Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes a Sustainability Grant from the Children and Youth Fund. This grant supports the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Girl Scouts in Door County will participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) and grow in a ladder of leadership through age appropriate programs. GSLE is an outcomes-based program that uses age appropriate activities designed to provide a foundation of skills and experiences girls need to reach their full potential. The program focuses on 15 outcomes helping girls discover who they are as individuals, identifying their own skills, interests, and values; helping girls to connect and team with others of diverse backgrounds and opinions, with understanding and empathy; and helping girls feel empowered to identify needs around them, form a plan, and make a positive difference.

girlscouts“The world needs girls who understand at an early age how important their leadership abilities and skills are for themselves, their families, our communities, and our global environment,” said Jacinda Duffin, board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “Girls need the confidence to raise their hand in class to ask questions, to add their insights to the conversations around them, and to conquer the many challenges the world will offer throughout life. We are pleased to award this grant to the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes who is working with the girls in our community to instill those skills.”

The mission of Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, Inc. (GSNWGL) is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts offers activities which address girls’ current interests and their future roles as women. In partnership with committed volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives: leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

For more information on the Washington Island Community Health Program, please visit http://www.gsnwgl.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 Door County Community Foundation awards grant to the Washington Island Community Health Program

The Door County Community Foundation has awarded the Washington Island Community Health Program (WICHP) a Sustainability Grant from the John and Nell Herlache Community Impact Fund and the Carol Coryell Scholarship Fund for Deserving Students. This grant supports the Facts of Later Life Luncheon Program.

The Food, Fun, and Facts of Later Life Luncheons address the needs of the older adult Washington Island. The monthly outreach program offers affordable lunch meetings at a local restaurant with an educational speaker on various pertinent topics.

2018-03-31 WICHP
Pictured from left to right are Christine Anderson, R.N. and Executive Director of WICHP and Marcia Smith, Vice Chair of the Door County Community Foundation.

“Nearly 40% of Washington Island residents are 65 years of age or older. the Facts of Later Life Luncheon Program works to keep seniors in their homes safely and independently,” said Marcia Smith, Vice Chair of the Door County Community Foundation. “We are pleased to provide this grant that will not only teach the seniors of Washington Island, but also create a stronger support network within our community.”

The Washington Island Community Health Program seeks to empower and support Island residents to make choices for successful aging, to maintain garden education with group classes, one-on-one gardener support, and onsite material references.

For more information on the Washington Island Community Health Program, please call 920-847-2108

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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Lessons from a Decade at the Door County Community Foundation

In February I celebrated 10 years working for the Door County Community Foundation. While this is the longest I’ve ever been in one particular job, I’ll soon be celebrating 20 years working the field of community foundations, and a whole lot longer working and volunteering for charity in general. While I usually prefer to look forward rather than back, perhaps it’s inevitable that a milestone anniversary causes me to reflect on the years that have gone by.

Lately I’ve been wondering what I’ve learned during my career in philanthropy this far. If I could somehow go back in time and talk with my younger self, what is it that I’d like him to know as he begins a lifetime working for community foundations?

First, I’d point out to my younger self that our endowments allow a community foundation to take the long view in a world with a short attention span.

An endowment is a fund that invests its principal in perpetuity so that it will forever generate an income stream to support charitable work. A primary goal of every community foundation in the country is to create and grow endowment funds. Because an endowment is designed to last forever, that gives a community foundation the ability to work on a longer time horizon than any other kind of charity.

At the Door County Community Foundation, we can and should attend to the current issues of the day, but our endowments call us to think not just in terms of the next five years, but the next 50. For instance, our COIN micro-loan program has made modest investments in multiple small businesses with the idea that in time a few might expand and provide more year-round jobs. Our initiative Discuss Door County brought the community together to talk about the challenges and opportunities we will face in the coming years because of our rapidly aging community. Our Women’s Fund is about to announce a major investment in women’s education that will one day improve the lives of countless women and girls in Door County. And in May we’ll be kicking off Celebrate Water, a yearlong series of activities to remind us of all that water means to Door County, the threats facing our water, and inspiring us to take action now so that we never find ourselves in a crisis situation.

