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Offutt Family Foundation Announces Record-Breaking Community Builder Grants Awarded Across RDO Footprint

2 Nov 2023 Author: RDO Equipment Co. Read time: 3 min

RDO team members demonstrate their commitment to the communities where they work and live in many creative ways. One way is participating in Offutt Family Foundation’s Community Builder grant program. For nearly a decade, this unique initiative has recognized grant proposals submitted by RDO team members that demonstrate the potential to move a community forward in meaningful ways in response to the community’s needs.  

This year’s Community Builder had RDO team members nominate charities within three vital categories:  

  • Education: Organizations providing children and adolescents opportunities to reach their full potential  
  • Healthcare: Organizations improving health outcomes through innovative solutions 
  • Community Development: Organizations strengthen local communities by providing access to resources that allow them to thrive. 

Altogether, $345,500 was awarded to 48 recipients across RDO's footprint. In addition to funding from Offutt Family Foundation, R.D. Offutt Company, the parent company of RDO Equipment Co., partnered with the foundation to support each award as a tribute to nominating team members and their passion for causes within their communities.  

Numerous RDO team members stepped up across the entire company footprint, from Northern California to eastern Washington, to the Upper Midwest and the heart of Texas, nominating charities doing important work in their communities.  

Tom Espel, Offutt Family Foundation Executive Director, says RDO team members showed dedication to their communities through their rich and diverse applications.  

“The causes team members advocated for, and the stories they shared were nothing less than awe-inspiring,” he said. “It was an incredible experience to learn so many ways RDO team members are giving back to their communities.”  

Here are a few examples of this year’s Community Builder grant recipients and the RDO team members who nominated them. 

Big Brother Big Sister of Central Minnesota — Sauk Rapids, Minn. 



FISH of Vancouver — Vancouver, Wash. 

FISH of Vancouver, 2023 Community Grantee

Casey Freshwater, a Service Technician from RDO Equipment Co. in Portland, Oregon, nominated FISH of Vancouver after witnessing the need for nutritious food while using his RDO volunteer hours to help at FISH in downtown Portland.

“As a FISH volunteer for over two years, I saw my community's tremendous need for nutritious food and resources, especially during COVID-19. I use my volunteer hours from RDO to help at the food bank and witness its impact on the community," said Freshwater.  

Helping Hands —Park Rapids, Minn. 

Helping Hands PTA, Community Builder 2023

The Helping Hands program in the Park Rapids Schools will help many more students after being nominated for and receiving a Community Builder grant, thanks to Patty Stephens, RDO hospitality manager.  

“As a former educator, I have seen the great needs that our students have beyond what they can get in a classroom, and the support offered by groups such as Helping Hands is invaluable,” she said. “A kid shouldn’t have to stay in at recess because they don’t have a warm coat or be unable to do their algebra because they don’t have the right calculator. Helping Hands fills in those gaps."  

Hmong Nurses Association (HNA) — Fowler, Calif. 

Hmong Nurse Association, Community Builder 2023

Nhia Vue, RDO Equipment Co.’s store manager in Fowler, Calif., experienced Hmong nurses’ kindness when his older brother Kong Meng was diagnosed with cancer at 16. His parents spoke very little English, but the Hmong nurses at Valley Children's Hospital helped when translators weren't available. Through witnessing this experience, Vue said he understands nurses' vital role, especially with those who have additional cultural or language backgrounds. Vue says HNA ensures future Hmong nurses through scholarships and the collaboration of Hmong nurses to promote and sustain a healthy community. 

See a complete list of Community Builder Grant recipients and the team members who nominated them. 

