“The purpose off the Winona Foundation is to contribute to the cultural, historical and educational heritage of Winona, Minnesota. Foundation funds will be used to conserve or enlarge upon existing organizations and programs to foster innovative projects with this heritage in mind”.
2017 grantees announced
Congratulations to the ten organizations which have been awarded grants for the 2017 year.
Click "Grantees" for more information.
2018 granting will begin Jan 1 2018. Your grant request form will be on this page at that time.
Thank you to everyone involved in this process: to all the deserving applicants, to the family who give so generously and to our hard working Winona Foundation Board!
Winona Library Celebrates William Laird’s Legacy
On August 12th the Winona Public Library held a sold out celebration of the 1899 gift to the city of the beautiful Winona Public Library building. The benefactor was none other than William H. Laird, one of the founders of the Laird Norton Company.
As a tribute the library has commissioned, with the help of the Winona Foundation, a book describing the history of the library called “Lairds Library Legacy”. The celebration was an opportunity for the author, Winona historian Greg Gaut, to share some of the stories of the libraries creation.
The first Winona Public Library was started in 1886 but proved so popular that its small home was quickly overcrowded. Laird, who was then doing rather well operating one of the biggest lumber companies in the country with his cousins Mathew and James Norton, decided he would personally build and gift a new library to the town. Spending what would be the equivalent of seven million dollars today he built a beautiful building that to this day still houses the Library and it’s operations. It is to this day one of the cities most ornate buildings, wrapped in Bedford limestone, with marble columns, a bronze dome, intricate woodwork, unique glass floors and ceilings and a Greek goddess wrought in marble. The Winona Public Library is one of the first buildings in Winona to be named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The event was wildly successful with music, tours and even included an actor impersonating William Laird.
The book has been released and is available at the Winona Public Library.
The Winona Foundation is pleased to have made this book possible and will alert the family when it is off the press.
The Winona Foundation continues to be active in and around the beautiful "island" city of Winona.