The Door County Community Foundation needs to be patient and strategic enough to plant the seed of an idea today that might not bloom for a decade or more. We need to identify and invest in addressing the seemingly small challenge now so it doesn’t become a full-blown crisis 20 years from now.

Second, I’d explain to my younger self that as a community foundation grows larger, it should become bolder as well.

By its very design, a community foundation is meant to accumulate assets. The most obvious and easily measurable asset is financial – the money that has been generously donated to us. Less apparent, but equally valuable, are the vibrant relationships that a community foundation builds with individuals and institutions in its community. By doing its job well, a community foundation also earns perhaps its most valuable asset of all, a reputation for being worthy of the community’s trust. These collective assets give a community foundation a unique ability to enter spaces in civic life that other organizations dare not go.

At the Door County Community Foundation, our family of charitable funds have been the beneficiary of a remarkable level of generosity from the people of Door County – nearly $26 million in the last 10 years alone. That financial strength allows us to take calculated risks that other organizations simply cannot afford to take.

We’ve also worked hard to earn the reputation as an “interested third-party” when bringing groups together to work to improve Door County. We’re not “DIS-interested” because we are very interested in the outcome, but we are a “third-party” in that our funding is not dependent on that outcome. That gives us a freedom to search for the best solution to a problem without having to worry about how it impacts our bottom line.

Our Board of Directors and professional staff have spent an inordinate amount of time focused on ensuring that the Door County Community Foundation is a strong institution in every way. We do this not to selfishly protect that which we now have, but for precisely the opposite reason. Our organization’s internal strength gives it the ability to look outward and serve Door County in an increasingly bold and entrepreneurial way.

Third, I’d make sure my younger self knows that no one does anything worthwhile alone. People make all the difference in the world.

When I started working at the Door County Community Foundation, I was the first full-time employee taking over the reins from the retiring Jane Stevenson. That was 10 years ago, yet the community foundation still receives gifts from people who were first introduced to us by Jane. Dave Swender was our first part-time administrative assistant, initially as a volunteer, then as an employee. In the years since our professional staff has been joined by Christine Henkel, Kacie Mueller and Julie Haen, each of whom still plays a key and essential role in our work every day.

In the last decade, Dick Egan was the longest serving board chair, followed by John Herlache, Dave Eliot and Polly Alberts. They were joined by two dozen other talented people on the Board during their respective tenures. There are also hundreds more good people who have served on various advisory boards, committees, and task forces of the many component funds and initiatives that operate under our corporate umbrella.

Of course, all of this is possible because more than 10,000 people and businesses have generously donated to the Community Foundation during the last 10 years. Altogether, because of the hard work, generosity, and commitment of these giving souls, the Door County Community Foundation has been able to distribute $15.3 million in grants, scholarships, and other charitable projects in Door County. These good people working together are indeed making all the difference in our little world.

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

When a Career Becomes a Vocation

While I find it hard to believe so many years have gone by, my rapidly graying head of hair is proof to the world that February 2018 marks my 10th anniversary at the Door County Community Foundation.

In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks writes that when you choose a career you are looking for work that provides both financial and psychological benefits. You want your career to offer pathways to future job opportunities and room for advancement. If your current job is no longer providing what you deem to be sufficient financial or psychological rewards, you simply choose a different one.

A vocation, on the other hand, is more than a career. Brooks writes that people who have a vocation generally feel like they have no choice in the matter. A vocation is a calling. Brooks notes that you’ve found your vocation when doing anything else makes your life unrecognizable to you.

Philanthropy has been my career for virtually all of my adult life. The Door County Community Foundation is actually the fourth community foundation for which I’ve worked. In fact, I’ve been involved in philanthropy in one form or another for four decades. The path of my career began in third grade when I walked through the mall asking stores to donate items we could raffle off to benefit Pearl Ridge Elementary School in my hometown of Aiea, Hawaii.

Traveling on this career path is what brought me to Door County in the first place. Yet at some point in these last 10 years, the Door County Community Foundation had become more than a job to me. It has become my vocation.

