2021 Ruth McDonald Award Winners

Jeanne Batesole and Vern & Judy Anderson Recognized with Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy

Alexandria, Minn. – On Monday, September 27th, the Alexandria Area Community Foundation (AACF) hosted their annual philanthropy celebration to honor Jeanne Batesole and Vern & Judy Anderson with the Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy (picture below). This is an award given annually to community members who have shown extraordinary support of the community through giving of their time and their resources.

Jeanne Batesole’s love for Alexandria comes from her late husband Virgil who grew up in the area. After retiring in 1990 and moving to the area, Jeanne decided the best way to get to know people was by becoming involved. Jeanne has served such local organizations as the Alexandria Technical and Community College, Douglas County History Society and Theatre L’Homme Dieu. Jeanne has also been an active member of Lakes Area Professional Women and in 2010 she was recognized with their Spirit of Philanthropy Award.

Vern Anderson, co-founder and previous President & CEO of Douglas Machine and CEO of Douglas Scientific, and his wife Judy have been married for 57 years and have lived in Alexandria since 1966. Vern is one of the founders of the Christian radio station KCGN, which is now Praise Live, and a co-founder of the Unity Foundation and Andes Tower Hills. They have served our community through a number of organizations including Douglas County YMCA and the Northstar Christian Academy and Sports Complex.

Holly Witt, Executive Director of the AACF, stated, "Jeanne has been such a positive energy in our community, giving of her time and talents to a number of organizations. Vern and Judy built their life in the Alexandria area and are continual leaders. We cannot thank Jeanne or Vern & Judy enough for all of their contributions to making our community what it is today."

Previous award recipients include Fred Bursch and Kathryn LeBrasseur (2019), Frank Starke and John Wosepka (2018) and Michael Lillehaugen (2017).

The AACF also gave updates on the work of the foundation over the past year and half with a highlight being the Alexandria Response Fund. This Fund was created in response to the downtown fire and then COVID and gave 34 grants to 25 different organizations totaling over $177,000.

The Alexandria Area Community Foundation (AACF) attracts and administers charitable funds for the benefit of the local Alexandria area. Since 1992, AACF has grown to over $7.6 million in assets and awarded over $6.6 million in grants to nonprofits. The AACF is governed by a local board of directors and is a partner of CommunityGiving, which is a collaborative of many community foundations united under a single framework to create efficiencies that maximize the impact of our donors. Collectively, CommunityGiving administers over 900 funds totaling nearly $201 million. Learn more at CommunityGiving.org/Alexandria.