Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to HELP of Door County

The Door County Community Foundation recently HELP of Door County a Sustainability Grant from the Carol Coryell Scholarship Fund for Deserving Students. This grant supports the Voices of Men educational effort.

Voices of Men focuses on engaging men and boys in the work of ending sexual assault and domestic violence.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are often thought of as women’s issues,” said Roger Johnson, Board member of the Door County Community Foundation. “Voices of Men works to change that perception and get people thinking about these as human issues and we are pleased to provide this grant in support of that mission.”

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From left to right are Roger Johnson, Board member of the Door County Community Foundation, Steve Vickman, Executive Director of HELP of Door County.  

HELP of Door County provides services and programs throughout the Door County Peninsula to victims of domestic abuse. They work to improve the well-being and dignity of individuals, families, and intimate relationships. HELP of Door County does this by supporting and enhancing their strengths to reduce the incidence of violence and conflict within their relationships. HELP does not provide counseling but they are here to listen without judgment, support without blaming and empower victims through advocacy and information. Due to the generosity of our community, all victim services are free and confidential. For more information on HELP of Door County, please visit http://helpofdoorcounty.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 Community Foundation was launched in 1999, currently administers more than $22 million in assets, and distributes nearly $2 million to charities in Door County every year.

 

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Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Open Door Bird Sanctuary

The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded the Open Door Bird Sanctuary a Sustainability Grant from the Bernice & Gene Hawkins Charitable Fund. This grant supports the Birds Are for Everyone program.

The Birds Are for Everyone program allows local organizations to enjoy presentations made by the Open Door Bird Sanctuary at a significant discount while maintaining the fee structure which covers the costs of operations.

“The Open Door Bird Sanctuary raises avian awareness and inspires coexistence with the rich natural world of Door County,” said Marcia Smith, Chair of the Door County Community Foundation. “We are pleased to provide this grant which will expand the reach of the Open Door Bird Sanctuary and inspire new audiences who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a program.”

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From left to right, Rob Hults, Executive Director of Open Door Bird Sanctuary, Marcia Smith, Chair of the Door County Community Foundation, and Jillaine Burtin, CFO of the Open Door Bird Sanctuary.

Open Door Bird Sanctuary is a 34-acre sanctuary that provides homes for un-releasable birds of prey. They become incredible ambassadors of the environment and work with us to inspire and educate the public both at the sanctuary and at many other locations.

For more information on the Open Door Bird Sanctuary, please visit www.OpenDoorBirdSanctuary.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 Community Foundation was launched in 1999, currently administers more than $22 million in assets, and distributes nearly $2 million to charities in Door County every year.

 

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20 Years of the Door County Community Foundation

On August 16, 1999, prominent Door County residents Tom Herlache, John Herlache, Mike Felhofer and Eric Paulsen met with representatives of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation to formally organize a board of directors and adopt the articles of incorporation to create the Door County Community Foundation. As the foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, it seemed appropriate for me to talk with a few of the visionaries who brought this institution into existence.

“In 1999, it became obvious that Door County needed its own community foundation,” said John Herlache. “It was felt that Door County should have its own foundation to preserve and grow its own charitable dollars, eliminating outside interests in controlling those funds.”

His brother, Tom Herlache, recognized the significant role that philanthropy plays in our quality of life. Building a strong community foundation would raise the level of charitable giving to benefit all of the community’s charities.

“As you know, Door County’s character and attractiveness are dependent on a high level of philanthropy,” said Tom Herlache. “I was also aware that we wouldn’t need to start from scratch because the Greater Green Bay Foundation would help us get started.”

The Door County Community Foundation was initially organized as an affiliate of the Green Bay entity. Twenty years ago, as a young staff person for the latter organization, one of my responsibilities was to drive up to Door County regularly to help the newly formed board grow its young institution.

Frankly, it was audacious to believe that a county as small as Door could sustain a community foundation of its own because the vast majority of Wisconsin’s counties are served by a larger, multi-county foundation in a big city. Yet ignoring conventional wisdom and making bold, strategic decisions would become a hallmark of this board.

Just a few years after the Door County Community Foundation was launched, the board decided it needed someone to focus exclusively on the county, so it climbed out on a financial limb to hire its first paid staff person.

“Bringing in Jane Stevenson as our executive director was a very big step for us,” said Mike Felhofer. “She was part-time, but we needed her because she kept us organized and focused.”

