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Communities that KARE: SFM Foundation

The local nonprofit foundation awards scholarships to bright students whose families have experienced a workplace tragedy.

COTTAGE GROVE, Minnesota — "They're not just a foundation that gives you money, they're people that truly care about you as people and families."  

Haley Rinzel and her brother, Mason, had their lives changed by the SFM Foundation, a locally-based nonprofit. It focuses on helping families burdened by workplace accidents. The foundation awards post-secondary scholarships from $1,000 to $10,000 per year, for up to five years. 

"I was reading through all these different scholarships and I was like, 'Gee this one sounds awfully applicable to me and my family.'" recalled Haley.

Haley's father Greg, a Cottage Grove police officer, was injured in the line of duty.

"I gave chase as the suspect was attempting to carjack another car. One of our squad cars came around the corner, avoided missing another person that was in the street and incidentally struck me as I was crossing over the sidewalk area," explained Officer Rinzel. 

Just as Officer Rinzel pushed himself to recover, Haley pushed herself to ease the financial burden of college for her family. 

"The Rinzel family is just one example of some really great families that we're able to make a difference for in their lives," said Debra Zorn, the SFM Foundation's scholarship director.

Zorn says since 2008, the foundation has awarded 174 scholarships totaling $2.4 million to deserving students.

"I think for me personally, that has been the most rewarding part of being part of the SFM Foundation. [It] is really understanding their stories and wow, some stories of resilience. It's taught me that families can get through really difficult things and they come out shining on the other side of things," explained Zorn.

Haley has already graduated, but Mason says he's able to shine in school without so much financial stress, "I am able to take as many credits as I can without working and just, the scholarship has helped me a lot." 

Virtual fundraiser planned for Nov. 9-13:

Prior to 2020, the SFM Foundation, a Kids’ Chance affiliate, hosted multiple fundraising events a year to fund scholarships. However, due to COVID-19, they’ve adapted by hosting virtual events and continuing their personal outreach to sponsors and donors to help support their scholarship fund.  

You can support the SFM Foundation by attending their virtual fall fundraising event November 9-13, 2020. Details are available at the SFM Foundation website. All proceeds fund SFM Foundation scholarships. 

You can also make a donation online


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