It has been almost three months since the Looking Forward-Giving Back Campaign was launched by the volunteer leaders of the Butler County Area Foundation Fund.
The launch came during the Butler County Fair in July, and the BCAFF booth in the new Butler County Event Center had many visitors. Some folks wondered what BCAFF was about and others already knew – but they were also pleasantly surprised that the Fund Advisory Committee was dedicated to a major goal: Increasing our fund’s unrestricted endowment.
Let’s refresh your memory: The Sherwood Foundation, working through the Nebraska Community Foundation, has challenged us to raise $200,000. When we reach that goal by December 2018, the Sherwood Foundation will contribute another $100,000. This boost of $300,000 will bring our unrestricted endowment to around $1.1 million. Those funds will stay put forever, while the local committee can derive income from the funds to make good things happen. The best part is that the funds will be available for needs and opportunities that won’t be known for years to come.
Thanks to the generosity of past donors, BCAFF has had around $20,000 per year in recent years to make in grants for programs and projects that are improving our quality of life. There are many examples of over the years, including youth activities, community center improvements, arts and culture, leadership programs and helping to sustain vital local services such as the senior center and senior transportation.
The exciting thing about the big boost: It will bring our annual grant amounts up to $50,000 per year. That’s exciting stuff when you think about it. This is a Rural Development Philanthropy Campaign, which means our goal is to have a strong fund to help develop Butler County’s future.
How is the campaign going? When we launched, we had received $60,000 in donations and pledges. The past month, our volunteers have been visiting with donors. We are learning that there are local residents who share our dreams of a “future fund” that will give future leaders something to work with.
Some donors decided right away to make their gift, and others have taken a few days. We understand that it’s a commitment that needs some thought. But we also know that the 2017 tax year is ticking away, and it’s important to get the tax benefits that donors have coming, and to spread the donations over two tax years.
While the donations are important, we also know that we need to hear what our donors would like to see happen in Butler County. After all it is the community’s fund, and not our committee’s fund. Some donors have said they want to help build more vibrant business climate where new entrepreneurs can transition into existing businesses when those business owners retire.
So how’s the campaign going? We are excited to share that we’ve moved from $60,000 to $80,000 in pledges and donations! And we have dozens of people we still want to talk to, person to person.
Keep in mind, we’re asking our donors to do what our Fund Advisory Committee has already done. Each of our volunteer leaders has given or pledged to the best of their ability. On top of that, our committee continues to spend hours of volunteer time. We’ve hosted a photo contest and are planning an Oct. 28 Husker Tailgate Party at the Butler County Event Center.
We know there’s much to learn about community development, and we’ve been busy on that task as well. In September, committee members Amy Slama, Kent Clymer and Larry Peirce traveled to Red Cloud for a peer learning session folks from Diller, Nebraska City, Friend, Red Cloud, Eustis along with our advisors from the Nebraska Community Foundation. The Nebraska City volunteers talked about how they were able to raise $500,000 to qualify for $250,000 from the Sherwood Foundation.
Red Cloud is getting a lot of attention for raising funds to build and sustain a professional child development center, something that was identified as a critical need for its local workforce to succeed.
Over the next year we will be sharing more of what we learn and work to create partnerships for progress in Butler County.
There’s lots to talk about, and we can’t share it all at once!
We encourage you to contact one of our committee members and strike up a conversation about how we can make Butler County an even better place to work and live and raise a family.
We hope we’ll be talking to you soon.
Campaign Committee members:
Mike Moravec, Fund Advisory Committee chairman, Larry Peirce, campaign chairman. Committee members: Milt and Janet Bemis, Kent Clymer, Diane Duren, Carol Fuxa, Amy Slama, Ed Siffring, Robin Sullivan, Lindsay Truksa.
The Butler County Area Foundation Fund collaborates with other organizations to identify and support projects, programs, and people who are helping to build a community where our children can choose to live, work and raise their families.
Contact information: Butler County Area Foundation Fund, P.O. Box 91, David City, NE 68632
Facebook: Butler County Area Foundation Fund