Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to the Miller Art Museum

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded the Miller Art Museum a Sustainability Grant from the Ruth & Hartley Barker Memorial Fund and the William C. and Marjorie W. Glenn Endowment Fund. This grant supports technology upgrades to strengthen organizational operations.

The Sustainability Grant allows the Miller Art Museum to upgrade technology infrastructure, perpetuating present growth and allowing the museum to more effectively deliver its mission. This will be achieved through donor management software, digitization of record-keeping, and volunteer management software.

“More than 100 volunteers presently serve as docents, museum attendants and exhibit installers at the Miller Art Museum,” said Nancy Sargent, board member of the Door County Community Foundation.  “The volunteers continue to be the lifeblood of the institution and we are honored to provide this grant to assist in their work at the museum.”

 2017-04-18 Miller Art Museum.jpgPictured, from left to right are Nancy Sargent, board member of the Door County Community Foundation and Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, Executive Director of the Miller Art Museum.

Founded in 1975 through the generosity of Gerhard and Ruth Miller, the Miller Art Museum is a non-profit cultural arts institution, open all year, to provide a variety of arts opportunities to thousands of children and adults from near and far. The beautiful galleries feature changing exhibits with a rich diversity of expression fostering the creative life of the community.

To learn more about the Miller Art Museum, please call 920-746-0707 or visit, www.millerartmuseum.org.

The Door County Community Foundation’s Sustainability Grants program distributes grant dollars from funds such as the Arts Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Education Fund, Green Fund, Health & Human Needs Fund, Healthy Water Fund, Historic Preservation Fund, and the Women’s Fund.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s services and various grant programs, please visit www.GiveDoorCounty.org.

The Door County Community Foundation, Inc. is a collection of separate charitable funds set up by individuals, families, non-profit organizations, private foundations and businesses that are managed, invested and disbursed for the current and future good of Door County.  The Foundation was launched in 1999 and currently administers more than $20 million in charitable assets.

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Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Trueblood PAC

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Trueblood Performing Arts Center a Sustainability Grant from the William C. and Marjorie W. Glenn Endowment Fund, the Ruth & Hartley Barker Memorial Fund, and the Arts Fund. This grant supports the Next Generation Stage Upgrade Program.

The Sustainability Grant allowed Trueblood PAC to improve theater acoustics and lighting by replace twelve-year-old lighting, sounds and stage equipment with up-to-date state of the art equipment.

 

2017-04-20 Trueblood PAC.jpg

“Trueblood PAC touches the lives of nearly 4,000 men, women, and children each year,” said Jeff Ottum, board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “We are pleased to provide this grant to a wonderful organization which serves the Washington Island community.”

 Pictured, from left to right are Jeff Ottum, board member of the Door County Community Foundation and Bruce McClaren, President of Trueblood Performing Arts Center.

The mission of the Trueblood PAC is to provide and maintain a public facility in which creativity may flourish and to encourage public participation and entertainment for the residents and visitors of Washington Island. To learn more about Trueblood PAC, please call 920-847-2528 or visit, www.truebloodpac.com.

The Door County Community Foundation’s Sustainability Grants program distributes grant dollars from funds such as the Arts Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Education Fund, Green Fund, Health & Human Needs Fund, Healthy Water Fund, Historic Preservation Fund, and the Women’s Fund.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s services and various grant programs, please visit www.GiveDoorCounty.org.

The Door County Community Foundation, Inc. is a collection of separate charitable funds set up by individuals, families, non-profit organizations, private foundations and businesses that are managed, invested and disbursed for the current and future good of Door County.  The Foundation was launched in 1999 and currently administers more than $20 million in charitable assets.

 

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A Very Small Heart and a Large Amount of Gratitude

The Wisconsin born playwright and author Thornton Wilder was the only person to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and drama. He once wrote, “we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

For almost all of us, our treasures begin with those we love – our family, our friends, our colleagues at work and play. Yet one of the most wonderful things about the human spirit is our boundless capacity for love and gratefulness.

