Minnesota’s wealthiest man is starting to think about his legacy and what he will leave behind.
Recently in Mankato, Glen Taylor the founder and owner of Minnesota-based Taylor Corporation, one of the largest graphic communication companies in the United States established a charitable legacy and announced a $172 million donation to benefit families in southern and rural Minnesota, as well as communities in rural Iowa.
“The good people of this region have been crucial to my personal growth and success of my businesses,” Taylor said in a statement. “It brings me such joy to be in a position where I can give back some of what I have received.”
Before becoming a billionaire businessman, state senator and owner of the Timberwolves and Lynx, Taylor grew up about 50 miles west of Mankato on a dairy farm in Comfrey.
“My heart has always been with the children and families of southern Minnesota,” said Taylor. “I grew up on a small farm not far from here during some very lean times and I carry those memories with me to this day. I hope to make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of future generations by working in partnership with these amazing nonprofit organizations.”
Taylor has formed The Taylor Family Farms Foundation.
Taylor is donating $172 million worth of parcels of farmland located in both Minnesota and Iowa.
According to the foundation, income generated by the farmland will be distributed to three partner foundations for continuous reinvestment in the region where Taylor grew up, raised his family, built businesses, and still employs thousands of people.
“I always thought I’d work hard, make a bunch of money and when I die, give it to a bunch of things. Then somebody said to me, “Why are you waiting until you die? If you’ve got the money, do it when you’re alive so you can see who you’re benefiting,'” Taylor said. “We don’t know where the future is going and where the needs are going to be, so let’s diversify the opinions and knowledge as much as we can.”
The three partner foundations are the Mankato Area Foundation, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.
“Our organizations will be tasked with making a difference in our rural communities, with a focus on environmental sustainability, education and needs of family and children to name a few,” said Nancy Zallek, president and CEO of the Mankato Area Foundation.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside our foundation partners in realizing Glen’s vision for southern Minnesota,” said Dr. Eric Jolly, president and CEO of SPMF. “I admire and celebrate Glen’s decision to give back to a place that he deeply loves. His generosity will not only leave a profound impact on generations in the region, but it will also reverberate throughout the state of Minnesota and beyond. What’s more, his bold and entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy provides a blueprint that will undoubtedly inspire the generosity of others.”
Taylor says donating the land was the easy part. Finding the right stewards for the foundation — and his legacy — was more challenging.
“You need wise people to disperse that money to the right people to really get the impact. So, the $175 million, if used wrongly, might get you a value of $10 million. But used wisely, it might be a billion,” he said.
According to the foundation, the farmland will be donated before the end of 2023. The first disbursement of proceeds to the three partnering nonprofit organizations is expected to occur during late 2024.