Donor Stories

The Leroy & Agnes Urban Family Fund 

The Leroy & Agnes Urban Family Fund was established in 2020 as part of the Family of Funds of the Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation and administered by the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. The fund was established by Leroy and Agnes’s children as a way of honoring their parents. Both Leroy and Agnes grew up on small truck gardening farms in Rose Township, now Roseville. Leroy’s parents moved out to what is now Vadnais Heights in 1938 and Leroy and Agnes purchased the adjacent land in 1943. Together the Urban family has farmed land near Centerville Road and County Road F for now 83 years. Besides farming, Leroy worked for the Vadnais Heights public works department for 31 years, much of it part-time and Agnes worked for 34 plus years for the White Bear Lake Schools Food Service. In their jobs, both Leroy and Agnes were known for their hard work and giving extreme customer service to those they served. Leroy was a 20-year charter member of the Vadnais Heights Fire Department, and both served our community for many years as members of the Vadnais Heights Community Club or “Booster Club” which served our community from 1947 to 1980. Leroy and Agnes both took part in the 1957 election that broke off our area from White Bear Township and created Vadnais Heights.

Leroy and Agnes believed that education and job creation for all was very important to families and the community. They also believed in helping the less privileged, those with health issues and the elderly. When Leroy and Agnes weren’t working, they enjoyed music/dancing, community recreation, fishing, and being with friends and family.

In honor of Leroy and Agnes Urban their Family Fund will issue grants annually in perpetuity through the Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation to support charitable organizations or programs engaged in: Music, Community Recreation; Agricultural/Horticulture; Job Creation; Education; or helping the less privileged.

The children of Leroy and Agnes Urban hope to grow this fund in the future and encourage others to donate to this fund or other funds of the Vadnais Height Area Community Foundation, or create your own family fund to support our Vadnais Heights Area Community. The geographic definition of the area served by the Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation is the White Bear Lake and Mounds View School Districts Areas. For more information on grant applications or donating go to . 

2021 Grant Recipients

The Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation (VHACF), an affiliate of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, awarded approximately $10,000 in grants in 2021 thanks to the generous support of our donors. 2021 grant recipients were as follows:

  • Lakeshore Players Theatre 
  • Northeast Youth & Family Services
  • Phoenix Alternatives, Inc. (PAI)
  • Strive Scholarship Corporation
  • Tubman: Movement for Violence Prevention Program
  • White Bear Center for the Arts: 2021 High School Visual Arts Contest
  • White Bear Lake Area Schools, District 624: Engaging BIPOC Students with STEM Careers
  • White Bear Lake Early Childhood: Handwriting Readiness for At-Risk Pre-K Students

2015 Partnership Award


VHACF Chair Shelly Hauge & VHEDC President Kevin Whelan

On Thursday, November 5, VHACF was given the Partnership Award at the annual VHEDC (Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation) dinner.


VHEDC Executive Director Ling Becker


VHACF Chair Shelly Hauge


We are honored to receive this award and have been pleased to partner with VHEDC from when we first began giving out grants in 1990. We helped them establish a revolving loan fund for area businesses and are happy to support their efforts annually.



VHACF Board Member Dave Stimpson and former Board Member Chuck Sandstrom


It is partnerships like these within our area community that help our community be strong and vibrant. Thank you to VHEDC for recognizing and honoring us with the award!

Century College

Our February Board meeting was held at Century College East Campus, who generously provided us with a meeting room, coffee and bakery treats. We were happy to hear about their Random Acts of Kindness Program and note the many students in need who were helped by this program our recent grant went to. We are very pleased to support young adults furthering their educational goals.


2014 Holiday Luncheon

Hank Tessier and Mary McNellis with Shelly Hauge

Hank Tessier and Mary McNellis with VHACF Board Chair Shelly Hauge

On December 11, 2014, VHACF held a small Holiday Luncheon at North Oaks Golf Club with present board members, several recent grant recipients and local city officials. We honored two past board members for their many years of dedication and service to the Foundation:  Hank Tessier and Mary McNellis.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from a few of our recent Grant Recipients. Sara Swoboda was our 2014 Fund For Teachers recipient and told us how her time spent studying Spanish in Argentina enhanced her classroom teaching.

Sara Swoboda, 2014 Fund For Teachers Grant Recipient

Sara Swoboda, 2014 Fund For Teachers Grant Recipient

Trisha Cummins Kauffman, Executive Director of Solid Ground in White Bear Lake, spoke of the inspiring work this nonprofit is doing and handed out materials showing us the many programs Solid Ground offers in helping local families build strong and stable foundations.


Trisha Cummins Kauffman, Solid Ground Executive Director

We also heard from John Wayne Barker, Executive Director of Merrick, Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is empowering adults with disabilities. In addition to their Vadnais Heights facility, Merrick also operates a second program site for Adult Day and Memory Care services in downtown North St. Paul.

John Wayne Barker, Executive Director of Merrick, Inc.

John Wayne Barker, Executive Director of Merrick, Inc.

Finishing up the program was Patrice Abbe, Manager of Community Affiliates for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Patrice explained how VHACF is affiliated with the St. Paul Foundation and Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, and receives ongoing encouragement, training and support from them.

Patrice Abbe, Manager of Community Affiliates, MN Philanthropy Partners

Patrice Abbe, Manager of Community Affiliates, MN Philanthropy Partners

It was an enjoyable time for all!