Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin a Sustainability Grant from Health and Human Needs Fund and the Children and Youth Fund. This grant provides financial assistance to support the enhancement of Door County programming.

Big Brothers Big Sisters programs match volunteer mentors with Door County youth. The program is designed to support healthy behaviors and decision-making which leads to positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes. These positive outcomes lead to improved high school graduation rates, the avoidance of juvenile delinquency, readiness for post-secondary educational opportunities, and improved employment opportunities.

 

2017-12-18 BBBS
Pictured from left to right are Katie Hess, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin and Sally O’Brien, board member of the Door County Community Foundation.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin is a donor and volunteer supported nonprofit organization that professionally matches youth with mentors.  Since 1972, communities in Northeastern Wisconsin have been enriched by Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission to make a positive difference in the lives of youth through professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships.  The program is based on the documented premise that youth need the influence of mature, responsible and supportive mentors during their formative years in order to reach their full potential as adults.

For more information regarding the programs and services provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin, please call 920-498-2227 or visit www.bbbsnew.org.

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

“People should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

It’s a concept of self-reliance and independence that has become the quintessentially American idea of our time. Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is no longer just an idiom, it has evolved into a core value that is central to much of our civic and political life. To varying degrees, self-reliance has become a guiding principle for the ideology on both sides of the political aisle.

My father believed strongly in the idea of the “self-made man.” Though he has been gone for several years, his core values still color the lens through which I view the world. Like my father before me, I too believe that with enough hard work, perseverance and sheer strength of will, I can overcome any obstacle that life puts in my path. I firmly believe in the ideas of self-reliance and independence.

Yet ironically, the phrase we use to describe this idea is a complete perversion of what it actually means to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. In fact, our modern definition seems almost cruel when you consider the phrase’s original meaning.

Imagine that you’re busily walking along the road of life but don’t notice that rock in your path. The toe of your boot then awkwardly hits the rock mid-stride, causing you to tumble and fall into a hole on the side of the road. As you look up from the bottom of that hole, you know that you have to do something to get back on your path, so you grab the straps on the side of your boots, pull up really hard, and hope that doing so will magically lift you out of the hole.

Unless you have the power to suspend the laws of physics and nature, it is a physical impossibility for anyone to literally pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. In fact, the absurdity of even bothering to try is central to the original meaning of the phrase.

A century ago, if you said of a person that “he is trying to pull himself up by his own bootstraps,” you were actually ridiculing him. You were saying that this man was a fool for trying to do something that we all know to be so obviously impossible.

In our modern American political life, we celebrate independence and increasingly expect that people rely only upon themselves. We look at a person struggling to make ends meet and say that if they only worked harder, they’d be able to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. What once was seen as a foolish attempt to do the impossible has now become the expectation of the times in which we live. There’s a cruel irony to that phrase.

I am hardly a wealthy man, but I own my home, am sending five children through college, and have a job that pays me a fair salary. I live a comfortable life. Though my father’s values still permeate my being, I am also fully aware that I am hardly a self-made man. I am not solely responsible for any success I might enjoy. My place in this world is not entirely of my own making.

My father was with me throughout my childhood, teaching me through his words and actions what it means to be a good man. There are millions of children who are forced to grow up without learning from the wisdom of loving father.

For six years I attended Iolani School, a highly regarded college preparatory academy with exceptional facilities and teachers that instilled within me a passion for knowledge. There are millions of children in this country that cross drug-infested neighborhoods and pass through metal detectors just for a chance to attend a class in a crumbling school building.

I am a graduate of Tufts University, a highly regarded institution that is considered one of the top 25 centers of academia in the nation. There are millions of bright and talented people in this country that will forever be denied job opportunities because they lacked the financial means to obtain a college degree.

Bernaldo Daniel Bicoy

Mine is but a modest life, yet even the most successful among us are dependent on the love and generosity of others. The brilliant and innovative Microsoft founder Bill Gates approaches his own achievements with an enormous amount of humility. “I am not a self-made man,” writes Gates. “My parents started me off in life with every possible advantage.”

Self-reliance and independence are worthy values. We should teach our children the importance of hard work, perseverance and sheer strength of will. These are the characteristics that made ours the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. But we all need to recognize that our success in life is never entirely of our own making. Every one of us who leads a comfortable life has been the beneficiary of some combination of a loving parent, an inspiring teacher, a guiding mentor, a generous benefactor, or some other caring person or institution that helped us on our road to success.

Thus, we should have empathy for those unlucky ones among us who have been dealt a bad deck of cards and been denied the blessings we enjoy.

“You want to incentivize the top performers,” said billionaire and legendary investor Warren Buffett. “[We] don’t want equality in results, but do want something [so] that those who get the bad tickets still have a decent life.”

That’s why charitable giving is so important to the health and success of our nation. Whether you give of your love to your child, your time to friends in need, or a contribution to a charity dedicated to serving others, your generosity helps ensure that everyone has an opportunity to thrive.

The man who has fallen off the road of life will never be able to climb out of the hole if he tries to pull himself up by his own bootstraps. He’ll return to the path only when we as a society reach down and extend the hand of friendship.

