The HLOCF is a non-profit, volunteer organization. Our mission is to solicit funds and award grants that enrich the communities of Heron Lake and Okabena by promoting education and opportunities to create a legacy of pride and partnership. Our annual fundraising efforts include a Silent Auction, Golf Classic and Dinner Theatre. We also accept other gifts and donations. Because of our relationship with SWIF, donations are tax deductible.

SWIF provides the administrative 501(c)(3) infrastructure to the HLOCF. It also provides ongoing professional and technical support in areas such as fundraising, strategic planning, marketing, public relations and grant making.

Our endowment is a fund that is kept in perpetuity to provide ongoing revenue generated by the investment of principal. Or more simply put, a savings account. The principal is invested and the income is distributed to qualifying projects within the Heron Lake and Okabena communities. The endowment fund is a long-term strategy—it provides dollars now and in the future.


Great things have happened since the Heron Lake-Okabena Community Foundation (HLOCF) was organized in 2001.

Through fundraising events, memorials and other donations, we met our goal of raising $25,000 in 2004. Our partner, the Southwest Initiative Foundation matched these local gifts, increasing the size of our endowment fund to $50,000. We immediately started accepting grant applications from local organizations and reinvesting in our community.


Eighteen organizations have benefited from grants that have totaled over $52,000. Grant awards are announced at the Silent Auction each spring. The application deadline is January 15th of each year.


The HLO Community Foundation is organized as an affiliate of the Southwest Initiative Foundation.

Our partner, the Southwest Initiative Foundation, provides administrative support through gift processing and receipting, grant processing, investment management, and the 501(c)(3) public charity infrastructure necessary for your gifts to receive the highest possible charitable tax deduction. We also have access to technical and professional support from Southwest Initiative Foundation in areas such as strategic planning, board development, fundraising, marketing and public relations, and grantmaking.

In return, we have established an advisory board to lead the Benson Area Community Foundation, raise funds to support our vision, coordinate a grant process and educate the community. We are in the driver’s seat, with Southwest Initiative Foundation supporting us every step of the way.

For more information about the Southwest Initiative Foundation, click here.