In one of his stories about the lovable Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne wrote, “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

While my love rightfully begins with the people in my life, I have come to realize how much this place means to me as well. My lovely wife Cari is a teacher, so for us, each new school year is a new beginning. As fall approaches and our new “year” is about to begin, we decided to make a list of things that we have treasured most about our beloved peninsula over the previous year.

We both immediately thought of Door Shakespeare’s The Heart of Robin Hood. It was as joyful a performance as we’ve ever experienced in Door County. We counted something like 17 actors in an immersive event of choreographed chaos on their intimate stage at Björklunden.

We then remembered recently seeing “Boston Pops” come alive on the stage of the Door Community Auditorium at a concert of the Peninsula Music Festival. We continue to be astonished that conductor Victor Yampolsky and this collection of wonderful musicians come to perform for all of us in tiny Fish Creek with its total population of 997 people.

Cari and I have become fairly avid hikers this season (although we continue to be as amateur as amateur can get). We’ve enjoyed the trails of Potawatomi, Whitefish Dunes, Peninsula State Park, and several of the Door County Land Trust preserves. Our youngest daughter Malia has spent many an afternoon walking at Crossroads at Big Creek with her beloved dog Buddy. We even hope to hike on Rock Island before the season is done. Yet of all these beautiful places, for Cari and me, our most special hike is along Europe Bay, Sand Cove, Duck Bay and Varney Point at Newport State Park. We’ve hiked this incredible property numerous times and always treasure the quiet isolation of this remarkable place.

We are extremely grateful that our middle daughter Nalani was given the opportunity to play trombone in the summer jazz music academy at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. She is a talented young artist but in the days leading up to the two-week camp, Nalani grew increasingly worried about whether her musical ability would measure up to the accomplished high school musicians from 15 different states. It was wonderfully heartening when we received a text from her on the second day of the academy that read, “Okay, I have to admit it. Everyone here is crazy nice.” Thanks to Birch Creek’s “Play it Forward” program, every student receives $2,700 assistance toward tuition and we are extremely grateful that Nalani received an additional generous scholarship as a student from Door County.

It might seem like a small thing, but as we reflect back, we realize how appreciative we are that the Door County Medical Center opened a clinic on the campus of Southern Door Schools in Brussels. As busy working parents, it was an astonishingly simple and convenient place to get a sports physical for the student athletes in our family.

We always enjoy the annual trivia contest put on by the Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club despite the fact that we weren’t quite able to successfully defend our title this year. Thankfully, a few dollars were won at Peninsula Preschool’s Trivia Night, but of course our team donated all our winnings back to the charity.

Reflecting on the last year, we realize how thankful we are for the YMCA, especially during the winter months. When the weather turns cold, every Monday is volleyball night. We love it so much that immediately after speaking at an event in Northern Door one wintery Monday night, my wife drove to the YMCA while I changed into volleyball clothes in the back seat. Our team has played in the lower “B” division for several years and our mantra is that when it comes to volleyball, we’re really good at trivia.

There are so many things we have loved about our life in Door County the last year. You don’t have to be Belgian to enjoy the quaint little portrait of ethnic history at the Belgian Heritage Center’s newest exhibit. Hope Church continues to be an important part of our family life. Our middle son Bret Jr. safely returned from a year studying abroad in Chile under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay. Our youngest son Kekoa was wonderful in a community play on the stage of Rogue Theater. And our list goes on and on.

We made this list because we believe it that “we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Yet after a lifetime working in the world of philanthropy, even I was surprised to see how much of what we love is inextricably linked to charity.

Door Shakespeare, Birch Creek, Door Community Auditorium, and the countless other arts organizations all are charities. Our environmental treasures such as Crossroads at Big Creek are either charities themselves or stewarded and protected by nonprofit friends groups such as the Newport Wilderness Society and the Door County Land Trust. Our health is attended to by charities like the YMCA and the Door County Medical Center. While the nonprofit organizations of our community ask us for a charitable gift, they give to us the quality of life we hold so dear.

