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Profinium foundation turning dreams into reality

During this season of giving, Profinium has set a high standard.

Through its Achieving Dreams Together program, the local financial institution partners with area businesses to help individuals and families in need. This year marks the fourth for the program, which is run under the umbrella of the Profinium Dreams Foundation, and affects people in areas where Profinium has offices: Fairmont, Truman, Owatonna and Mankato.

The recipients are selected from nominations submitted through the program’s website, www.profinium.com/giving. Nominations can be submitted online, or the form can be downloaded and printed out for submission. The deadline for nominations for this year’s gifts is Sunday.

“Last year, we went through over 250 nominations of people in need of those life changing moments, and it’s difficult when we have to pick a small number of them,” said Karen Legault, who serves on the program’s board. “There’s also the emotional piece that goes with it, when we get to tell the nominee what we’re doing. It is the most energizing thing.”

The gifts requested have been varied in cost and content, but all have created what Profinium calls “pivotal, life-changing moments.”

“The first one we ever did was something that a lot of us take for granted,” said Jeremiah Gaul, who serves on the program’s board and helped start the Dreams program. “Someone had just had surgery and could no longer turn her head. This prevented her from driving. We provided a backup camera for her car that played directly into her phone. Because of this simple thing, she was able to continue driving.”

In the program’s second year, a catered Christmas dinner was provided to a family whose mother had just died. Like many families, the mother was the heart of the family, the one to spearhead the family holiday, prepare the food and plan the gathering.

“We partnered with Hy-Vee to provide a Christmas dinner so all the family had to do was show up and share good memories,” Gaul said.

“There’s one that continues to resonate with me,” said board member Ian Bents, and he told of a large family that included a child with leukemia. The family did not have furniture that would allow them to all congregate together, so Achieving Dreams Together provided a large sofa.

“There was a picture with all the kids on the same couch, and you could just see how meaningful that was for them. That was pretty awesome, but it was something as simple as furniture,” Bents said.

The 2018 round of giving included profoundly heartwarming endowments, including hearing aids for an infant and a trip to Paris for a mother with terminal cancer and her 16-year-old daughter.

“People can nominate their friends, family, co-workers,” Legault said. “After the deadline, we have the nominating committee review all of the submissions and see how many we can do this year. Last year, we did 25 ‘dreams’ in three weeks.”

“I can’t imagine having to sort through all the nominations. What an emotional thing that must be,” said Fred C. Krahmer, Profinium board member.

“Beyond the dollars, the amount of volunteer time reviewing the applications, approving them and administering them is tremendous, so a lot of credit goes to our employees for that,” said Fred W. Krahmer, Profinium board member.

He added that the foundation also helps its 36 business partners since its not-for-profit status makes all cash and/or material contributions deductible.

The idea for the Achieving Dreams Together stemmed from a bank in Washington state that had a similar philanthropic program. Profinium kicked off its efforts in 2016. Two years later, the Profinium Dreams Foundation was established to expand the company’s charitable profile to other areas.

“We hope this inspires other entities in the community to give back and to be charitable and identify people in need,” Bents said. “That is the culture we try to promote at Profinium. That’s the foundation that works in programs like this.”

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