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 will allow 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 Jennifer Moeller, 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.”

2018 0709 YMCA - WF
Pictured from left to right are April Clark Human Resources and Financial Development Associate of the Door County YMCA and Jennifer Moeller, 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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Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to the Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded the Door County Medical Center a Sustainability Grant from the Ruth & Hartley Barker Memorial Fund and the John and Nell Herlache Community Impact Fund. This grant supports the Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic.

The Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic provides oral health care to the youth and adults of Door and Kewaunee Counties. The clinic serves those who are on Medicaid and/or those with no dental insurance that are low-income with no dental home.

“The market value of the dental work that the Dental Clinic performed in 2017, if done in a private setting, was $1.33 million,” said Glenn Timmerman, board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is pleased to provide this grant which will help cover the costs of providing care to uninsured children and adults in our community.”

2018 0711 DCMC
Pictured, from left to right are Andrew Boettcher, Assistant Director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation, Glenn Timmerman, board member of the Door County Community Foundation, Tonya Fischer, Door County Dental Clinic Director, and Mike Herlache, Executive Director, Door County Medical Center Foundation.

Founded in 1975 Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic provides oral health care to the youth and adults of Door and Kewaunee Counties. The clinic serves those who are on Medicaid and/or those with no dental insurance that are low-income with no dental home.

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 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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Lessons from Montgomery and Lolly Ratajczak

Every year it’s my responsibility to say a few words at our community’s annual Celebration of Giving luncheon about why the Door County Community Foundation has selected the honoree. My assigned task is to articulate the themes from a person’s life of service in hopes that there are lessons we can draw.

DSC_0135 croppedThe 2018 Philanthropist of the Year is Lolly Ratajczak. With her husband Dave, Lolly found Door County in the 1960s and fell in love with its natural beauty. She assumed volunteer leadership positions with Birch Creek Music Performance Center, the YMCA, and the Door County String Academy. She gave of her time to countless other groups and was a founding member of the Women’s Fund of Door County.

In preparation for this year’s celebration, I found myself re-reading the works of Paul Loeb. In his famous book, Soul of a Citizen, and his subsequent anthology, The Impossible Will Take a Little While, Loeb reflects at length on the civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Now I’m sure that most everyone knows the basics of the story of Rosa Parks. She was the 42-year-old African American woman who on Dec. 1, 1955, refused to obey an Alabama bus driver’s order that she give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger who had just gotten on the crowded vehicle.

Her refusal would inspire the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That boycott, in turn, would elevate one of its leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., to the national stage. Eventually the Montgomery Bus Boycott would galvanize our nation and become one of the most important moments of the civil rights movement.

Of course, for those of you who know Lolly, you know that her exceptional grace and modesty is making her cringe right now by my trying to compare her to Rosa Parks. I’m not going to embarrass Lolly by trying to equate her with Rosa Parks, but I’d ask for your indulgence because there is a parallel I’d like to explore.

The common portrayal of Mrs. Parks is as an uninvolved person, sitting on the sidelines of segregation, who simply got tired of giving in and impulsively decided that she would no longer subjugate herself to the racist and obscene Jim Crow laws.

What many of us have forgotten is that Mrs. Parks was not the first person arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. In fact, before Mrs. Parks was arrested in 1955, Claudette Colvin, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith and Aurelia Browder were also arrested, on the same bus system, in the same city, for the same crime.

Loeb reminds us that the leaders of the NAACP created a list of specific candidates with the inner strength, and personal stories, that the NAACP believed were well suited to undertaking this very specific act of resistance. Mrs. Parks was simply the next name up on the list.

Now this truth in no way diminishes the bravery, power and historical importance of Mrs. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat. But this tremendously consequential act, and the historic changes that would follow, did not begin with Mrs. Park on that fateful day on the bus. Rather, it began with all the humble, frequently invisible, and often frustrating work, that Mrs. Parks and countless others undertook in the years before that pivotal day in history.

Mrs. Parks had been an active member of the Civil Rights Movement for many years before then. She had been the secretary of the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP. She had even recently attended a training program on the techniques of peaceful resistance.

The stories we are fed, be it in People Magazine or on video clips on Facebook, are of individual people who come out of nowhere to take sudden and dramatic stands against the world. That leads us to the false conclusion that change occurs instantly, when one brave individual decides to take a lonely and bold stand.

