Elks Lodge/Mankato Area Foundation

Mankato Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Todd Tanhoff (right) meets with Mankato Area Foundation CEO and President Nancy Zallek after the fraternal organization established a permanent endowment through the foundation. The fund will receive up to $100,000 in matching funds after an anonymous donor stepped forward. Photo courtesy of the Mankato Elks Lodge

MANKATO — An anonymous donation will help the Mankato Elks Lodge expand its charitable giving.

The fraternal organization recently established the Elks Charitable Fund with the Mankato Area Foundation after the donor pledged up to $100,000 in matching funds.

Elks Exalted Ruler Todd Tanhoff said he’s hopeful the matching sum can be raised in short order. Much of the organization’s charitable giving goes toward programs for youth and veterans.

“The purpose of this is so our Elks’ mission of helping at-risk youth and veterans in our southern Minnesota area lives in perpetuity,” he said.

The Elks already contributed to the fund from proceeds obtained in the sale of its lodge. The money was previously stored in a bank account, but donations to it weren’t tax deductible, Tanhoff said.

The fund through the Mankato Area Foundation changes that, potentially incentivizing more donors. The foundation will administer the funds, aid in fundraising and connect the Elks to charitable projects in the community, said Nancy Zallek, president and CEO at the Mankato Area Foundation.

“The Elks Lodge has been charitable for a long time, but they wanted to formalize it,” she said.

The permanent endowment will be donor-advised, meaning the Elks Lodge can tell the foundation how they want the grants to be used. Tanhoff said between the money already in the fund, the anonymous pledge and the $100,000 to be raised in matching funds, the endowment represents a major boost to the organization’s charitable capacity.

The Elks organize Thanksgiving and Christmas programs every year, distribute scholarships and contribute to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans among other causes. Tanhoff said charitable giving like that will continue, while the new endowment will expand and open up other opportunities to give.

“If it all gets matched, we’ll be able to donate between $14,000 and $15,000 per year,” he said.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArolaMFP.

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