About Us


The D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, Inc., is a not-for-profit private charity founded in 1996 by the late Delbert F. Plett, Q.C., of Steinbach, Manitoba. It supports and promotes history research projects related to the cultural background, the migration and settlement, and descendant communities of the conservative Mennonites who came to Manitoba from Imperial Russia in the 1870s. These groups included the Bergthaler (later Sommerfelder, Chortitzer, West Reserve Bergthaler and Saskatchewan Bergthaler), Kleine Gemeinde, Old Colony (or Reinländer) and other church groups. Today the descendants of these early immigrants to Canada live in Canada (especially in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta), the United States (especially in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas), Mexico, Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. They have also divided into numerous church congregations.


The D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, Inc. believes that a sound knowledge of their history can strengthen the Mennonite people’s faith and culture, their church and community, and their sense of peoplehood. It aims to fulfill this vision by offering financial resources and leadership that will enable historical research and aid in the dissemination of historical knowledge. As the board of the Plett Foundation we wish to nurture meaningful research, encourage new historians, and raise the interest in and passion for historical knowledge. We desire to build understanding and unity among all descendant groups of the 1870s migrants. We especially support a respectful approach to the history of the conservative or so-called old order Dutch-Russian Mennonites.


The Plett Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors that sets policy and is responsible for the final decisions on grant requests. It meets twice a year to evaluate applications and decide on the grants.

Plett Foundation Board

Plett Board 2017

The Board of the Foundation in April 2017. Back Row, L-R, John J. Friesen, Abe Rempel, Conrad Stoesz, Kennert Giesbrecht, Leonard Doell. Front Row, L-R., Royden Loewen, Board Chair, Robyn Sneath, Ralph Friesen (his last meeting before retiring from the Board), Kerry Fast.

Chair: Royden Loewen, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Vice-Chair: Kerry Fast, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Secretary-Treasurer: Kennert Giesbrecht, Mitchell, Manitoba
Members: Leonard Doell, Aberdeen, Saskatchewan; Robyn Sneath, Brandon, Manitoba; Bruce Guenther, Abbotsford, British Columbia; Ben Nobbs-Thiessen, Winnipeg, Manitoba


Executive Director: Aileen Friesen

A. Friesen - May 4, 2018

Communications and Finance Officer: Jeremy Wiebe


Our magazine, published twice a year.


Fellowships, grants for research, and publication.