The McGregor Lakes Area Foundation seeks to further enrich the quality of life in the McGregor community by providing resources through grants for community needs, the sustainability and stewardship of the environment, and the development of an endowment fund of support that can last forever. The McGregor Lakes Area Foundation is committed to investing your contributions to further achieve this mission. Since 1992, we’ve been supporting the McGregor community in a variety of ways and measuring our success not by monetary size, but by more qualitative measurements such as the scale and effectiveness of our efforts. Just imagine what we can achieve together!
The Big Sandy Lake Foundation (BSL Foundation) originated in 1992 as a separate entity but in service to the Big Sandy Lake Association (BSLA). Its objective by three founders was to raise money to build an endowment fund that would fund projects of other non-profit organizations that benefited Big Sandy Lake and the surrounding area in perpetuity. The Big Sandy Water Institute of ISD #4 is an example of this sustained support.
The founders were Lynn Elling, an insurance broker who founded The World Citizen, Inc. His enthusiasm was contagious, and he had the original idea to form the Big Sandy Lake Foundation. James Mikkelson was an educator who brought clarity to the organization. Dave Robinson was a lawyer. He was a very kind gentlemen who often gave his expertise without any fanfare. His background kept the organization headed in the right direction from a legal standpoint. All the founders were long-time property owners on Big Sandy Lake. While the founders have all passed, their vision has carried on for over 25 years, now led by new board members who continue to share the same vision and purpose in serving the Big Sandy Lake area.
To reduce overhead expenses of running and managing a foundation while maintaining all the positive tax and other benefits of a not-for-profit, the BSL Foundation affiliated itself as an agency foundation of a larger foundation, first the Minnesota Foundation and more recently (2017), the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation.
This affiliation allowed the BSL Foundation to house two funds within their agent foundation, an Operating Fund, and an Endowment Fund. All contributions received by the BSL Foundation are directed to the respective fund dependent on the donor’s intent. The Endowment Fund is invested and managed by investment professionals hired by the agent foundation. Investment earnings can be transferred, if needed, to the Operating Fund to be used for grants to local community projects and other non-profit programs in the Big Sandy Lake community. If excess funds exist in the Operating Fund at year-end, the remainder is transferred to the Endowment Fund. These annual grants are approved based on the Foundation’s legal procedures--the Bylaws of the Foundation.
In 2016, the name of BSL Foundation was changed to the McGregor Lakes Area Foundation (‘MLAF”) to convey a broader purpose and a larger service area that is geographically similar to the McGregor School District with boundaries of Jacobson to the north, Wright to the east, McGrath to the south and Hwy 169 to the west. The name change also allowed the Foundation to differentiate itself from The Big Sandy Lake Association (‘BSLA”) which is a very important and successful lake management entity but yet continue to support the BSLA in its non-profit endeavors, if needed. A better understanding of the purpose of the Big Sandy Lake Association and the McGregor Lakes Area Foundation has opened greater opportunities for residents and landowners of the area to community activities of a non-profit nature.
The vision of McGregor Lakes Area Foundation founders continues today as the Endowment Fund grows from new contributions and investment earnings. Many of the activities and non-profit programs in a community rely on continued funding. At a minimum the MLAF will invest in the McGregor community to the extent of its invested profits. With a larger Endowment Fund there are more resources, and the fund can perpetually invest in the community.