Undoubtedly to the outside world, this is a subtle change and functionally it may not make much difference at all in what I do every day. Yet I know for certain this change has occurred within me. I couldn’t tell you exactly when the transition took place, but I know the precise moment I first realized that working for the Door County Community Foundation had become more than just a step on a career path.

About a year and a half ago, two jobs on opposite sides of the planet opened up at almost exactly the same time. The first position was to lead a foundation in Green Bay – the birthplace of my wife and the city in which we lived during the first years of our marriage. The second job was to lead a foundation in Honolulu – the place of my birth and a city which still tugs at the strings of my heart. Both jobs had long been on my radar screen as possible next steps on my career journey.

Now goodness knows it’s entirely possible, and maybe even likely, that I’m a much better looking candidate on paper than in person. These foundations in Green Bay and Honolulu might not have given me a second look. But that’s beside the point. For the very first time in my life, I didn’t want them to look at me at all.

I remember spending an evening of soul searching with my lovely wife Cari. We discussed how the large asset bases of these foundations could be unleashed to do incredible things under the right leadership. We talked about how these two jobs will likely not open up again for a decade or more. We confronted the reality that as I approach my 50th year of life, I have only one career move left to give me the time necessary to make a meaningful impact in a new community. And while trying to avoid being too shallow, we certainly liked the idea of me making a chunk more money.

The choice was obvious. Of course I was going to pursue both job opportunities. They were in cities we love, at institutions I know, and either job would be a natural next step on my career path.

Yet as much as I tried, I simply could not imagine doing anything other than what I’m doing right now. My life without the Door County Community Foundation – and Door County – would be unrecognizable to me. This place, these people, this community, this work – its past, present, and future have all become inextricably intertwined with me in ways I never expected.

Brooks writes that people with a vocation experience “a certain rapt expression, a hungry desire to perform a dance or run an organization to its utmost perfection. They feel the joy of having their values in deep harmony with their behavior. They experience a wonderful certainty of action that banishes weariness from even the hardest days.”

Certainly Brooks is writing about people whose influence and impact are far greater than anything I will ever achieve.  I have no delusions about my importance in this world. Mine is a modest existence on a small peninsula that I try to better through my work a tiny foundation. But for the first time in my life, I truly understand what it means to have a vocation.

I’ve been at the Door County Community Foundation – and in Door County – for exactly 10 years. Yet it feels like I’ve been here forever, and as if I’m just getting started. There are days which are incredibly rewarding and fill me with satisfaction. Then there are others which frustrate me and demand that I refocus my energies on the task at hand.

Either way, after 10 years, one thing has become crystal clear to me. I simply cannot imagine doing anything other than what I’m doing right now.

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

Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to The Community’s Garden

The Door County Community Foundation has The Community’s Garden a Sustainability Grant from the John and Nell Herlache Community Impact Grant and the Green Fund. This grant provides financial assistance to improve garden accessibility for gardens of all abilities.

“Over one-third of the gardens with The Community’s Garden are 70 years of age or older. With additional years of age, the physical work of gardening becomes difficult,” said Dick Hauser, Treasurer of the Door County Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is pleased to provide financial assistance that will fund a few key additions, making the garden more accessible.”

2017-12-28 Community Garden
Pictured from left to right are John Meredith, Vice President of The Community’s Garden, Dick Hauser, Treasurer of the Door County Community Foundation, Carmen Schroeder, Secretary of the Community’s Garden, and Jenny Spude, President of the Community’s Garden

Pictured from left to right are John Meredith, Vice President of The Community’s Garden, Dick Hauser, Treasurer of the Door County Community Foundation, Carmen Schroeder, Secretary of the Community’s Garden, and Jenny Spude, President of the Community’s Garden.

 

The Community’s Garden provides rental space to residents in the community. The garden helps alleviate financial restraints of gardening by providing seeds, donated plants, tools, water, and will grant a plot renter the options of a “no charge” plot (in exchange for 4 hours of additional volunteerism at the garden). The Community’s Garden provides onsite garden education with group classes, one-on-one gardener support, and onsite material references.

