Board Of Trustees
Report from the Board of Trustees
OUR SILVER ANNIVERSARY!
Yes, the Black River Falls Area Foundation was 25 years old in 2011! It must be true that “time flies.” A Silver Anniversary is a great time to review the past and contemplate the future, so we will do some of each in our report to you.
The Foundation was originated in 1986 as a Service Project of the Black River Falls Rotary Club. A committee of nine Rotarians met in early-morning biweekly meetings for almost a year to plan the purpose, goals, Articles of the Foundation, and a fundraising campaign. The campaign received widespread community support and by the end of 1986, assets of the Foundation totaled $110,000.
In 1987, the first grants were awarded totaling $2,900. The largest grant was $1,062 to Falls Players for a lighting system to be used in conjunction with the Black River Falls School District. In 2011, $139,330 of grants, scholarships and community projects were awarded, with the largest grant being $20,000, a partial payment of the $120,000 total Foundation pledge for the Jackson County Fair Park.
During the first 20 years of the Foundation’s existence Trustees originated, and raised funds for a number of major community projects. In recent years the focus has been to provide funding assistance for other community organizations and the projects they began.
Over the years, the Foundation originated or was a joint originator of major community projects. The Lunda Community Center was the Foundation’s first goal and its fundraising campaign raised $600,000 in community donations towards its construction.
Another early project was financial assistance to fund the expansion of Skyline Golf Course from nine to 18 holes. Construction of a new public Library building in 1992 was also an early major Foundation project. The Foundation Trail, constructed in 2000-2001, was the result of Foundation Trustee Jerry Kitowski submitting a successful $600,000 grant application to the State of Wisconsin, which was combined with another $200,000 raised by the Foundation. The largest project the Foundation was involved in was as a co-originator, with The Lunda Charitable Trust and The City of Black River Falls, to construct the Lunda Community Park and Hoffman Aquatic Center. The Foundation provided grants totaling over $600,000.
A recent example of the Foundation’s current philosophy of providing financial assistance for other community organizations is the Foundation’s $70,000 land purchase for a soccer field combined with a $25,000 pledge towards construction of the field.
Although not large in terms of dollars, an interesting historical note is that in the Foundation’s early years, it was able to apply for and receive grants that funded the start of Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, one of our community’s extremely valuable organizations!
Another historical note relates to scholarships. The original goals of the Foundation excluded scholarship funding. The belief was the Foundation should fund projects that benefit groups, not individuals. But as the critical need to assist graduates with ever-increasing costs of higher education became evident, this was changed. The first scholarship funded was a joint Lions Club and Rotary Club Scholarship of $1,000. That scholarship was first awarded in 1989 and has been awarded annually ever since, including in 2011. From this start of $1,000 for one scholarship, the generosity of many donors provided $28,493 of 2011 scholarships to 19 recipients!
Another area of community need, not contemplated when the Foundation was first started, was that each project, once completed, requires maintenance, repair and replacement funds. As these needs developed, Funds have been established at the Foundation. Currently, the following Foundation Funds are in place:
If you enjoy, utilize, and/or support these community assets, we encourage and will much appreciate your donations to the funds.
Also over the years, funds have been started to provide assistance to organizations or community sectors. These too, would appreciate your financial support.
Little space remains to discuss 2011 events. Trustees would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals and donors for their assistance to the Foundation.
Thank you to…
Twenty-five years of history cannot be compressed into the space available so, of necessity, many projects and acts of generosity over the last 25 years do not appear in this summary. But we do wish to express our gratitude to the generous people and organizations of our community that over the years have supported the Foundation and its projects. It is your generosity with your time and your gifts that has enabled the Foundation to grow its assets from $110,000 in 1986 to $3,423,182 today. That same generosity has allowed the Foundation to make $4,404,000 of grants and scholarships and to originate and jointly originate over $10 million of community projects.
In the future, Foundation Trustees will undoubtedly hope for and solicit your continuing support. College costs are increasing, creating increased scholarship needs. All areas of government are experiencing budget and deficit problems resulting in less assistance for community activities. With your help, the Black River Falls Area Foundation can help meet these community needs. We depend on you!