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Otto Bremer Foundation awards $30,000 to United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties

The Otto Bremer Foundation, majority owner of Bremer Bank, awarded $30,000 to United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties in Alexandria. The funds will be used to support United Way's Community Impact Coalition, which works collaboratively with local partners, to address one of the community's most critical needs of housing and homeless.

The Community Impact Coalition works to meet the needs in communities, address such areas as early education, hunger and housing. With the economy the way it is, it has become apparent that housing and homelessness is a huge issue that continues to grow.

In 2011, two surveys were conducted on homelessness. In January, 40 single adults and 31 families (families total 43 adults and 61 children) were identified as homeless. In July, a similar survey identified 42 families as homeless. As a result of this information, the Coalition formed a committee to address the unmet homeless needs in our community. The grant from the Bremer Foundation will allow the Coalition to develop a program that would not only help to meet the needs of the homeless, but also to have a long-term impact on their financial stability.

The long term goals of the Coalition will be to:

• Identify funding available to address homelessness and rental assistance.

• Increase short-term housing opportunities for people living in places not fit for habitation.

• Establish permanent housing so families will have a place to call home.

• Work with individuals to obtain employment, education, and job training to move the clients to self- sufficiency.

"The Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank are committed to building healthy communities" said David Kjos, president of Bremer Bank in Alexandria. "It's gratifying that our owner and partner, the Otto Bremer Foundation, has offered its backing to this worthwhile organization. These dollars would not be available without the support of our Bremer Bank clients. When clients bank with Bremer, we generate profits, a portion of which we deliver to the Foundation, which then uses those funds to make grants in communities like ours."

Bremer Financial Corporation

Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately-held, $8 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by its employees and the Otto Bremer Foundation. Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul and provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance services to locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Otto Bremer Foundation

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation for the betterment of their communities. The foundation's work to help build and maintain vibrant communities is based on the vision and legacy of Otto Bremer, whose commitment to Bremer Bank communities and to those working to make their lives better, continues to guide the foundation.

The Otto Bremer Foundation owns the majority share of Bremer Bank, and a portion of the bank's profits come to the foundation as dividends, enabling the foundation to invest back in the bank communities in the form of grants and program-related investments.

In 2011, approximately $30 million in charitable donations were given across the Bremer footprint. Organizations whose beneficiaries are residents of Minnesota, North Dakota or Wisconsin are eligible to apply for foundation grants, with priority given to communities served by Bremer Bank.