Building Vibrant and Prosperous Communities – One Application at a Time
In July of 2015, RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Company launched a unique initiative designed to support charitable organizations its employees work with. Since then the Community Builder Program has been positively impacting local organizations, awarding meaningful and transformative grants to the benefiting charities.
But the Community Builder impact goes far beyond dollars donated. The program has helped deepen employees’ relationships with charitable organizations and inspired them to take their commitments further.
Through the Community Builder program, the Offutt Family Foundation reviews applications two to three times per year. In the most recent round of submissions, a total of $38,500 was awarded to three groups. Learn more about each recipient below.
Ainsley’s Angels Red River Valley Chapter – submitted by Lindsay Paulson, Public Relations Specialist, RDO Equipment Co.
In September 2015, Lindsay Paulson signed up for a local 5k with the simple intention to run for fun. Instead, she was approached to participate with the newly-formed Red River Valley chapter of Ainsley’s Angels, a national organization that pairs up everyday runners (Angel Runners) with disabled or special needs children (Angel Riders) to participate in endurance events.
Since that day, Lindsay has been an active member of Ainsley’s Angels. As an Angel Runner, she volunteers her time and love of running to push Angel Riders through races. As a committee member, she joins fellow volunteers to organize fundraising initiatives, discuss ways to promote the organization, and plan events.
Ainsley’s Angels operates on a mission of inclusion, ensuring everyone who wants to participate in endurance events has the opportunity to do so. Lindsay explained how the Community Builder grant will further that mission, saying, “This will allow us to purchase the equipment we need to accommodate more Riders and expand to races outside of the Fargo-Moorhead community. We’re so excited that more special needs children will have the chance to experience the joy of crossing the finish line!”
D’Town Texans – submitted by Jimmy Thursby, Parts Specialist, Irving
One might be surprised to learn that this year was not the first time Jimmy Thursby applied for a Community Builder grant. After learning his application was not selected in last fall’s round of recipients, Thursby didn’t get discouraged. Instead, he put in the time to go through the application process again. His efforts paid off, as the D’Town Texans, an organization he has been involved with for 12 years, was chosen as a recipient of a Community Builder grant.
The D’Town Texans is an organization created to help positively guide inner city youth through mentorship, sports programs, and community stewardship. The Community Builder grant will be used to purchase supplies for the sports program and facility rentals, ensuring a safe, healthy, and positive environment for children in the program.
“I became involved in the organization because I love what it does for the kids and our community,” Jimmy said. “In addition to bringing out their talents and having fun with football and cheerleading, we feel we can lead kids down the right path, give them good structure, and help inspire their hope for a bright future.”
Legacy Children’s Foundation – submitted by Tom Espel, Treasurer, R.D. Offutt Company
Imagine your child entering middle or high school lacking basic reading and math skills. As the year goes on, this gap becomes harder and harder to close, and many students end up with failing grades and feelings of frustration. Partnering with Sylvan Learning Center, Legacy Children’s Foundation in Fargo aims to be the life-changing intervention these students need to grow and master their reading and math skills.
Tom Espel became involved with L.C.F. to support the organization’s mission. Knowing the Offutt Family Foundation’s strong interest in youth education and leadership, he submitted L.C.F. for a Community Builder grant to help expand the program and services to more students in the community.
Upon learning L.C.F. was selected as a recipient, Espel was thrilled, saying, “What an exciting connection through this gift to Legacy to help ensure basic reading and math skills to help teens complete high school and thrive in the future!”