The Kentron Foundation
The Kentron Foundation was formed for charitable, health and education purposes. Its mission is to promote whole healthy persons through the wellness of mind, body, and spirit, and to be a source for educational opportunities and other activities as they relate to human development. The Kentron Foundation is governed by the Group Health Association Board of Directors.
The Kentron Foundation traces its roots back to September 29, 1938 when an organization called the Group Health Association (GHA) was incorporated. GHA was created by the Group Health Mutual Insurance Company to conduct educational and legislative activities the insurance company was not permitted to do themselves.
The main purpose of GHA was “to engage in activities for the promotion of health and well-being of its members through education and by other lawful means; to provide such facilities as permitted by law for improving the physical, mental and moral condition of mankind.”
In 1950, in furtherance of its mission, GHA sponsored the creation of Group Health Federal Credit Union. Group Health Federal Credit Union offered services for all Group Health Mutual Insurance Company and Group Health Association members.
By the early 1970’s, Group Health Mutual Insurance Company determined it no longer needed many of the services GHA had been providing. Therefore in 1972, GHA articles of incorporation were amended to phase out activities no longer required by Group Health Mutual Insurance Company. From 1972 to 1987, GHA continued to use their funds to make charitable contributions to local non-profit health organizations.
In 1987 Group Health Federal Credit Union merged with SPIRE. This action brought GHA into the SPIRE family. The SPIRE Federal Credit Union Board of Directors also acted as the GHA Board of Directors. This practice continued until 2002 when a separate GHA Board of Directors was re-established.
Group Health Association Board of Directors
- Bob Groven – Chairman
- Margaret Lulic – Vice Chairman
- Cathy Statz – Secretary
- Jean Andreasen – Treasurer
One of the first acts of the new Group Health Association Board of Directors was to vote to begin “doing business as” (D.B.A.) the Kentron Foundation. This was done to reduce or eliminate the confusion the public may have regarding the Group Health name, since GHA has no affiliation with the HMO Group Health, now HealthPartners. Even though GHA is doing business under the name of the Kentron Foundation, a significant portion of its mission remains the same as when it was created in 1937.
What does the Kentron Foundation Mean for SPIRE Members?
In addition to providing access to the services of the Kentron Foundation to SPIRE members, Kentron has also given SPIRE an opportunity to revisit its own history. In 1934, Edgar Archer and his fellow Midland Oil Co-operative employees began to discuss the idea of forming a credit union (SPIRE). The group initially proposed a common bond including all of Minnesota and Wisconsin, which represented the territory served by Midland Oil Co-operatives.
The banking commissioner at the time approved the formation of Twin City Oil Co-operatives Credit Union, but limited the common bond to the eight-county Twin Cities Metro Area. However, the commissioner left the door open to revisit the issue of the common bond territory at some point in the future. Without the technological advances of the 1990’s, SPIRE was not positioned until more recently to act upon the opportunity the 1987 GHA merger presented. With Kentron in place, SPIRE now serves residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin as it had originally requested in 1934.
The application process is currently closed. New details will be coming soon.