For more information The Community’s Garden, please visit www.TheCommunitysGarden.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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Our Most Important Resolution

As I began crafting this first column of 2018, someone casually suggested that I write about the progress of my previous New Year’s resolutions and the those I’ll be making for the coming year. That sounded like a promising column idea except for the fact that in my nearly five decades on this Earth, I don’t ever recall having made a New Year’s resolution.

It’s not that I take issue with the idea of resolving to do better in one’s life. Rather I never quite understood the importance of January 1 as being the time to do it. That always seemed a bit arbitrary to me. If I decide to commit to losing weight, being a better husband, or putting more money in savings, why should I wait until January 1 to make that change?

Every day life presents us with limitless opportunities for self-improvement. Should I eat that second cookie or show some self-restraint?

Do I let today’s frustrations influence the tone I take with my wife or use kind words instead?

Should I buy that newfangled gadget or add that money to savings?

Literally each day we are offered a series of choices to make. We should take advantage of these opportunities to become a better person even if the date on the calendar happens to be May 28. Collectively, the choices we make signal to the world what we value most in life and ultimately that will define our character.

All this talk of the new year brings to mind the most important resolution my wife and I made together about 20 years ago. It wasn’t a commitment at the start of a new year, but it remains the central resolution that still guides our life as parents today.

Years ago I was attending a conference at the Yale Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy (now known as the Edward Zigler Center at Yale University). A member of the faculty there made a casual suggestion that still resonates with me two decades later. She wondered why parents aren’t more explicit about defining what they want their children to be like as adults.

She wasn’t talking about preparing a child’s life to be a doctor or to master the skill of playing the violin. Instead she was talking about values. She asked me to imagine my then-infant child as a 24-year-old adult.

What did I want that person to be like? What kind of values did I hope would guide their decision making? She posited that if we parents cannot define those core values during our children’s earliest days, how can we possibly expect to nurture those values within them as they learn and grow up.

This Yale professor was touching upon an idea that is central to every resolution, be it one we make on New Year’s Day or in the dog days of summer.

We should all endeavor to live a deliberate life. Rather than trying to predict what the future holds, we should define it for ourselves then work as best we can to realize that new tomorrow. Certainly the universe will present us with twists and turns we cannot anticipate, but unless we first define for ourselves where we’re going, how can we reasonably expect to get there.

Upon my return home from Yale, my wife Cari and I sat down and separately composed a list of values that we wanted our kids to hold most dear when they became adults. We then exchanged our lists and talked through the ideas. Eventually we defined a few key shared values that we hoped would guide our children’s decisions throughout their lives.

The ideas themselves were rather simple. We want our kids to be generous, confident and happy. We turned those values into active statements that we framed and placed throughout our home, many of which still hang to this day. Those prints remind our kids to be generous, to believe in themselves, and that family is everything (which we hold to be central to happiness).

We resolved to make these simple ideas the lens through which our six kids view the world. Our great hope was that when our children are confronted with life’s many questions, their answers would be shaped by these values.

What we didn’t anticipate was how much writing down our resolution caused us to change our own behavior. If these values truly are the most important characteristics we want to nurture in our children, then by definition, everything else is a secondary consideration. As a result, we just don’t get all that worked up over little things so long as they aren’t in conflict with the values we hold most dear.

In practical terms it means we’ve learned to accept that the bedroom of one of our daughters is going to be messier than we’d like because being neat and orderly isn’t on our list of most cherished values. But when our daughter found out that a friend didn’t have a tree this Christmas, she quickly used her allowance to buy one and secretly left it on her friend’s front porch.

We didn’t complain when one of our sons dyed his hair green because appearance isn’t a central value for us. Yet when one of his siblings was experiencing a personal crisis completely unbeknownst to us, our son was the rock upon which his sibling relied.

We’ve tried as parents to focus overwhelmingly on the values we hold most dear so that our children learn those lessons first.

Live deliberately. Spend some time thinking about what is most significant to you, your family and/or your children. Write it down. Then resolve to work toward that goal, whether it’s the new year or the middle of summer. Doing so will help you focus on what is truly important in life.

Although I wouldn’t mind if my daughter picked up her room a bit more often.

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

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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