You’ve probably heard this before: You’re at an event, a hat gets passed around, everyone throws in some money, and voila, you’re all making a contribution to a worthy cause.
That same scenario describes the relatively humble beginnings of the Aggie Foundation. A group of people living around Velva, ND wanted to do some good in their community by creating a scholarship for a graduating senior who excelled in science. They would meet, pass around a hat, and the scholarship was funded.
But after the foundation became a 501c3 in 2012, they started to grow and so did their charitable network. Slowly, they started distributing raised funds to other organizations in the community.
“Our model really became what it is to this day, support good organizations, doing good things in the cities they are in,” explains Aggie Foundation President Terry Peterson.
Things really began to change for the foundation when they acquired a gaming license three years ago.
“As a gaming organization, we are different. We put it back into the community as fast as we can. We give away 100% of the trust,” said Peterson. “We want to get these funds out to the communities across North Dakota; especially rural communities that know what is best in their communities. We want to support them and their mission. It does no good sitting in our trust account.”
Already this year, by the end of February 2023, the Aggie Foundation has donated nearly $132,000 to more than 40 organizations. This list includes:
$10,000 to the Jeremiah Program in Fargo, made possible by their partnership with O'Clevy's
$15,000 to the Surrey Volunteer Fire Department for needed equipment for firefighters, made possible by their partnership with Big Dog Saloon
$5,000 to Hillsboro Shooting Sports to help organize and host youth trap shooting events, made possible by their partnership with Tap That.
“When we go out into these communities, they may not have a local charitable gaming organization, so we make sure the funds stay there. We want to make sure we help those smaller communities,” said Peterson.
As for the scholarship that started it all, Peterson says, “It’s been a lot easier since we don’t have to pass the hat.”