Kent Roessler was growing up on a farm North of the Twin Cities when his father died, leaving Kent’s mom, who was six months pregnant at the time, to raise the children on her own. “Can you imagine the pressure that was on her?” Kent marvels. “That’s how I grew up.”
Kent showed signs of his mother’s ingenuity and work ethic when at 18, he moved to the cities, took a job with a homebuilder, and went on to launch his own company. After 30 years, the success of Paxmar Land Development has led Kent to apply the same strategic thinking he used in business to his philanthropy.
It started in 2003 when Kent sold his business and found himself with a large tax liability. His initial plan was to start his own family foundation, but he discovered he could achieve the same results at a lower cost by working through the Catholic Community Foundation, so he and his wife opened a donor advised fund. “Our plan was to have our kids involved in our giving so they can slowly take over the fund,” explained Kent. “I’m not a fan of leaving a big inheritance.”
“We all come together and talk about who we want to give to,” said Kent’s spouse, Muriel, referring to their children Alan, 32, Sarah, 30 and Ryan 12.
The family recently toured the North Side Development Center, a nonprofit based in North Minneapolis that’s run by Catholic Charities. “It’s a good program and there’s a huge need,” said Kent. “When we toured, Ryan was with us,” he added, nodding toward the twelve-year old. “We could talk to him until our face turned blue, but now, he’s seen it for himself.”
While Kent enjoyed the challenge of building up his business, he clearly relishes the opportunity to give money away. In fact, it’s led to increased tithing. “God has blessed us with abundance and we are fully aware that we need to be good stewards,” he said. “In the end, none of us are getting out of here alive.”
Muriel agrees, “To him whom much has been given, much will be expected.”