Whether you’re here year round, or soon will be leaving for the season, take a moment to make your own list of what you love most about Door County. If you’re like me, you’ll discover just how important philanthropy is to your life on our beloved peninsula. Then give back to those charities most important to you.

 

This article, by Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy, originally appeared in the Peninsula Pulse.

Honoring John Herlache, Philanthropist of the Year

A couple of years ago my wife broke her toe. While painful, what was surprising to us is how much a broken toe impacted the other parts of her body. Apparently after the break she started to walk a little differently. She put more weight on the left side of her body to compensate for the pain she felt in her right foot. The doctor told us that likely caused her to lean slightly to one side, thereby twisting her spine ever so gently as she moved about. Eventually, that difference in her posture caused a pain in her neck.

I was fascinated how a break in one part of the body could lead to a cascade of events and eventually cause pain in a completely different and totally healthy part of the body. It reminded me that although a body is comprised of all these individual pieces, they are ultimately parts of a single, connected and interdependent system. When one part of our body is compromised, it has the potential to make the whole more vulnerable.

USE 2I told this story recently at the Door County Community Foundation’s annual Celebration of Giving during which John Herlache was honored as the 2017 Philanthropist of the Year. John’s leadership and volunteerism includes service at the YMCA, Peninsula Players, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay, the Belgian Heritage Center, and many others. He is responsible for the creation of Door County’s paramedic program, the first one of its type in rural America. John is one of the founders of Door-Tran and helped develop the current public transit shared-ride taxi system in Door County. He is also one of the original signatories on the founding documents of the Door County Community Foundation, Inc.

There’s a particular arts organization that I’ve see John Herlache and his wife Nell give to several times over the years. I also know from other conversations I’ve had with them that they don’t attend performances of this organization nor do they have a strong connection to anyone involved with this charity. So I asked John why he chooses to give to an arts charity that he doesn’t even particularly like.

He said that this arts organization brings a lot of tourists here every season. By supporting them he’s helping to create jobs in the county and that helps keep the whole community strong.

This tells you all you need to know about John Herlache. Maybe it’s his years as a doctor, or perhaps he learned it from his parents, or maybe it’s just who he is, but John intuitively knows that when the individual parts of our county are healthy, our community as a whole is stronger.

I was recently reading a commencement address given in 1991 by the late John W. Gardner. Gardner was a lifelong Republican and the only Republican in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson.

Gardner had a reputation a little like John’s. Both men have political opinions that are, shall we say, clearly defined. Yet both men have also shown a willingness to work with anyone, on either side of the political aisle, if doing so meant getting things done.

Gardner’s commencement address of more than 25 years ago is particularly well known for a famous line that I’d like to talk about, but I want to do so by breaking his idea into two phrases.

In the first part, Gardner said, “I count it as one of the marks of maturity that men and women nurture the institutions that nurtured them…”

That is a lesson John Herlache teaches us every day. His passion and commitment to this place called Door manifests itself in virtually all that he does. John was born here and was nurtured by this community from the very start. There are few people who have worked more tirelessly for Door County, on a broader range of issues, than John. He has been nurturing this place that nurtured him from his very first years.

Yet regardless of where we were born, have not all of us been nurtured by our beloved peninsula? Perhaps we came here as young adults, discovered it for the first time as middle-aged tourists, or maybe we chose to retire to this community. Regardless of when it is in our lives that we arrived, are we not all inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds us? Has not this place nurtured the artist within many of us? I even know numerous people who say that Door County is where their entrepreneurial spirit was allowed to flourish and thrive. Even if we were not born here, we’ve all been nurtured by this place. Like John, it is incumbent upon each of us to care for it.

Let’s continue to the second phrase in Gardner’s famous line. He said, “I count it as one of the marks of maturity that men and women nurture the institutions that nurtured them… not uncritically but lovingly, not to preserve them unchanged but to renew them as the times require.”

Our obligation to this place we love is not to blindly preserve it under glass, trying to keep it forever unchanged. Rather, we are called upon to use our minds, to cast a critical eye on the realities of the everchanging world that surrounds us.

