By Debra Neutkens Editor
WHITE BEAR LAKE — A fledgling foundation serving communities around the lake has a lofty goal: to raise $5 million in five years.
The Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation (GWBLCF) announced its aspirations Dec. 6 at a celebration to commemorate key accomplishments. Chairman Bill Foussard is confident the goal is doable, especially considering the foundation’s progress to date.
“2017 has been a year of phenomenal growth,” Foussard said. “We are the place where people who love the lake, who love the area, can come together to make a difference, not just today and next year, but for generations to come.”
Founded in 2015, the GWBLCF has received contributions amounting to $870,700, 77 percent of which went into a fund called Donor Advised and Donor Designated.
The fund is earmarked for individuals, families and businesses to carry out charitable goals. So far, seven donors have established funds for that purpose: Karen Alnes; Jesse and Natalie Bengtson; Eunice and Peter Cote; Bill Foussard; Robert Hartzell; Eugene and Kathy Johnson and James and Karen Winey.
Another fund, called the Community Partners Fund, currently makes up 4 percent of the foundation pie, or $32,275. This pot of money awards grants to mission-based nonprofits that benefit the general community. Twenty grant recipients received a total of $32,200 in 2017.
Among those 20 recipients recognized at the celebration were: the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf — $1,000 for a monthly mobile market that serves Century College students; White Bear Area Historical Society — $2,000 for historical markers for the restored White Bear Town Hall; Giving Gardens — $2,000 to expand its garden beds to provide fresh produce to those in need; and H2O For Life — $1,300 to develop a “Splash! Toolkit” to teach youth to become better water stewards.
The grants committee received 32 applications totaling $142,000, according to Community Partners Committee Chair Carol McFarlane. All but two of the 20 selected for 2017 received unanimous votes from the six-member committee.
Mahtomedi board member John Redpath, who serves on the grants committee, said he was “shocked at the great ideas,” and added, “that’s why this community is a great place to live and grow up.”
In addition to the grantees, the next generation of community leaders were named in a new program called Leadership Tomorrow that starts in 2018. The program is in partnership with White Bear Rotary Club and the Area Chamber of Commerce. The GWBLCF set aside $8,200 to fund the program.
Other noteworthy accomplishments listed by the GWBLCF included:
• Setting up endowment funds for two nonprofit organizations: the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society and White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf.
• Serving as fiscal sponsor for three community projects.
• Keeping administrative costs low. All expenses are covered by contributions from the board of directors, a grant from the Hardenbergh Foundation and contributions to the Foundation Builders Fund. Administrative and management costs were reported at $57,200. An additional $16,000 was spent on software.
More information on the GWBLCF can be found at greaterwblfoundation.org.
Members of the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation board gathered at the Best Western country Inn to celebrate a philanthropic mission to enrich the lives of people around White Bear Lake. From left, Ryan Steen, Mark Sather, Carol McFarlane, John Redpath, Craig Drake, Kate Huebsch, Bob Schneeweis, Bill Foussard, Brady Ramsay, Jackie Reis, Carter Johnson, Lisa Hiniker Pocrnich, Eunice Cote, Jessie Bengtson, Karen Alnes, and Mike Reuther.