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Philanthropist, Alumna Helen Madsen Receives Friend of the Foundation Award

Honorary Augustana alumna and local philanthropist Helen Madsen has been honored with the 2011 Friend of the Foundation Award by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Madsen was awarded an honorary bachelor of art's degree from Augustana in 2006.

The award is the highest recognition the Community Foundation bestows.

In 1997, Helen and her late husband, Lou, presented a gift to help Augustana build a new Social Science Building. The Madsen Center was dedicated in 1999.

Richard Van Demark, board secretary of the Foundation, presented the award to Madsen.

“… supporting the Community Foundation was only the beginning of Helen’s commitment to philanthropy. She and Lou established endowments that support seven additional family priorities. At the heart of her philanthropy are children and youth, especially those who are neglected, abused, or disadvantaged. She has a special spot in her heart for Augustana College, where Lou attended and all three daughters graduated, and she uses her charitable fund at the Community Foundation to support scores of other agencies vital to our quality of life,” Van Demark said.

“Helen believes it’s just as important to give of one’s time as it is of one’s treasure. ‘If there is one thing that I have learned in life, it is that one person really can make a difference,’ she has said. Helen’s backed those words by serving on the Board of Directors for Children’s Home Society, the Children’s Home Foundation, and Sioux Empire American Red Cross.”

Helen has summed up her philosophy on philanthropy by saying “it is important that we all take up the challenge of commitment to others, which is such an essential part of our American culture. To be involved in philanthropy is giving a part of one’s self and creating a legacy that will endure forever. I believe that philanthropy is a necessary part of anyone’s life. It can ignite the caring spirit in all of us. It certainly is an important part of mine.”