Benevolent Lives


John K. and Luise hoped to be remembered for benevolence, a trait they possessed throughout their lives. They convened a small group that committed funds to build Immanuel Lutheran Church and led philanthropically through contributions to the Forest City Hospital, the Forest City Family YMCA, local churches, and Boy Scout organizations. They also helped fund the local park board and neighborhood parks throughout the area.

John K. and Luise demonstrated commitment to education through their belief in and support of Waldorf College, now known as Waldorf University. They strongly encouraged use of emerging technology in the college, public schools, and Winnebago Industries, Inc. In the mid-90s, they provided laptops to all Waldorf College students and made laptops available to Winnebago employees who could check them out to take home and learn alongside their children. In addition, John K. joined with Control Data to gift computers to Forest City Schools–elementary through high school–earning Forest City the Rural Model Community of America Award.

Hundreds of John K. and Luise V. Hanson’s gifts have been publicly recognized but more are known only to the recipients. For them, it wasn’t about receiving accolades but about giving back to citizens of the communities, particularly the employees of Winnebago Industries within those communities, who had given so much to them. Through contributions of millions of dollars, John K. and Luise strengthened and enhanced the quality of life for countless families, and through the foundation they founded, they will continue to do so for years to come.