Patniak, Woodbury Thrives Coordinator
Elizabeth Allen, Director
Kimberly Alwin, Director
Mayor Anne Burt, Director
Kathy Carlson, Director
Jack Clinton, Director
Lucilla Davila, Director
Surrane Fufa, Director
Kevin Gilboe, Director
Megan Lester, Director
Manali Shah, Director
Cindy Shanley, Director
Margaret Wachholz, Director
Noah Walquist, Director
Noah Yehalashet, Director