The Red Wing Shoe Company Foundation was created in 1955, the same year in which Minnesota passed a law providing the framework for corporate foundations. The first gift was $6,000 to the Red Wing YMCA, for an addition to their building, making the YMCA the foundation’s longest ongoing partner. Since 1955 the foundation has given more than $2,000,000 to the YMCA, strongly supporting the positive work it does in the Red Wing community.
In addition to the strong partnership with the YMCA, the Foundation has had a consistent, significant partnership with the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center (ELC) and the T.B. Sheldon Auditorium.
The ELC was founded in 1970 with an $8,000 grant from the RWSF. The foundation’s strong commitment to youth, education and our rich natural environment is uniquely expressed in the ELC and since its inception the organization has received nearly $6,000,000 in direct support from the foundation.
The Sheldon Auditorium enriches the Red Wing community culturally and provides a multitude of educational opportunities for our youth. The foundation’s financial support of this organization has exceeded $1,500,000.
In addition to these significant partners, the foundation has supported hundreds or nonprofit organizations, events and projects, primarily in the greater Red Wing Area. The foundation has also supported nonprofits in many other communities in which our employees live or work, especially the United Way or organizations that enhance our ability to experience our natural environment.
In 2002, the RWSF initiated its Partners in Sharing Program, to match employee giving. The Foundation’s philosophy of matching gifts is that we have a responsibility to recognize and support our employees in their efforts to improve their communities and the lives of others.
Employees, retirees and board members of Red Wing Shoe, S.B. Foot Tanning and the St. James Hotel are eligible to participate and submit requests to match donations they have made to nonprofit organizations. In 2011, a new option was added which allows volunteer hours to qualifying organizations be matched with monetary gifts from the Foundation.