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It was a night of cheer, celebration and community.

About 140 people came out for the first Butler County Area Foundation Fund Banquet on Nov. 13 at the fairgrounds.

“This is better than what we expected,” said David City's Carol Fuxa, who serves on the BCAFF advisory committee. “This is our first time branching out on our own, having our own banquet. And so to have this response from the community and selling as many tickets as we did, is a success.”

The BCAFF awards grants to local organizations for community projects. The funds come from an unrestricted endowment account, which has recently grown to $1.3 million. In its most recent fundraising campaign, the organization raised more than $525,000. This includes $100,000 from the Sherwood Foundation, $317,000 from the estate of the late David Friis and $30,000 from the family of the late Elmer and Mary Beth Vanous.

Diane Duren, of Rising City, serves on the BCAFF advisory committee and was one of the banquet’s co-chairs. She said the dinner was about bringing the community together and spreading awareness about the work of the BCAFF.

“We’re trying to get more public awareness about what our foundation is about,” Duren said about the banquet. “We're trying to make Butler County better.”

A total of $19,050 in grants were award to 10 different Butler County organizations during the banquet.

The Butler County Arts Council was awarded $2,500 from the BCAFF to help put on its annual Czech Music Festival in David City. The event celebrates the area’s Czech heritage and also serves as a fundraising opportunity for the Catholic Daughters and United Methodist Women.

The David City Ball Association was awarded $2,500 to improve the playing surfaces on its ball fields. The Rotary Club of David City was awarded $550 to be used to fund the planting of 20 trees at the Butler County Fairgrounds sometime next year.

The Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art was awarded $2,000 from the BCAFF to finance an exhibition slated for fall 2019 focusing on underrepresented and underserved populations in its community. The exhibit will feature the artwork of sculptor Diana LeMarbe and painter Jeri Desrochers of New Mexico. It will feature a combination of approximately 20 works from the two artists.

The Village of Octavia was awarded $2,000 to construct a new building for the storage of a mower and tractor and The Friends of the David City Dog Park was awarded $2,500 to build a fence for the enclosed area of the proposed dog park to be placed in David City Park.

The Butler County Senior Services was awarded $2,500 from the BCAFF to replace the carpet in its facility located at 592 D St. and The David City Fellowship of Christian Athletes was awarded $1,000 to provide scholarships for athletes and coaches to attend various educational events.

The Thorpe Inc. was awarded $1,000 to fund the cleaning and repairing of the front side of the Horacek Building located at 457 D. St. and The Holy Family Early Childhood Development Center was awarded $2,500 to purchase playground equipment.

Fuxa and Duren comprise the BCAFF Advisory Committee along with Kent Clymer of David City, Mike Moravec of David City, Milt Bemis of David City, Janet Bemis of David City, Lindsay Truksa of Rising City, Ed Siffring of Ulysses, Amy Slama of Rising City and Robin Sullivan of Brainard.

The event’s guest speaker was K.C. Belitz, the president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. The dinner also featured a drawing for door prizes, which included $100 donated to a charity of a person’s choice, $100 worth of Butler County Chamber Bucks, and a $100 gift certificate to Small Town Blooms in David City.

With a nice meal and thousands in grants awarded, Duren considers the event a success.

“It was everything we wanted in our first annual banquet,” Duren said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News Review.

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