First fully-endowed Land Grant Legacy Scholarship given by Dennis and Victoria Johnson

scholarship signing handshake

Dennis and Victoria Johnson are the first CFANS donors to fully endow a scholarship in the Land Grant Legacy Scholarship (LGLS) Program.  Conceived in the Spring of 2017, the LGLS Program was designed support access to the University of Minnesota for Greater Minnesota students. The program offers a four-year experience which includes targeted, programmatic elements designed to support students during their time at the University of Minnesota and build community through a cohort model, as well as a financial scholarship worth $20,000 over four years.  With their gift, the Johnsons have chosen to support students pursuing majors in Applied Economics or Agricultural and Food Business Management.

Dennis Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1973 with a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics. He and his wife Vicki have been long time donors to the University, contributing to both the CFANS Dean’s Excellence Fund and the Willis L. Peterson Undergraduate Study Fund, amongst many more.

Raised on a small dairy farm in east central Minnesota, Dennis learned early on the integral role the cooperative business model plays in rural America. Under his leadership, the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives was a leader in financing and supporting cooperatives and new cooperative formation, thereby encouraging the application of the cooperative business model to rural economic development.

Recognizing the need for technical resources to support cooperative development, Johnson was an early supporter of the cooperative development center known today as Cooperative Development Services and helped secure U.S. congressional authorization and appropriations for federal funding of cooperative development. He contributed to helping emerging democracies in Eastern Europe move to free market economies through his work with ACDI and as a board member of WNISEF.

Johnson has long played a leading role in the senior cooperative housing sector, beginning with Homestead Housing Center in the mid-1990s. He was a founding member of the Senior Cooperative Foundation. He strengthened Cooperative Housing Resources, the nation's only lender focused solely on financing senior housing cooperatives. Johnson organized the first annual Senior Cooperative Housing Conference and developed the Senior Cooperative Housing Education Program. He worked with senior housing cooperatives to incorporate SCH Purchasing Cooperative to leverage their buying power.