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About the Oakes Area Community Foundation

Established in 1998 by a grant from Mr. Frank Larson, the Oakes Area Community Foundation is a permanent endowment fund that can support charitable projects in the Oakes area for years to come. Earnings from the fund are given as grants to support nonprofit projects or programs in the area that work to improve our community and quality of life. 

The Oakes Area Community Foundation is managed locally by a group of volunteer citizens whose primary activities are building the fund and recommending grants each year.

Local Advisory Committee

John Zetocha, Chair
Ron Goodman
Toni Ptacek
Anna Sell
Rebecca Undem
Denise Wagner


John Zetocha
c/o Starion Bank
PO Box 571
Oakes, ND 58474

(701) 742-2112

Email John

or contact Amy at the North Dakota Community Foundation .

Annual Reports




Active Arts - Sue German & Lacy Andersen

GST - Bailey Adams

The Oakes Area Community Foundation has awarded almost $194,797 in 122 grants since its inception in 1998. Recent grant awards are listed below.

Grants Awarded in  2023

  • Active Arts Club Inc - $3,000 Oakes Main Street Park Project
  • Dickey County Master Gardeners - $2,000 Healing Garden
  • Growing Small Towns -
    • $5,955 Oakes Community Park landscaping, seating and stage
    • $3,000 Interactive Art Class Series
  • Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America Inc - $625 J. Paul Klinger, Eagle Scout park sign
  • Oakes Archery Club - $990 arrows
  • Oakes Boy Scouts - $2,000 new Christmas Decorations for the Oakes city light posts
  • Oakes Public School for Oakes Golf Club - $4,000 Bridges repair
  • Oakes Public School - $2,000 Repair of the ND Governor's Band sign, on Hwy 1 south of Oakes
  • Tiny Tornadoes - $2,000 building facade removal and brick repair

Grants Awarded in 2022

  • Oakes Fire District - $6,657 for their new building
  • Growing Small Towns - $3,000 for a Nonprofit Bootcamp for Chamber Organizations
  • Dickey County Master Gardeners - $2,500 for the Healing Garden
  • Active Arts Club Inc - $2,400 for their partnership with Growing Small Towns
  • BIO Girls - $2,110 for their 2023 program
  • Oakes Golden Age Club - $2,000 to replace toilets in the men's & women's bathrooms
  • St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church - $1,500 for the St. Charles renovation project
  • Oakes Boy Scouts - $1,500 for honoring veterans at Oakes Cemetery
  • Tiny Tornadoes - $1,130 for flooring replacement

Grants Awarded in 2021

  • Dickey County Master Gardeners - $3,500 Healing Garden
  • Growing Small Towns - $1,000 New Dickey County BIO Girls Site
  • Oakes Girl Scout Troop 30010 - $5,135 Park Equipment Hockenberry Park
  • SRCTS DECA - $7,500 Keep the Blind in Mind
  • Tiny Tornadoes - $1,290 Fridge Replacement

Grants Awarded in 2020

  • Growing Small Towns - $5,000 toward Main Street Building Renovation project 
  • Bear Creek Roughriders - $1,784 to install electricity and lights to the west side of BCR Arena
  • Hospice of the Red River Valley - $1,500 to support Bereavement services 
  • Dickey County Master Gardeners - $1,500 to construct a pergola in the Healing Garden
  • Oakes Golden Age Club - $1,500 to paint the dining room and bathrooms and replace vinyl baseboard at the Oakes Senior Center
  • SRCTC DECA - $750 to purchase School Based Enterprise Equipment
  • Tiny Tornadoes Daycare - $2,284 for renovations/repairs to the Daycare Kitchen

Grants Awarded in 2019

  • CHI Oakes Hospital Foundation - $500 for Community Healthcare Education
  • Dickey County Master Gardeners - $1,000 toward a Healing Garden
  • Friends of Fine Arts and Academics - $1,500 to purchase acoustical shells for Oakes Public School Band and Choir
  • Guelph Community Development Association, Inc - $1,000 to replace broken windows
  • Hospice of the Red River Valley - $1,000 to support bereavement services for the Oakes area
  • Oakes Area Chamber of Commerce - $1,500 for Garland and Wreaths for Main Ave
  • Oakes Girl Scout Troop 30010 - $3,000 to support Park Renovation Gold Projects for Megan Rodine and Aubrei Steiner 
  • Oakes Golf Club - $2,757 for bridge and irrigation enhancements
  • Oakes/Sargent Central/Ellendale FFA - $1,000 for High Tunnels in Education program
  • Tiny Tornadoes Daycare - $1,000 to purchase individual cubbies for personal belongings

Apply for a Grant from the Oakes Area Community Foundation

  • Grants shall be awarded to organizations and/or projects within the city of Oakes and a 25 mile radius around the city.
  • Generally, grants shall not exceed $1,000
  • Grants to religious organizations shall be limited to those activities which are non-denominational and serve the entire community.
  • According to IRS guidelines, the Oakes Area Community Foundation shall not make grants to individuals. Organizations receiving a grant must be nonprofit or a government entity, such as a school or park district.
  • The Oakes Area Community Foundation will accept grant applications in the fall of each year.

