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Jenni Wangsness Healing Hearts Fund Established with Winneshiek County Community Foundation

Winneshiek County Community Foundation
May 11, 2022

The Jenni Wangsness Healing Hearts Fund has been established with the Winneshiek County Community Foundation. The fund will help young children develop emotionally healthy lives by providing financial assistance to access counseling for traumas of any kind, and by providing the resources they need to grow in all areas of their young lives.

Jenni was an excellent teacher, advocate for children and had a strong passion for the mental and emotional health of preschoolers. She made it clear that a healthy emotional connection, filled with love, that is made early in childhood, leads to a life with purpose and meaning. Jenni’s life was cut short on November 29, 2021, by colon cancer at the age of 42.

“I established this fund not only to honor Jenni but to create a legacy founded on her heart of service,” said Erik Wangsness, Jenni’s husband and fund founder. “Jenni lived her life with her faith in action. She had unending love for God and for children and my hope is this fund will continue to support her passion, forever.”

Jenni was born in Decorah, IA, and while she lived in multiple states throughout her life, she moved back to the Decorah area in 2012 when she and Erik Wangsness married.

From a young age, Jenni told everyone she wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and successfully followed this route as she graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education) with a focus on early childhood development. Jenni ended her time as education coordinator of Semcac Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program, based out of Rushford, MN.

Jenni actively participated and was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. She assisted several children and youth programs within the church and served in many distinct positions such as camp director for children’s programs and president of the national Women’s Society Board of Directors for six years.

Gifts to the Jenni Wangsness Healing Hearts Fund can be made online at Cash, check or stock gifts may also be made to the fund. For questions about the fund, contact Terry Gaumer, affiliate development director with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, at (319) 243-1354 or

The Winneshiek County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa which is confirmed in compliance with national standards for U.S. community foundations. The fund is professionally managed and invested to grow over time. Gifts to the fund will be eligible for federal deductions for charitable giving.

More information about the Winneshiek County Community Foundation can be found at

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