The Ruttger family-Chris, Joanne, Ann and Jack-were honored Thursday with the Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation board of directors at the foundation's 20th anniversary celebration dinner at Grand View Lodge.
The Ruttger family has operated Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood as a family resort for more than 119 years and has employed hundreds of people. They have been involved in numerous fundraisers, their lake association and educational opportunities across the community.
In 2005, the Ruttger Enhanced Reading Fund was established at the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation and since then, it has gifted more than $75,000 to Crosby-Ironton and Aitkin elementary schools to support reading activities.
The Ruttgers also support Junior Achievement by allowing employees to lead classes in schools and by hosting entire school events, allowing children to experience "work" first hand while having fun. Also, Salem WEST in Deerwood has been a recipient of donated funds, furniture and bedding from the resort; the Ruttger family offers discounts for people in financial need; support smaller businesses through partnerships, mentoring and loaned equipment; and the resort is at the forefront of green business and since its inception has been involved with the Bay Lake Improvement fight against invasive species.