I’ve never known John Herlache to fail to confront a difficult truth about the place he loves. He honors and cherishes our past, but uses it as a foundation upon which to build a new and brighter future. To truly nurture this place that has nurtured us requires us to lovingly foster its renewal and rejuvenation as the times require.

Later in that same speech Gardner says, “The commitments that people make to values beyond the self are manifested in various ways – in their family and community life, in the way they treat any and all humans, in the goals and standards they set for themselves. There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck, or running a business, or bringing up a family. They teach the truth by living it.”

This is the essence of John Herlache. In so many deep, profound, and admittedly, sometimes his quirky own way, John’s love for Door County knows no bounds.

This article was written by the President and CEO of the Door County Community Foundation, Bret Bicoy, and originally appeared in the Peninsula Pulse

Community Foundation Awards Grant to Northern Sky Theater

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Northern Sky Theater a Sustainability Grant from the William C. and Marjorie W. Glenn Endowment Fund. This grant supports the purchase of a “Mobi-Mat,” a feature to increase handicap associability. The Mobi-Mat allows wheelchairs and walkers to traverse the wood-chip covered seating area at the Northern Sky amphitheater.

The sustainability grant allowed Northern Sky to further extend their handicapped entrance, seamlessly connecting the boardwalk to their handicapped seating area.

“It is important to us that folks of all abilities are able to enjoy all that the County has to offer,” said Dick Egan, Secretary of the Door County Community Foundation. “The rich arts community is one of the reasons Door County is so special. We are pleased to provide this grant, enabling Norther Sky Theater to further enhance the unique experience they provide.”

2017-05-17 Nothern Sky Theater

 

To learn more about Northern Sky Theater, please call 920-854-6117 or visit, www.northernskytheater.com.

The Door County Community Foundation’s Sustainability Grants program distributes grant dollars from funds such as the Arts Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Education Fund, Green Fund, Health & Human Needs Fund, Healthy Water Fund, Historic Preservation Fund, and the Women’s Fund.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s services and various grant programs, please visit www.GiveDoorCounty.org.

The Door County Community Foundation, Inc. is a collection of separate charitable funds set up by individuals, families, non-profit organizations, private foundations and businesses that are managed, invested and disbursed for the current and future good of Door County.  The Foundation was launched in 1999 and currently administers more than $20 million in charitable assets.

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Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Crossroads at Big Creek

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Crossroads at Big Creek a Sustainability Grant from the Clifford and Clara Herlache Heritage Foundation and the Ruth and Hartley Barker Memorial Fund. This grant supports the expansion of an interactive archaeological dig at the Ida Bay Preserve and Big Creek Cove.

The sustainability grant helps provide the opportunity to introduce the disciplines of archaeology and historical preservation to Door County school children and learners of all ages. Professional researchers and field technicians will be teamed with students and citizen science volunteers who will become partners in discovery as we conduct an archaeological dig at the Ida Bay Preserve and Big Creek Cove. Crossroads intends to continue this program indefinitely so that for years to come, every middle school student from Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol will experience a hands-on dig.

2017-05-17 Crossroads“The Archaeology Project includes learners of all ages,” said Glenn Timmerman, board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “This authentic research nurtured historical and cultural appreciation, scientific curiosity and environmental awareness.”

To learn more about Crossroads at Big Creek, please call 920-746-5895 or visit, http://www.crossroadsatbigcreek.com/

The Door County Community Foundation’s Sustainability Grants program distributes grant dollars from funds such as the Arts Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Education Fund, Green Fund, Health & Human Needs Fund, Healthy Water Fund, Historic Preservation Fund, and the Women’s Fund.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s services and various grant programs, please visit http://www.GiveDoorCounty.org.

The Door County Community Foundation, Inc. is a collection of separate charitable funds set up by individuals, families, non-profit organizations, private foundations and businesses that are managed, invested and disbursed for the current and future good of Door County. The Foundation was launched in 1999 and currently administers more than $20 million in charitable assets.