Loeb writes that the myth of Mrs. Parks as a lone activist reinforces a notion that anyone who takes a committed public stand, or at least an effective one, has to be a larger-than-life figure – someone with more time, energy, courage, vision or knowledge than any normal person could ever possess. When we enshrine our heroes on pedestals, it becomes hard for us mere mortals to measure up in our eyes. We find it hard to imagine that ordinary human beings, with ordinary flaws, can do extraordinary things when we come together in service of a common purpose.

The lesson of Rosa Parks is not of the singular hero standing alone against the world. Mrs. Parks’ journey informs us that progress is the result of people inspired by a shared vision coming together to take deliberate, incremental action. And sometimes those actions can change the world.

Therein is the parallel with our friend Lolly Ratajczak. Lolly was not the first person to serve as president of the Board of Directors of the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. Nor was she the last. Yet when her turn came, the organization took a single step in the right direction. Then she helped it take another step. And then another. Eventually, those steps took Birch Creek on a journey to a place almost unrecognizable from where it began.

And Lolly would be the first to tell you that she didn’t do it alone. But it was her determination to succeed combined with the dignity with which she carries herself, and the graciousness through which she treats others, that inspired people to join her on that journey. Time and again, this has been the pattern of Lolly’s life of service here in Door County.

Lolly is an exceptional person who has unquestionably helped our community do exceptional things. But the lesson of Lolly is that within each of us is the capacity to be an exceptional person as well. If we also approach our work with determination, dignity and grace, we too might inspire others to join with us. Then perhaps, like Lolly, we can accomplish exceptional things for our beloved Door County.

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

Scholarships Totaling Over $76,000 Awarded to Door County Graduating Seniors

The Door County Community Foundation is pleased to announce that, thanks to the generosity of our donors, over $76,000 in scholarships has been awarded to Door County students pursuing a post-secondary education.

Please join us in congratulating the following recipients:

John Bobb Memorial Methodist Scholarship
Brooke Klansky, Sturgeon Bay $250.00
Parents: Paul and Sheila Klansky

John Bobb Memorial Sevastopol Scholarship
Mallory Staats, Sevastopol $250.00
Parents: Jason Staats and Jennifer Taylor

Carole Counard Scholarship
Lamyra Adams, Sevastopol $1,000.00
Parents: Jacob and Sarah Duginski

Carole Counard Scholarship
Austin Vandertie, Southern Door $1,000.00
Parents: Dan and Julie Vandertie

Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Scholarship
Ava Hitzeman, Gibraltar $6,000.00
Parents: Brent and Camilla Hitzeman

Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Scholarship
Mackenzie Straub, Gibraltar $6,000.00
Parents: Carol Straub and the late Gary Straub

Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Scholarship
Zoey Kohler, Southern Door $6,000.00
Parents: Jason and Melissa Kohler

Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Scholarship
Nathan LeRoy, Sturgeon Bay $6,000.00
Parents: Michael and Lori LeRoy

Door Property Owners Scholarship
Ava Hitzeman, Gibraltar $1,000.00
Parents: Brent and Camilla Hitzeman

Tessa Erickson Memorial Scholarship
Collin Duffy, Gibraltar $2,500.00
Parents: Patrick and Julie Duffy

Tessa Erickson Memorial Scholarship
Raina Haleen, Gibraltar $2,500.00
Parents: Todd and Amy Haleen

Johnny G Family Scholarship
Raina Haleen, Gibraltar $1,500.00
Parents: Todd and Amy Haleen

Johnny G Hospitality Scholarship
Mercedes Zayac, Gibraltar $1,500.00
Parents: Karen Garza

Stanley Greene Memorial Scholarship
Andie Rockendorf, Sturgeon Bay $1,000.00
Parents: Todd and Kathy Rockendorf

Stanley Greene Memorial Scholarship
Jared Van Bramer, Sturgeon Bay $1,000.00
Parents: Dennis and Amy Van Bramer

Darlene and Wayne Harmann Scholarship
Connor Sannito, Sturgeon Bay $1,000.00
Parents: Pat Sannito

Ellie Helm Memorial Scholarship
Sofia Jauregui, Gibraltar $2,500.00
Parents: Armando and Martha Jauregui

Hope Church Scholarship
Nathan LeRoy, Sturgeon Bay $1,000.00
Parents: Michael and Lori LeRoy

Jacksonport Women’s Club
Claire Brauer, Sevastopol $1,000.00
Parents: Jay and Karen Brauer

Orville F. Kay Scholarship
Jared Baudhuin, Southern Door $5,000.00
Parents: Noel and Christina Baudhuin

Orville F. Kay Scholarship
Andrew Montana, Southern Door $5,000.00
Parents: Camilo and Hollie Montana

