Zollner Foundation

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To support educational organizations, hospitals, YMCA and Boy Scout organizations, and other charitable organizations in the Fort Wayne, IN and Golden Beach, FL areas.

Annual application deadlines

June 1

Program areas

Human services

States served


Geographic limitations

Preference will be given to organizations located in the Fort Wayne, Indiana and Golden Beach, Florida areas.


Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.


  • To be eligible, organizations must qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online grant application form or alternative accessible application designed for assistive technology users.


In accordance with the donor’s stated preferences, the foundation typically does not fund requests for:

  • Liberal Arts colleges
  • Philharmonic or similar organizations
  • Fine arts organizations or fine arts departments or classes at any educational organization
  • Renovation of old buildings which have suffered deterioration of more than ten percent (10%) of the structure, or the renovation, reconstruction or replacement of historic buildings, sites or landmarks.
  • All churches except those having a hospital division.
  • All minority groups that directly or indirectly receive any subsidy from the United States Government, State, County or Municipal Governments.
  • All organizations limiting their benefits to the members of particular ethnic groups, since such discrimination was inconsistent with the Donor’s beliefs.
  • All schools who do not follow an open admissions policy.
  • Organizations for people with intellectual disabilities

Grantmaking priorities

Preference may be given to requests for the following:

  • Scholarship, research and educational purposes at educational organizations in the United States.
  • Charitable organizations in the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana and the Town of Golden Beach, Florida.
  • Hospitals
  • YMCA and Boy Scout organizations in the Fort Wayne, IN and Golden Beach, FL areas.

Average giving

Average grant size: $5,000 to $15,000
Average number of grants per year: 15
Average total giving per year: $350,000

Annual application period and deadlines

Applications are accepted year-round. Applications must be submitted by June 1 to be reviewed at the annual grant meeting held in August.


Applicants will receive an automated email confirming their submission. Grant decisions are generally communicated by October for applications received by the deadline.

Required agreements and reports

Periodic progress reports and final reports may be required for funded projects.

About the Foundation

Fred Zollner was born on January 22, 1901 in Little Falls, Minnesota to Theodore and Margaret Zollner. His father, Theodore Zollner, was an inventor and manufacturer of machinery. Zollner Corporation, formed in 1912, manufactured pistons for companies such as Ford, General Motors and John Deere. In 1931, the Zollner Corporation was moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 1937, Fred Zollner sponsored a company basketball team at the request of employees. The team performed so well in the local industrial league that in 1941 they turned pro and joined the old National Basketball League. In 1949, the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons joined the newly formed NBA (National Basketball Association). In 1957, the team was moved to Detroit, Michigan, thus becoming the Detroit Pistons. Mr. Zollner was called “Mr. Pro Basketball” as the founder and longtime owner of the Pistons and a key figure in the merger of the National Basketball League and Basketball Association of America into the NBA.

Fred Zollner passed away on June 21, 1982 at the age of 81, leaving behind a great legacy in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There are sports facilities named after Mr. Zollner such as the Fred Zollner Memorial Stadium, Fred Zollner Tennis Complex, and the Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium at Trine University.