Historic pledge gift continues after donating $30,000 over last 3 years


AgStar Fund for Rural America announced today it will make an ongoing commitment to donate $10,000 annually to The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned cancer research.

While the pledge will be evaluated annually, AgStar hopes to inspire other organizations to do the same. AgStar has grown its support because of The Hormel Institute’s groundbreaking, food-based cancer research as well as that the Institute provides a positive economic impact in rural Minnesota by providing a growing number of bioscience jobs.

John Monson, chair of the AgStar Fund Board of Trustees, said AgStar is honored to provide financial support for The Hormel Institute.

“A donation like this is unique for AgStar,” Monson said, “as it will provide continuing, annual support for The Hormel Institute’s important work. Not only does the Institute help further cancer prevention and cures, but it brings new jobs to rural Minnesota and shines a spotlight on how our food, and where it comes from, impacts everyone’s health.”

AgStar’s annual donation also will require a matching gift each year made in support of the cancer research conducted at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota in Austin.

Since 2001, AgStar has donated more than $4 million to organizations in rural communities that work to improve quality of life through education, technology or the environment. The AgStar Fund is a corporate giving program of AgStar Financial Services, based in Mankato, Minn., with a mission to enhance the quality of life and future opportunities for rural residents and their communities.

In 2013, AgStar completed a three-year pledge to provide $10,000 yearly to The Hormel Institute for cancer research. When that $30,000 commitment began, the gift was AgStar’s first donation ever made since its inception in 2001 to specifically support cancer research.

On Friday, AgStar leaders announced they will continue that annual contribution in perpetuity.

Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute, expressed deep gratitude for AgStar’s ongoing trust in the Institute’s cancer research and commitment toward furthering progress in the fight against the devastating disease.

“All of us at The Hormel Institute are highly grateful to have been designated as the recipients of such a significant, annual gift from our friends and partners at AgStar,” Dong said. “Especially given today’s difficult funding environment for medical research, this gift will provide vital funds to help us further progress in making discoveries that lead to cancer prevention and control.”

As with all donations to The Hormel Institute, 100 percent of AgStar’s gift will directly fund cancer research at the Institute.

Started in 1942 by Jay C. Hormel, The Hormel Institute has had strong research connections with agriculture since its inception. Today, The Hormel Institute is comprised of a group of highly successful medical scientists who are focused on determining the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer development to develop new anti-cancer agents. In July 2014, The Hormel Institute will begin construction on a major expansion that will about double its size, adding 20 state-of-the-art laboratories and better space for its International Center of Research Technology. About 120 new faculty and staff jobs will be added over the next few years, growing The Hormel Institute to about 250 employees.

AgStar Financial Services is a cooperative owned by its client-stockholders. AgStar provides a broad range of financial services and business tools for agricultural and rural clients in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. As one of the larger Farm Credit associations in the nation, AgStar serves more than 23,000 clients and manages almost $8 billion in loan and lease assets. With more than 610 team members, AgStar also has a national presence in the dairy, swine and renewable energy industries.