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Otto Bremer Foundation awards $25,000 to West Central Minnesota Communities Action

The people in the photo are (L to R): Carol Juul, President of Bremer Bank in Fergus Falls; Kate Ouverson, Family Self Sufficiency Director; Heather Thormodsen, RSVP Director, Sharon Ehlers, WCMCA Board Chair, Thad Olson, Bremer Business Banker. (Contributed photo)

The Otto Bremer Foundation, majority owner of Bremer Bank, recently awarded $25,000 to West Central Minnesota Communities Action based in Elbow Lake. The funds will be used to help support an earned income tax credit preparation clinic and basic housing needs support.

"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 great organization, which provides critical services to support the overall health of the communities in our region. 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."

West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc. is a non-profit agency serving the counties of Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse in West Central Minnesota. The agency offers a wide variety of services to help meet the needs of low income households. Individuals or families in crisis and in need of immediate assistance with food, shelter, heat, and other necessities are priorities for services.

West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc., as a part of a larger network of community action agencies, focuses on reducing the effects of poverty, assisting people to achieve self-sufficiency while improving the quality of life in rural MN.

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.

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and 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 comes 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, more than $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.