The Butler County Area Foundation Fund is gearing up to host its second annual banquet where valuable funds are distributed from the nonprofit organization and go toward financing various community undertakings.

Last year, about 140 people funneled into the Butler County Event Center at the fairgrounds to celebrate as more than $19,000 was distributed to 10 county organizations. These funds come from an unrestricted endowment fund that has grown in recent years to more than $1 million.

Moving forward, Foundation Fund Co-Chair Diane Duren said the organization is looking to leave an even bigger footprint on the county. To accomplish this, a sizable fundraising campaign was completed last year.

“It was a challenge to us to raise $200,000, and then if we did, the Nebraska Community Foundation would give us $100,000,” Duren said. “And we met that last November and then, of course, we celebrated that at our banquet last year.”

This year’s event is being held Wednesday, Nov. 13. Tickets are being sold for $25 and must be purchased by Nov. 11. These tickets can be purchased from any BCAFF advisory committee member or at the Butler County Chamber of Commerce office, Moravec Financial Advisors Inc., Bank of the Valley and Union Bank and Trust.

The social hour starts at 6 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. dinner. Following that, Duren said that guest speaker Brandon Day will speak about economic development and strengthening the local community. Day is the CEO of Norfolk-based Daycos, a provider of revenue and technology services for transportation companies.

Although the BCFF has been in existence since 1998, the organization as a whole – previously under the name of the David City Community Foundation - has actually been serving community members for the better part of 40 years, Duren said.

The Foundation Fund in Butler County is one of 258 similar nonprofits throughout the state-run under the Nebraska Community Foundation, which serves as the organizations' financial and fiduciary backbone, NCF Chief Operating Officer K.C. Belitz said.

There are two major components to what a Foundation Fund does, he said. First is the obvious – funneling dollars into a community and having autonomy over where those dollars go to best serve everyone. Secondly, these Foundation funds generate conversation and a sense of community pride.

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“We are seeing in small towns all across Nebraska, including Butler County, when they create these funds and create assets and have conversations about the assets they have, it’s changing the way they think and the way they talk about their home towns,” Belitz said of community residents.

“It’s creating a better, brighter vision for their future in their own minds. It’s creating optimism and it’s something we are seeing all across the state. And in places like this, it’s a really big deal when you can look into your future and it looks bright. It’s not something that we see everywhere.”

Generally, Duren said that donations ranging from $500-$2,500 are distributed when funds are available. Last year, grant recipients were: The Butler County Arts Council, Rotary Club of David City, David City Ball Association, Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, the Village of Octavia, Friends of the David City Dog Park, Butler County Senior Services, David City Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Thorpe Inc. and the Holy Family Early Childhood Development Center.

Foundation Fund Co-Chair Kent Clymer said the banquet is a great way for people to come out for a fun night to learn more about where money is going in their communities.

“We just wanted to do more of a formal deal to recognize the people who are receiving these grants,” Clymer said. “Because they are the ones going and doing these great things with the dollars they receive to improve their local communities."

Duren added that she is once again looking forward to the gathering. Not only does it recognize the people who are benefiting from the Foundation Fund’s gifts, it shines a spotlight on what the organization as a whole is trying to accomplish.

“It exposes some new people to, basically, our vision,” Duren said. “Like last year, we had some people who applied for a grant but didn’t really know what we were about. They came and they were just totally impressed. They had no idea what we were about and what kind of impact we have had in the past on Butler County.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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