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

Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to the Door County Medical Center Foundation

The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded the Door County Medical Center Foundation a Sustainability Grant from the John and Nell Herlache Community Impact Fund and the Bernice and Gene Hawkins Charitable Fund for the Ministry Fund.

The Ministry Fund Program is an initiative to improve the health and well-being of the people in Door County, especially the poor and vulnerable. In 2016, the Ministry Fund helped nearly 1,000 individuals in our community and distributed over $54,000 worth of assistance.

“The Ministry Fund, also known as Katie’s Fund, is a safety net when there is no other help available,” said John Herlache, Board Member of the Door County Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is proud to support the Ministry Fund which provides one-time assistance to help Door County residents overcome a crisis.”

Since its founding 16 years ago, Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Ministry Fund has given more than $500,000 to local individuals struggling to meet their basic needs. Funds are given to patients in need of everything from durable medical equipment to prescription medications. The fund also provides help in paying utility bills or getting transportation to receive medical care, or finding temporary shelter while receiving medical treatment.

For more information about the Door County Medical Center Foundation, please call (920) 746-1071 or visit http://www.ministryhealthy.org/DCMH/home/Foundation.org.

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

Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to the HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center

The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded the HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center a Sustainability Grant from the Ruth & Hartley Barker Memorial Fund, the Annie & Richard Egan Charitable Fund and the John & Nell Herlache Community Impact Fund for the Cancer Care Safety and Comfort Project.

The grant is being used to purchase high-quality treatment chairs that will improve the safety and comfort of cancer patients and healthcare workers in Door County. “Approximately 200 patients receive outpatient chemotherapy and medication treatment each year at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Center in Door County,” said Jeff Ottum, board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “We are pleased to provide this grant to HSHS St. Vincent to further their mission of keeping patients and staff safe and comfortable during treatment.”
The St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center group of 19 oncologists, including the region’s only gynecologic and pediatric oncologists, is the largest group of medical and radiation oncologists in the region, standing ready to work hand in hand with a multitude of other skilled experts to help patients during one of the most critical times of their lives.
To reduce the burden of travel for patients, the oncologists travel to regional communities who are part of the St. Vincent Cancer Collaborative to help deliver high quality cancer care at a location close to their patients’ homes. Door County is one such community.
St. Vincent Hospital has been caring for the people of Northeast Wisconsin since 1888 and has been providing cancer care services for over 50 years. In 2001, St. Vincent became one of only two National Cancer Institute Community Clinical Oncology Programs in the state. The St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center has been servicing patients at the Door County Medical Center since 2005. This is the only location in Door County offering cancer treatment and access to cancer prevention, control, and treatment clinical trials.

For more information regarding services provided by the St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center, please call (920) 884-5774.

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

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Give Local, But Buy on Amazon?

I’ll admit it. I like shopping on Amazon. I buy a lot of obscure books on philanthropy and community building that are not available in our local stores. My furnace uses an unusual air filter that cannot be found on local shelves. And as much as I searched, nobody around town carried quite the right shade of purple shoelaces I wanted for my new bowling shoes.

While we have a remarkably robust retail sector for a community of our size, there are some things you simply cannot find in a small town. For those of us who live here year round on this little peninsula, Amazon is the modern equivalent of the Sears Roebuck catalog of a century ago. Amazon is a great place to turn when you’re looking for something specific that just isn’t readily accessible in the stores of Door County. I’ll admit that I shop at Amazon every now and then.

But I’ll tell you what I won’t do. As president and chief executive officer of the Door County Community Foundation, I will never encourage our friends and donors to shop on Amazon. Doing so would be disrespectful to our local business community.

Yet, unfortunately, too many of our local charities are doing just that.

In 2013, Amazon launched a program called Amazon Smile. Amazon donates half of one percent of every sale generated through the Amazon Smile website to a charity of the shopper’s choosing. I use it periodically with my personal online shopping and have no qualms with it at all. Businesses are not required to set up corporate giving programs, so when a giant company like Amazon voluntarily does so, it should be thanked for its willingness to give back.

What I object to are the charities of Door County that ask local business owners for a contribution then turn around and publicly tell their donors to shop on Amazon. Unfortunately, this is a growing trend among our local nonprofits and it’s something we as a community should demand come to an end. Just look closely at the websites, e-newsletters or social media feeds of an increasing number of Door County charities and you’ll find the Amazon Smile logo on display.

“I didn’t realize local charities were doing that,” said Mike Felhofer of the Door County Candle Company when he first learned of the practice. “It is disappointing to say the least.”

It’s frustrating because actively encouraging local residents to shop on Amazon is both unfair to Door County businesses and ultimately counterproductive for our community.

Ask anyone who owns a local company and they’ll tell you just how often they are inundated with requests for a donation. It can be quite overwhelming. Thankfully, the vast majority of our local entrepreneurs make gifts to all kinds of organizations without any expectation that the charity encourage people to shop at their store in return.

