Local philanthropists recognized at annual awards luncheon

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Tuesday marks National Philanthropy Day and a local chapter is recognizing community members who make a significant impact.

The Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals held its annual awards luncheon at Western Technical College’s Lunda Center on Tuesday.

The chapter’s board named five different award winners.

The chapter president says philanthropy is a crucial effort to fill in community gaps.

“There are people who are struggling in our community, and philanthropy gives the opportunity for generous folks to give of themselves,” said AFP chapter president Taylor Wilmoth.

“It’s caring about the lives of others,” said Jonah Larson, a 14-year-old philanthropist. “If you have the means to help others and provide them with something, whether it’s service or monetary funds or anything of the sort, it’s best that you do it.”

This year’s award recipients are below:

● Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Pat Ruda

● Outstanding Philanthropists: Ron & Jane Rada

● Outstanding Philanthropic Organization: Wieser Brothers

● Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy: Jonah Larson

● President’s Award: Mandy Hansel

The Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter includes more than 65 members representing for-profit and nonprofit regional organizations.