Organization Team member Location
 American Diabetes Association - North DakotaJeanine LarsonFargo, N.D.
Bertha-Hewitt Sports BoostersJonathan RobbinsWadena, Minn.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MinnesotaDavid HenkelSauk Rapids, Minn.
Big Sky Development John HurdBillings, Mont.
Boys & Girls Club of the Columbia BasinNiki BickleMoses Lake, Wash. 
Brooten Community Foundation Elizabeth MartinezBrooten, Minn.
Century School PTA – Helping HandsPatricia StephensPark Rapids, Minn.
Coconino Trail RidersTyler KleinFlagstaff, Ariz.
Columbia Basin FoundationKent Smith Coulee City, Wash.
Columbia Industries Jarrod BaileyKennewick, Wash.
Connell Heritage Foundation / North Franklin Heritage MuseumJoel SlaybaughOthello, Wash.
Construction ZoneEd GnuseBozeman, Mont.
Evan Heroes Austin MeurinSan Antonio, Texas
Feeding our Communities PartnerDonna BirrNorth Mankato, Minn.
FISH of VancouverCasey FreshwaterVancouver, Wash
Friends of Wadena County YouthCharlie WachlinWadena, Minn.
Hazen Public Library/City of HazenRachel FroelichHazen, N.D.
Heartland Lakes Development CommissionLuke WarmboldPark, Rapids, Minn.
High Hopes Jan MoyAda, Minn.
Hitterdal Fire Department Jacob SteichenMoorhead, Minn.
Hmong Nurses Association, Fresno Chapter (HNA, Fresno Chapter)Nhia VueFowler, Calif.
Hope BloomsErica JohnsrudFargo, N.D.
Hub Area Habitat for HumanityJason PetersonAberdeen, S.D.
Hubbard County DACDebra BannermanPark Rapids, Minn.
Joel Birr Memorial FoundationJeff DirkesDayton, Minn.
Maggie Jean FoundationTodd DirckxMarshall, Minn.
McLean Family Resource CenterJon UnterseherWashburn, N.D.
MN Ag in the Classroom, Inc. FoundationJen MaleitzkeFargo, N.D.
Noah Bates Memorial FoundationGlen BatesIrving, Texas
Northland CaresCarl LindPrescott, Ariz.
Patrol Base AabbateMatthew DriverMissoula, Mont.
RaeRae's LightJamie WilsonFlagstaff, Ariz.
Red River Valley Fair FoundationTravis SjolinFargo, N.D.
River KeepersCourtney NeitzkeFargo, N.D.
Rochester Active Sports ClubKurt SchaffRochester, Minn.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Midwest | MN, WI, IAJill KaufmanRochester, Minn.
San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Education CommitteeJason SnyderSalinas, Calif.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace - SD Aberdeen Mark SchaffnerAberdeen, S.D.
Tri-Cities PrepIan CareyPasco, Wash.
Trollwood Performing Arts School Ted HoranFargo, N.D.
Tumbleweed Runaway Program, Inc. Sonjia MunnerlynBillings,
UMOMJudy ButlerPhoenix, Ariz.
United Way of Otter Tail and Wadena CountiesRyan JacobsonFargo, N.D.
University of Minnesota Foundation, Lincoln Co Fund #23128Justin KormanMarshall, Minn.
Valley Fire District Megan LaceyMissoula, Mont.
Washburn Volunteer Fire DepartmentJewel SpitzerWashburn, N.D.
Watson Children's CenterJamie DotyMissoula, Mont.
West Valley Volunteer Fire and RescueSean SuhoKalispell, Mont.

Through the Community Builder program, Offutt Family Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants since 2015. The program builds on the spirit of community involvement embedded in RDO culture and embodied by team members. See RDO team members delivering Community Builder Grants recipients below. 

American Diabetes Association of ND, Community Builder grantee 2023

Jeanine Larson and RDO team members deliver grant to the American Diabetes Association N.D.


Columbia Industries, Community Builder grantee 2023

Jarrod Bailey delivers grant to Columbia Industries. 

Construction Zone, Community Builder grantee 2023

Ed Gnuse delivers grant to Construction Zone. 

Heartland Lakes Development Commission Community Builder 2023

Luke Warmbold delivers grant to Heartland Lakes Development Commission.

High Hopes, Community Builder 2023

Jan Moy delivers grant to High Hopes.

Hope Blooms, Community Builder 2023

Erica Johnsrud delivers grant to Hope Blooms.

Hubbard County DAC, Community Builder 2023

Debra Bannerman delivers grant to Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center.

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom, Inc. Foundation

Jen Maleitzke delivers grant to Minnesota Ag in the Classroom Foundation.

Noah Bates Foundation

Glen Bates delivers grant to Noah Bates Foundation.

About the Offutt Family Foundation

Established in 2008, Offutt Family Foundation acts in alignment with the deeply held values of the Offutt family, seeking to engage partners in sustaining or improving quality of life with a concentration on community development, Christian entities and educational initiatives in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
RDO Equipment Co.

Founded in 1968, RDO Equipment Co. sells and supports intelligently connected agriculture, construction, environmental, irrigation, positioning, and surveying equipment from leading manufacturers, including John Deere, Vermeer, and Topcon. With more than 80 locations across the U.S. and partnerships in Africa, Australia, Mexico and Ukraine, we deliver creative solutions so our customers can grow and build the world.  

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