Much like how the bluffs of the area are constant, while the river is ever-changing, our foundation has been an unwavering presence in the area, even as the community grows and changes around us. We believe that just one single act can make all the difference. And if we all do our part, and support those around us with a sense of inclusivity and equity, those acts will add up to a more positive quality of life in our community.
Back in the late 1980’s Ora Jones and his son, Scott Jones, were taken by a new concept in philanthropy called the donor advised fund. They were both serving on the board of the Red Wing Area Fund, having been asked by its chair, W.D. Sweasy, to serve. The Red Wing Area Fund was organized as a donor advised fund of The Saint Paul Foundation. After contacting The Saint Paul Foundation, Ora & Barbara Jones and Scott & Anne Jones formed The Jones Family Foundation as a donor advised fund of The Saint Paul Foundation in October 1988.
From its small beginnings, The Jones Family Foundation has grown to be a significant and perpetual source of charitable capital serving the Red Wing area. The family’s philosophy has been, “We have had the good fortune of providing banking services to Red Wing and other parts of Minnesota. It has provided us with a good life, but we are only temporary custodians of these resources. We are obligated to reinvest our good fortune back in the community so that in the end we will have given much more to the community than it has given us.” To that end, the estates of all four Joneses have either already, or will eventually, flow to the Foundation.
The Jones Family understood early on that in order to carry out and expand its mission they would need a high quality Board of Directors. Today, a board of eleven members in addition to the two remaining Joneses lead the foundation setting direction, policy and priorities that will serve the community well in perpetuity. In addition, The Jones Family Foundation has become a Supporting Organization of The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, becoming its own 501(c)(3) organization.
Jones Family Foundation…35 years of giving and we’re just getting started.
Ora and Barbara Jones
Ora Jones, born in Kalispell, Montana and Barbara Jones, born in Cumberland, Wisconsin, met while attending Red Wing High School in the 1930’s. Both children of the Depression, they developed values that defined large portions of their lives. Hard work, thrift and honesty to name a few.
From her very modest upbringing, Barbara’s kind spirit and deep concern for those less fortunate drove them, as it does now, an important part of The Jones Family Foundation’s character and ethos. She strongly supported and was energized by the growing mission of the Foundation, but at her heart were the needs of families and individuals who had fallen on hard times. She told the Board in her later life, “We must always find a place in our mission for these families.”
After attending the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School, Ora came back to Red Wing to work in the family’s business, The Goodhue County National Bank of Red Wing. Over the years the bank grew dramatically to become the largest bank in the community. He assembled a strong Board of Directors who all believed that being successful in banking was dependent in serving the community. The bank was looked to for leadership in many community projects. That sense of community building made Ora the natural choice to become The Jones Family Foundation’s first Chair for its first twelve years. He would often say, “Let’s be a part of the solution or we’re part of the problem.”