Menards makes a big donation to higher education

The Menard family, owners of the Menards chain of big box home improvement stores in the Midwest, have made a sizeable donation to higher education.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) announced that the Menard family has donated $2.36 million to the school’s nonprofit foundation. The funds are to be used for expanding the UW-Stout Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.

“I want to thank the Menard family for this very generous donation and for believing so strongly in the mission of this center,” UW-Stout Interim Chancellor Patrick Guilfoile said. “This support will allow the center to do even more to fulfill its mission, which is to promote the study and discussion of civil liberties and related institutions and innovations through scholarly inquiry, educational activities and community outreach.”

The center will also be renamed the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation and will remain in its current location on the campus, housed in the school’s College of Arts, Communications, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

John Menard founded the home improvement business while he was a student at UW – Eau Claire. The company’s headquarters are also located in Eau Claire, Wis.

In an open letter from the Menard family to the communities it serves, the company said, “Anyone who knows the Menard family knows how proud we are of our Midwestern heritage and the principles it’s instilled in us. Chief among those is a dedication to hard work and our belief in the power of education to unlock the extraordinary human potential that lies within all of us.”

“We believe that big dreams can come true for those who are willing to work for them. In 1958 we started transitioning from farming and teaching to build our home improvement business from scratch, building it, as has been reported, ‘one two-by-four at a time.’ Since then, Menards’ reputation for offering superior value has led to success far beyond our expectations,” the Menard family said.

The letter also sheds light on the current size of Menards, Inc., noting that the company currently has 325 stores and 41 manufacturing facilities located in 14 Midwestern states. In Wisconsin alone, Menards has 44 stores and 11 manufacturing facilities.

Regarding the work that is done at Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, the Menard family said, “ Free speech and freedom of expression are critical to the innovation and advances that have improved our lives, and the center embodies the university’s mission to provide an education that will help tomorrow’s leaders solve real world problems