Carrie Hauser and Kim Herlache of Cornucopia are regularly asked to give and they frequently do so. “Now that we own the shop, we have less time to volunteer…but we do our part to support keeping this community as strong, healthy, supportive, and creative as it is. We do this by contributing to as many volunteers/organizations as possible. We feel this helps us all,” said Hauser.

Hauser and Herlache donate because they believe nonprofit organizations play a critical role in making our community stronger. They’re not asking for anything in return other than a “thank you” and a commitment that the organization do good things with their gift. Generous businesses like Cornucopia don’t expect Door County’s charities to tell people to shop at their store, but something has gone horribly wrong when those same nonprofit organizations publicly tell the community to shop at Amazon instead.

Diane Magolan of Monticello on Jefferson said that our charities “know so well the importance of community, of offering help and services where they are needed. Yet they seem a bit blindsided by what community means.” Magolan said that in our local nonprofits’ zeal to raise more money, “I think logic and consequences sometimes get lost. People need to think before [they] send their money to Amazon and the other big boxes that pretend to care for your little town or cause. What they do is actually export value from our local communities.”

I’ve written on several occasions of my firm belief that charities should avoid encouraging their donors to shop at one store over another. Nonprofit organizations solicit contributions from the entire community and that often includes competing businesses. It would be disrespectful to accept a freely offered gift from one company only to then encourage people to shop at another in exchange for some tiny percentage of sales. As a best practice, nonprofit organizations should simply avoid encouraging the community to frequent any particular business.

However, the one thing all of Door County’s charities can and should do is encourage people to buy local whenever practical. When people spend their money at our local stores, it creates jobs in Door County and generates the wealth that makes charitable giving possible in the first place.

“Retail businesses, any business in this beautiful but very seasonal community, are fragile,” said Vicki Wilson of Door County Coffee & Tea Co. “We hire and keep employees year round and during the quiet season, things get quite lean. For us to survive and be open to provide entertainment, hospitality, dining options to our community we need to be financially healthy.”

The people of Door County will always do some of their shopping online or at the malls in the bigger cities to our south. That’s just the reality of living in a place with limited options. But our community will quickly lose the wealth needed to “give local” if we don’t make an equal commitment to try to “buy local” first.

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

Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Door-Tran

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Door-Tran a Sustainability Grant from the Anne and Richard Egan Charitable Fund, the Minahan-MacNeil Family Fund, and the Order of the Eastern Star Honor Chapter #1 of the State of Wisconsin Charitable Fund. This grant helps to provide transportation to Door County residents who cannot afford the half-price travel vouchers program. This program is the last affordable option as the fare is based on a person’s ability to pay.

2017-06-06 Door-tran

“In order to ensure that transportation for Door County residents is available, affordable and accessible, Door Tran was launched in 2007,” said Bret Bicoy, president and CEO of the Door County Community Foundation. “Due to a recent resident survey, it was evident that affordability was the largest barrier to accessing transportation.”

Pictured from left to right are Bret Bicoy, President and CEO of the Door County Community Foundation & Pamela Busch, Mobility Manager for Door-Tran.
Door-Tran works closely with 41 dedicated volunteers in the County-Wide Volunteer Transportation Program. The volunteers reside throughout the County and have communicated their desire to assist those who are in need. Residents who need transportation have also become accustomed to contacting Door-Tran to meet their needs. Because of the support and the collaboration that has taken place, Door-Tran is viewed as the transportation hub for our community.

For more information regarding the programs and services provided by Door-Tran, please call 920-743-9999 or visit www.door-tran.com.

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

The Women’s Fund of Door County has awarded the Door County YMCA a Sustainability Grant. This grant allowed eleven 5th grade girls to participate in Girls Night Out.

Girls Night Out is a 9-week program created and designed to help 5th-grade girls successfully navigate what can be a challenging phase in their lives and make it a positive and healthy experience. Participants were involved in hands-on activities that helped them to understand and make their way through the social, emotional, and physical challenges that lie before them, as well as explore the benefits of healthy choices that include nutrition, physical activity, and building emotional resiliency.

“As in every community, there is a need to help girls understand and prepare for the changes that occur within themselves emotionally, and around them while transitioning into their teenage year,” said Laurel Hauser, Vice Chair of the Women’s Fund of Door County. “We are pleased to provide this grant for Girls Night Out so the YMCA can effectively tackle the major changes and issues that 5th-grade girls face in daily life.”

2017-09-28-wf-ymca.jpgPictured from left to right Laurel Hauser, Vice Chair of the Women’s Fund of Door County and Sarah Gavin and Tyler Powell of the YMCA.

The mission of the Door County YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all through program centers located in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay.  The Door County YMCA touches the lives of more than 7,800 individuals annually and seeks to strengthen the foundation of our community by providing people of all ages with the resources and solutions for healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.

For more information regarding the Door County YMCA, please call (920) 743-4949 or visit www.doorcountyymca.org.

The Door County Community Foundation’s Sustainability Grants program distributes grant dollars from funds such as the Arts Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Green Fund, Health & Human Needs Fund, Education Fund, Historic Preservation Fund, Healthy Water 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 $20 million in charitable assets.

 

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