Orville F. Kay Scholarship
Austin Vandertie, Southern Door $5,000.00
Parents: Dan and Julie Vandertie

Adam LaLuzerne Humanitarian Scholarship
Allison Alberts, Sturgeon Bay $500.00
Parents: Jamie and Amy Alberts

Adam LaLuzerne Humanitarian Scholarship
Megan Richard, Sturgeon Bay $500.00
Parents: Mike and Heidi Richard

Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd H. Londo Scholarship
Mackenzie Straub, Gibraltar $500.00
Parents: Carol Straub and the late Gary Straub

Virginia Muckian Schneider Memorial Scholarship
Mercedes Zayac, Gibraltar $1,500.00
Parents: Karen Garza

Armella Rita Norton Scholarship Fund
Hanna Michalsen, Gibraltar $10,000.00
Parents: Bryan Broyles and Maia Michalsen

Robert C. Solomon Memorial Scholarship
Allison Alberts, Sturgeon Bay $1,000.00
Parents: Jamie and Amy Alberts

Southern Door Booster Club Eagle Award
Jared Conrad, Southern Door $250.00

Southern Door Booster Club Eagle Award
Samuel Gerend, Southern Door $250.00
Parents: Dean and Jackie Gerend

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Gabrielle Atkins, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: Len and Stephanie Atkins

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Samuel Gerend, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: Dean and Jackie Gerend

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Meghan LaCrosse, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: Jeremy and Tracy LaCrosse

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Hanna Pierre, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: Joseph and Kim Pierre

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Jennifer Vandertie, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: Bill and Deb Vandertie

Southern Door Booster Club Scholarship
Logan Walker, Southern Door $200.00
Parents: David and Kirsten Walker

Robert J. Stoffel Sr. Memorial Scholarship
Bennett Rabach, Sevastopol $1,500.00
Parents: Stephen and Ann Rabach

The Sue Todey Drug Alliance Prevention Scholarship
Jillian Jorns, Sevastopol $500.00
Parents: Ethan and Pam Jorns

Applications for these and more than one hundred additional scholarship opportunities can be found by visiting the Door County Scholarship Network website at www.doorcountyscholarships.org. The Scholarship Network website links students to hundreds of thousands of available scholarship dollars.

Celebrate Water

Door County’s unique geography makes our water vulnerable. As a peninsula situated on the Niagara Escarpment, our thin soil layer, combined with the vertical and horizontal fracturing common in our bedrock, makes protecting our water a priority. Healthy water is essential to Door County’s human, environmental and economic health.

Honestly, it wasn’t until about four years ago that I learned enough about water to be able to write that last paragraph.

It was around that time Coggin Heeringa walked into the offices of the Door County Community Foundation to say we needed to be doing more to call attention to the threats to our water. I had known Coggin for several years by then, both as a friend to the community foundation and as the executive director of the environmental learning center Crossroads at Big Creek. More than anything else, Coggin is an educator. While she has taught most of my children, apparently the lessons in my family weren’t passing from the child to the parent so Coggin decided it was time to educate me directly.

What I learned is that my mother-in-law was right. I am part of the problem.

I absolutely love hiking through Newport State Park with my wife, walking north along the shore of Europe Bay then returning south along the banks of Europe Lake. We store our kayaks on a pulley system in our garage so we can quickly lower them onto the roof of the car, drop them in the water at Otumba, then spend many an early summer evening kayaking along Potawatomi State Park after a long day at work.

Water is an enormous part of our life and one of the things we love most about Door County. Yet we rarely thought about it. Like the fish in the sea that doesn’t think about the ocean precisely because it is immersed in it, I never thought about this magnificent natural resource precisely because we live on a peninsula surrounded by it.

If people like me who love being on and around the water don’t work to protect it, then who will?

Ultimately, Coggin’s passion found a kindred spirit in Annie Egan. With Annie stepping forward to chair this effort, on May 5 our community will formally launch a year-long adventure called Celebrate Water.

Administratively, Celebrate Water is an initiative of Healthy Water Door County, a fund of the Door County Community Foundation. That already sounds like a lot of players, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Celebrate Water is the banner under which an incredible number of charities and businesses are coming together to work to protect one of Door County’s most precious resources.

The first phase of Celebrate Water lives up to its name. It begins with a series of celebratory events and activities to remind ourselves just how much water means to life on this peninsula. It involves concerts at Birch Creek and Midsummer’s Music, exhibitions at Edgewood Orchard and Margaret Lockwood Gallery, performances at the Steel Bridge Songfest and the Peg Egan, educational opportunities at the Peninsula Players and Björklunden, and too many other events to list here.