 

Remembering Those Generous to Us

Although Memorial Day didn’t become an official United States holiday until 1971, this day of remembrance is rooted in traditions that go back more than a thousand years. The first well documented public tribute to those who died in battle was given in 431 B.C. Pericles, the fabled “first citizen” of democratic Athens, offered a stirring tribute to those who perished in the Peloponnesian War. His skills as an orator were literally the stuff of Greek legend as his speech that day is said to be his time’s equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s iconic Gettysburg Address.

One of the first known gatherings organized by ordinary citizens to commemorate those who died in service to the United States occurred in May 1865. More than a thousand recently freed slaves stepped forward to consecrate a new burial site for Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina.

My late father, Bernaldo Daniel Bicoy, was a decorated veteran of World War II and Korean, having been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. While he always took pause on Memorial Day to honor his comrades in arms who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, he also used the occasion to remember those who gave in other ways and were no longer with us.

Dad always wanted us to remember that the blessings of today are a direct result of the gifts and sacrifices of those who came before us. In addition to his fellow soldiers, my father would recall the teacher that believed in him as a child, the friend that stood by his side, and the mentor who guided his path in early adulthood. All of these good people had long since left the world, but Dad would take a moment on Memorial Day to celebrate and thank all of those who contributed to the life he felt privileged to enjoy. I heard echoes of my father’s teachings recently when I was signing letters on behalf of the Door County Community Foundation, awarding grants to numerous local charities.

It’s easy to remember those who directly and knowingly gave in some way to help create the wonderful life I have. Like my father, I can remember teachers, friends, and mentors now gone who played an enormous role in my life. Yet while signing that stack of grant award letters for the community foundation, I thought about all the people whose lives would soon be touched by generous souls they would never personally know.

The late Ruth Barker left a remarkable gift in her estate plans that enabled the Community Foundation to create the Ruth and Hartley Barker Memorial Fund. This permanent endowment generates income which the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors awards in the Barkers’ names to Door County charities.

For instance, Write On, Door County was a recent recipient of one of those grants. Money from the Ruth and Hartley Barker Memorial Fund were used to help bring one of the country’s most admired poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, to offer workshops for Door County students.

Similarly, a few years back a loving daughter from far beyond our peninsula created the Bernice and Gene Hawkins Charitable Fund at the community foundation to remember and celebrate her parents love for Door County. Some of the income from this fund was recently used to help install a handicap lift at the Namur Belgian Heritage Center.

The Clifford and Clara Herlache Heritage Foundation at the Community Foundation was originally started by the former Baylake Bank and members of the Herlache family to carry on this generous couple’s tradition of preserving the history and culture of Door County. The fund awarded a recent grant to Crossroads at Big Creek to expand the archaeological dig at the preserve so students and interested residents can explore the distant history of our land.

An estate gift from Martha Cherry allowed the community foundation to create the Martha Cherry Human Service Fund. Not too long ago a grant was given in her name to Feed and Clothe My People to provide nutritious snacks to more than 300 low-income children in Door County.

Several years ago, the late Andy Lawrence celebrated the memory of his loving wife by setting up the Elizabeth “Betty” Lawrence Human Services Fund at the Community Foundation. Moneys from this fund were recently awarded to the Door County Medical Center to provide free dental care to children and adults in our community.

Literally tens of thousands of people will be touched in some way by just the five grants listed in this column. During the last year the complete family of charitable funds at the community foundation awarded 717 grants totaling $1,662,693. Imagine the collective impact of all this wonderful generosity to our community.

Yet what often amazes me the most are people like the Barkers, the Hawkins, the Herlaches, and countless others who so selflessly gave without any knowledge of whom their gift would help. Their affection for Door County was so overflowing that they gave not just to a specific person or particular organization, but rather to sustain and advance the place they love.

As my father taught me, let us all take a moment to remember, celebrate, and thank those who may no longer with us but contributed meaningfully to the life we are privileged to enjoy on our beautiful little peninsula.

This article was written by Bret Bicoy, president & CEO of the Door County Community Foundation, and orginally appeared in the Peninsula Pulse