Then, in 2007, with only about $4 million in total assets, the board made the courageous decision that Door County would be better served long-term if the foundation became fully independent of its friends in Green Bay. Around the same time, Stevenson announced her intention to retire, which presented an enormous challenge for the board. Yet in typical fashion, board members embraced it as an opportunity to chart a bold, new course forward.

“Our next big step was in hiring Bret Bicoy as our president and CEO,” said Felhofer. “As an accomplished professional in this area, it would be a stretch for us, but we knew we could grow into his capability.”

In 2008, I came to work for the Door County Community Foundation full time and quickly learned that thoughtful, visionary thinking was the norm for this board of directors.

In the years since, the Door County Community Foundation has dramatically increased its ability to serve the community by growing its granting programs, expanding its professional staff and working hard to build collaborative solutions to address our shared concerns.

Last year, the foundation stretched itself again by purchasing a building. Thanks to renovations that were paid for completely by a few generous donors, the newly christened Community Foundation Square not only provides ample room for future growth, but it has also become a meeting place for the boards of many charities and local civic groups.

During the last 20 years, the people of Door County have entrusted the foundation with more than $37 million in contributions, $31 million of which has come in during the last decade alone. As a result, nearly $21 million has been granted out to charities in our community. The remaining dollars have been invested to form the corpus of endowment funds that will forever generate revenue for charitable work in Door County.

Under the board’s wise financial stewardship, the foundation’s total assets have increased to nearly $24 million today. This remarkable growth in a county of our size far exceeded the dreams of the people who founded the organization 20 years ago.

“Even $10 million in 20 years would have seemed like a stretch,” said Felhofer. “I don’t think I fully envisioned what our potential was or what we were able to achieve in such a short time.”

Tom Herlache said of the Door County Community Foundation today, “It is larger monetarily, and it is a bigger presence encouraging philanthropy and helping other nonprofits than I envisioned.”

John Herlache noted that ultimately, though, the foundation is just a tool. Money is merely a means to an end.

“The significant community leadership emanating from the Community Foundation has far surpassed the initial concept that most of us had. Convening the public and local agencies and effectively applying resources … to create positive change in the community has been probably the greatest unanticipated accomplishment of the Community Foundation to date.”

 

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

Sustainability Grant Awarded to Leadership Door County

The Women’s Fund of Door County has awarded Leadership Door County a Sustainability Grant. This grant will support emerging women leaders in our community.

“Leadership Door County has been exploring Door County and creating an awareness of its resources and services since its inception,” said Patsy Vollrath, Board Member of the Women’s Fund of Door County. “We are pleased to award this grant as Leadership Door County is uniquely qualified to seek emerging female leaders in the community and encourage them to use their developed leadership skills to support the community in addressing key issues and creating and enriching the environment in Door County.”

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Pictured from left to right are Dawn Vandevoort, President of Leadership Door County, and Patsy Vollrath, Secretary of the Women’s Fund of Door County.

Leadership Door County brings together community members who have diverse viewpoints to become stronger leaders and to understand community issues through experiential education. For more information on Leadership Door County, please visit http://leadershipdoorcounty.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 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 Community Foundation was launched in 1999, currently administers more than $22 million in assets, and distributes nearly $2 million to charities in Door County every year.

 

Community Foundation Awards Sustainability Grant to Lakeshore CAP

The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded Lakeshore CAP a Sustainability Grant from the Ruth & Hartley Barker Memorial Fund for JAK’s Place.

JAK’s Place, a program of Lakeshore CAP, is a peaceful, quiet place where consumers diagnosed and learning to function with their very individual mental illness diagnosis can find the tools they need to help cope and ultimately recover.

“JAK’s Place serves as a mental health resource providing structured and social programming all facilitated by professional volunteers at no cost to the consumers,” said Kacie Mueller, Community Relations Officer at the Door County Community Foundation. “Last year, they served over 200 community members and we are pleased to support the mission of JAK’s Place, as well as their future consumers.”

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From left to right, Kacie Mueller, Community Relations Officer of the Door County Community Foundation, and Jane Herlitz, JAK’s Place Program Director.

JAK’s Place is Lakeshore CAP’s unique local response to the shortage of mental health facilities and practitioners in rural Northeastern Wisconsin.  Known as a mental health drop in center, JAK’s Place empowers adults with diagnosed mental illness by building support and providing the resources to move toward recovery.