Virtually every significant arts and culture group in Door County is hosting some kind of activity as a part of this first phase of our effort to Celebrate Water. Look for the Celebrate Water logo in program brochures and playbills everywhere, or visit CelebrateWaterDoorCounty.org for a list of events. It’s being updated all the time.

That’s just phase one of Celebrate Water. Later this year will begin phase two, an exploration of the threats facing this critically important natural resource. We’ll help the community understand the vulnerabilities facing our water and how our failure to protect it could impact life in Door County. In fall our community will host presentations from scientists and journalists. Documentaries and discussion groups will pop up. Stories will appear in the local media. Our goal is to encourage a real community conversation about water’s importance to Door County and help people understand how much it needs our vigilance.

Then in 2019 the conversation will shift to phase three, inspiring people to take action to protect our water. We’ll learn about the best practices in the field. We’ll hear about how other communities are dealing with the issues we face. Then the entire effort will culminate in the first week of June 2019, with a Water Summit.

Celebrate Water is not a partisan nor ideological effort. Neither will Celebrate Water advocate for any particular legislation or course of action. Yet in this time of heightened political sensitivities and righteous indignation, it’s been asked whether our community can actually have a civil conversation on such a topic. We can if we begin by recognizing the one thing people on all sides of the political aisle have in common in our community.

We all love Door County. We need to have faith that each of us is trying to do what we think is best for our family and our community.

This is the fundamental principle that will be central to every event or activity that occurs. We intend to create safe spaces for differing ideas to be explored, discussed and even debated. While we want people to passionately advocate for policies in which they strongly believe, our goal is to foster a civil discussion in which each of us remains respectful of one another.

We have faith the people of Door County can have a civil dialogue on any issue when our conversation is rooted in our shared love of our families and this beautiful peninsula we call home.

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

Community Foundation Announces Investment in Historic Downtown Sturgeon Bay

“Downtown Sturgeon Bay has had some rough news in recent months,” says Bret Bicoy, President & CEO of the Door County Community Foundation. “Yet we strongly believe that Door County’s largest downtown district has a bright future and we want to be a part of it.” Thus, the Community Foundation announced today that it has purchased the former Baylake Conference Center and Clock Tower property from Nicolet National Bank.

The Community Foundation will move its offices into roughly half the building and configure the remainder of it as a gathering and meeting space for other charities and community groups. “We envision everything from Girl Scout troops to non-profit boards using the community space,” says Bicoy. “We’re investing in technology which will allow the community to safely use the building after regular business hours and on weekends. We hope to create a true gathering place for the people of Door County.”

The Clock Tower and surrounding grassy area is also included in the purchase. Hence, the Community Foundation is pleased to announce its commitment to continue to host an annual Christmas Tree lighting celebration. “Sturgeon Bay Utilities has been a very generous partner in supporting this annual Christmas tradition,” says Bicoy. “We’re honored to be able to work with them to continue this holiday celebration.”

The Community Foundation is also exploring ways to partner with the Sturgeon Bay Visitor’s Center and other community groups to better utilize the Clock Tower green space for the good of our local residents. For example, one of the ideas being considered is a lunchtime outdoor concert series for people who work and live downtown. “The Community Foundation is making an investment in downtown Sturgeon Bay and hope others will join us,” says Bicoy. “We also want to express our gratitude to Nicolet National Bank for selling the Community Foundation this property at such a reasonable and fair price,” says Bicoy. “We hope to continue the bank’s tradition of opening up this facility to the community for the benefit of Sturgeon Bay and all of Door County.”

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 Door-Tran

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded Door-Tran a Sustainability Grant from the John and Nell Community Impact Fund. This grant supports the vehicle Repair Grant Program. Door-Tran’s Vehicle Repair Grant Program assists individuals who are on a fixed income, such as SSI and SSDI, with car repairs.

2018-05-01 Door-Tran

“One of Door-Tran’s main strengths is the role it continues to play as the central coordinator and catalyst for addressing the highly complex problems of available, affordable, and accessible transportation for a diverse and widespread number of Door County residents,” said Dick Egan, Board Member of the Door County Community Foundation. “We are pleased to provide this grant to an organization that is doing such great work in our community.”

Pictured from left to right are Nikki Voight, Mobility Manager Assistant and Dick Egan, Board Member of the Door County Community Foundation.

Door-Tran is a creative community network dedicated to connecting people to transportation services that are affordable, available, and accessible.  For more information on Door-Tran, visit http://www.door-tran.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.