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Family Advocacy center gets $50K mystery donation

BEMIDJI -- The Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota received a $50,000 donation earlier this spring -- and director Aria Trudeau has no idea who to thank.

"This is off the charts," she said of the donation. "It made my heart swell."

The Bemidji-based center, which cares for child victims of physical and sexual abuse, received a letter in late April signed simply "A Member of the Local Community."

The donation is three times more than the center's average yearly donation total and five times more than the highest amount the unknown philanthropist said they had ever donated to any cause before.

"My dream is that every child will be treated well and advocacy centers will no longer be needed," the mystery donor wrote. "Until that time, please continue providing kids and teens a safe place during a scary time in their lives."

Trudeau said not only was the letter anonymous, but the donor attached a $50,000 check routed through a local credit union in a way that left the donor's identity a complete mystery to the center.

However, the donor made clear in the letter they consider the money to be seed funding for the center to get even more resources.

"I would like to see this donation multiplied by 10 or even 100," the mystery donor wrote. "Use this money to dream, plan, set goals and then go after funding sources."

Trudeau says the center has not yet earmarked the donation for a specific use, but it will likely go toward day-to-day operations rather than a potential new program.

"We don't have any plans to expand," she said. "We do, however, have plans to use it to keep the center alive and well."

Trudeau said the number of children served by FAC has roughly doubled since last year, so the donation will help the center keep pace with the added volume of clients.

She added that all donations, no matter what the size, make a difference to the center since its funding relies on individual donations and grants.

"Whether somebody donates five bucks or they donate $50,000, it's huge," she said.

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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