For more information about JAK’s Place, please call (920) 818-0525 or visit https://lakeshorecap.org/jaks-place/.

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 Community Foundation was launched in 1999, currently administers more than $22 million in assets, and distributes nearly $2 million to charities in Door County every year.

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Charity, with a Glass of Wine

At the Door County Community Foundation, we recently learned some really interesting things about each other. One of our board members wrote a musical. A member of our professional staff used to dress up as Clifford the Big Red Dog at public events for PBS. The husband of a board member wrote the definitive history of U.S. Senator Philip Hart, for whom the Hart Senate Office Building is named. A member of our team even learned that the “scary” board member is actually “really funny” and a “nice person.”

These are just a few of the things we learned about each other when we and our spouses gathered outside the office to spend some time together as colleagues, volunteers and friends. Gather a group of people who share a common mission, add a few glasses of wine, mix in a couple of plates of hors d’oeuvres and suddenly you find yourself enjoying each other in a whole new and refreshing way.

According to the respected nonprofit governance experts at BoardSource, the leadership of a charity is two and a half times more likely to work as a collaborative team when it deliberately creates social opportunities. In corporations across America, there are many examples of exercises and activities that companies use to build stronger teams, yet too often team building is seen as a wasteful expense in the nonprofit world. A common criticism is that we should be spending our money on our charitable mission, not on an evening of wine and cheese for our nonprofit board and professional staff.

Private companies, however, invest enormous amounts of time and money to build stronger interpersonal bonds among their people precisely because this investment delivers business value to the organization. A strong team fosters good communication and better problem-solving. It encourages camaraderie, which is essential for a motivated workplace. It leads to more satisfied employees, which promotes better customer relations and lower employee turnover. In essence, a strong team creates a synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Businesses invest in socializing and team-building activities precisely because they’re good for business.

As important as team building is in the for-profit world, it’s arguably even more important for the charities of our community for one simple reason: Private companies don’t need volunteers to get their work done.

At a for-profit business, employees tend to interact with each other on a frequent, if not daily basis. Although companies still choose to invest in team-building activities to foster strong interpersonal relations, those bonds are reinforced organically through the daily interactions among co-workers.

At a charity, those regular interactions can be more rare. Even the most involved volunteers might interact with each other and the professional staff only a few times a month. Some boards of directors, like that of the Community Foundation, meet as a whole only four times a year. If we are not deliberate in building vibrant interpersonal bonds among the volunteer board and professional staff, they might never develop at all.

Further, although building a strong sense of teamwork at a charity has all of the same benefits that you’d find in a for-profit business, there is the added benefit to nonprofits of increased volunteer retention. At a corporation, everyone is paid to be there. A charity’s professional staff is obviously paid as well, but by definition, its volunteers are not. If volunteer board members do not find their service experience rewarding or do not appreciate their time spent with colleagues, they will likely resign before their work is truly done.

A board member who reports a strong sense of teamwork among colleagues and the professional staff is almost four times more likely to fully serve out the board term.

BoardSource notes that social opportunities are a critical ingredient in a charity’s organizational culture and overall board satisfaction. Being intentional about creating strong interpersonal bonds makes a real difference in how the board functions, how it interacts with the professional staff and organizational effectiveness as a whole, yet fewer than half of charities report investing in social activities that promote a sense of teamwork.

So gather together your board, professional staff and their spouses and partners over a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres. If don’t know how, invite me, and I’ll gladly show you how to have a nice time with your friends and colleagues – especially if it’s a good glass of wine.

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

Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center Receives Grant from Community Foundation

The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center a Sustainability Grant from the Ruth and Hartley Barker Memorial Fund for the Door County Wayfinding Initiative. This initiative will link our communities together as a unified and economically strong destination experience through the use of vehicular and/or pedestrian wayfinding signage.

“We are pleased to support this Door initiative,” said Marcia Smith, Chair of the Door County Community Foundation. “To have the continuity throughout the peninsula and onto Washington Island would help enrich the visitors’ experience.”

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Pam Seiler, Executive Director of the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center and Marcia Smith, Chair of the Door County Community Foundation.

The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center (SBVC) is dedicated to promoting Sturgeon Bay as Door County’s premier destination to live, work, stay and play. For more information on the SBVC, please call  920-743-6246 or visit https://www.sturgeonbay.net/

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 Community Foundation was launched in 1999, currently administers more than $22 million in assets, and distributes nearly $2 million to charities in Door County every year.

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