In funding decisions, the Advisory Committee will consider:

  • Each project on the merits of the project
  • Organizational management and integrity
  • Level of local involvement and community support, to include fundraising
  • Degree to which the organization can demonstrate successful attempts to leverage monies through other granting agencies or programs
  • The number of residents served and the overall impact on the community
  • Innovative solutions or a new approach to an existing or recurring problem
  • Degree to which the Oakes Area Community Foundation grant will affect the success of the projec

Deadline: October 31

New for 2019 and Beyond:

We made it easy for you to apply online for a grant!

Step 1 - Review

Review the grant guidelines above to make sure your organization qualifies.

Step 2 - Register

Create an account on our Grants Portal. You will need your organization’s name, EIN, and executive officer's name. Be sure to write down your user name (email address) and password.

Step 3 – Complete Your Application

After registering or logging in, you will arrive at the application section. Click “Apply” to the right of the grant program to which you wish to apply. You will be able to save your application and return later to complete it.

Click here for more detailed instructions and tips for using our online grant system.

The North Dakota Community Foundation also administers the following funds in the Oakes area:

Leo Billey Memorial Scholarship
The Leo Billey Scholarship Fund was established with a gift from the estate of Leo Billey who passed away in 2005. Leo Billey farmed near Ellendale in Dickey County. He left his real estate to establish this fund to assist students from Oakes and Ellendale High Schools to pursue higher education.

Ray & Hazel Wuolu Memorial Scholarship
Established by the family of Ray & Hazel Wuolu in 2011. This fund will provide a scholarship to a deserving Oakes High School Graduate.

Brian Meehl Memorial Scholarship Fund
This fund was established in 2011 by the Family of Brian Meehl to provide assistance to deserving student from Oakes Public Schools. 

Rick & Nancy Warner Bigler Scholarship Fund
This fund was established in 2011 to provide scholarship assistance to students from the Oakes Area. The Rick and Nancy Warner Bigler Scholarship is to be awarded annually to an Oakes High School Senior in good standing to assist the recipient with the expenses related to a higher education experience. 

Max Zelenak Scholarship Fund
Established in 2002 to provide scholarship assistance to an eligible Oakes, ND high school senior.

First State Bank of ND Scholarship Fund
Established in 2006 to provide scholarship assistance to eligible Oakes, ND high school seniors.

Oakes VFW Scholarship Fund
Established in 2009 by the Oakes VFW Club to provide scholarship assistance to eligible Oakes, ND high school seniors.

Dickey County Disaster Relief Fund
This fund was established to assist with the long term disaster needs of Dickey County.

Oakes Area Foundation Billboard Fund
Established in 2000 to support the Billboard project in Oakes

Oakes Community Non-Endowment Fund
Established in 1998 to support Oakes area grants

Oakes Public School Endowment Fund
Established in 1999 to benefit the Oakes Public School system.

Oakes Public Schools Music Booster Fund
Established in 2002 to provide assistance to solely benefit band programs at the Oakes Public Schools.

Oakes School Playground Non-Endowment Fund
Established in 2000 to support the Playground project at Oakes School

Oakes Swimming Pool Non-Endowment Fund
Established in 2000 to support the Oakes Swimming Pool

Plan Your Legacy

Making a lasting difference in our community or for future generations may be easier than you realize.  With very simple language in your will or trust, you can help the Oakes Area Community Foundation (OACF) continue to support important projects and programs in our area forever.

Gifts to the OACF are carefully invested by our partner foundation - the North Dakota Community Foundation - to generate a  permanent source of charitable income.

If you have children or other relatives, you can leave a portion of your estate to them and a percentage to the OACF. Doing so provides for your heirs while honoring your charitable values.

Brothers Russell and Dale Brown left gifts to the communities of Lisbon and Milnor, ND, in their estate plans.

Getting Started

1.  Download our free Estate Planning Guide - it contains helpful information and things to consider as you develop your own unique plan.

2.  Reach out to an Oakes Area Community Foundation committee member to learn more about the charities and needs in our area.

3.  Consider discussing (confidentially) your vision with our NDCF gift planner Amy Stromsodt.  She has many years of experience helping donors create their charitable vision and better prepare for their discussions with financial planners. Amy's cell is 701-741-3193 or you can email her at

4.  Contact your professional advisors (financial planner, attorney and/or accountant) and ask for help in establishing a charitable gift to our foundation.

5.  Make sure your will or living trust is up-to-date and reflects your charitable goals.

6.  Consider notifying the charitable organizations about the gift you plan to leave them.  They will appreciate your generosity and will want to know what you’d like them to do with your eventual gift if it isn't clear.

Language for Your Will or Living Trust

Susanne Mattheis wished to support several different charitable organizations in Bismarck after she passed. NDCF helped her craft a plan that accomplished her charitable goals and provided long-term support to the Public Library, Symphony Orchestra, and five other local entities.

If you would like to include the Oakes Area Community Foundation in your will, here is some sample language to consider:

“I give and bequeath to the North Dakota Community Foundation (Tax ID Number 45-0336015), a qualified charitable organization under IRS 501(c)(3), located in Bismarck, North Dakota, ___________ (a percentage of the estate, specific dollar amount, or remainder of estate) for the Oakes Area Community Foundation, a permanent component of the North Dakota Community Foundation.”

*  Be sure to contact your legal advisor.


There are many other ways to make a deferred gift to your community, including

  • Making NDCF (and your specific community fund) the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, IRA, 401K, or commercial annuity
  • Establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity with NDCF
  • Other more sophisticated tools, depending on your unique situation

To investigate options and learn more about how other North Dakotans have given back, visit our planned giving website at