Northfield SHAREs Announces its First Million Dollar Fund

NORTHFIELD, MINN. (April 25, 2018) – Northfield Shares, a community foundation centered on philanthropy, volunteerism and collaborative leadership, announced that the Engeseth-Rinde Restoration Fund has become the organization’s first $1 million fund. The growth was due in large part to a generous additional contribution from Don Nelson, who established the endowed donor advised fund in 2016.

“Northfield Shares is honored to twice be the recipient of Don Nelson’s generosity,” says Mike Krance, Northfield Shares executive director. “Don has had a vision for his philanthropic and environmental legacies, and it’s a privilege to help him fulfill that vision. His generosity will help provide for native prairie restoration and land stewardship in our area for many years to come.”

In establishing the fund, Nelson worked with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Northfield Shares to arrange the sale of his property, the Engeseth-Rinde Farm. Nelson sold the farm to the DNR and donated the proceeds to Northfield Shares to create an endowment that would support restoration, research and education activities.

When originally asked about this donation, Nelson said, “I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I visited this farm often. I wanted to keep the farm in the family. Since there is no one in my family who would like to farm the land, I had to find another way to protect it. Selling the land to the DNR was the best way to make sure that the land would be protected.”

The fund was named after Nelson’s ancestors who originally owned the land, Hans and Randi Rinde and Anders and Helena (Rinde) Engeseth. Distributions​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Fund​ ​will​ ​be​ ​used​ ​primarily​ ​for​ ​the​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​restoration,​ ​research,​ ​silviculture and​ ​related​ ​educational​ ​activities​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Engeseth-Rinde​ ​Unit​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Prairie​ ​Creek​ ​Wildlife​ ​Management Area. Secondarily, disbursements​ ​from​ ​the​ ​fund​ ​will be​ ​used​ ​for the​ ​restoration,​ ​research, silviculture​ ​and​ ​related​ ​educational​ ​activities​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​units​ ​of​ ​Prairie​ ​Creek​ ​Wildlife​ ​Management Area​ ​and​ ​other​ ​properties​ ​within​ ​a​ ​defined​ ​corridor​ ​between​ ​Nerstrand​ ​and​ ​Dennison,​ ​Minnesota.​ ​Currently,​the​ ​only​ ​other​ ​unit​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Prairie​ ​Creek​ ​Wildlife​ ​Management​ ​Area​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Koester Prairie​ ​Unit. Over the coming years, the current crops and woods will gradually return to prairie, wetland and oak savanna as restoration activities supported by the Engeseth-Rinde Restoration Fund take effect.

The endowment is technically a donor advised fund because it has an advisory committee that makes distribution recommendations to Northfield Shares. The committee is comprised of​ ​representatives​ ​of​ ​each​ ​of the​ ​following​ ​groups: the​ ​Don ​Nelson​ ​Family, Minnesota​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Natural​ ​Resources, St.​​Olaf​ ​College, Carleton​ ​College, Friends​ ​of​ ​Prairie​ ​Creek​ ​Wildlife​ ​Management Area and Northfield​ ​Shares. The​ ​Committee​ ​may​ ​invite​ ​members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​public​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​goals​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fund to​ ​attend​ ​and​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​its​ ​meetings.

According to Dave Kuhnau, chair of the Engeseth-Rinde Advisory Committee, the group will be making its first grant recommendations this year and will roll out a formal grant application process in September. “Our goals as the Advisory Committee are to raise awareness of the opportunity for individuals and local organizations to get involved with habitat restoration, science and education and support those activities through this wonderful legacy fund that Don Nelson has established,” he says. “It is very exciting to partner with Don and Northfield Shares to build a legacy of environmental stewardship that will be an example for future generations.”

Northfield Shares is the Northfield area’s community foundation founded to advance philanthropy, inspire volunteerism and promote collaborative leadership. The organization was formed when 5th Bridge and Northfield Area Foundation merged in 2014. For more information about Northfield Shares, visit