It took just over a year to get going, but the Goessel Community Foundation is up and running, working to preserve the community’s existing wealth and finding ways to support local people and programs.
Foundation Chair Cindy Wiens is joined on the board by Myron Schmidt, vice chairman; Anita Goertzen, secretary/treasurer; John Fast, Patsy Dirksen, Peggy Jay, Karen Dalke, and Linda Peters. Two weeks ago, Wiens presented Goessel Community Foundation brochures and information to USD 411 Board of Education and announced plans to schedule more introductory presentations to other groups in the Goessel area in the near future.
“We exist to enhance the quality of education and economic life in Goessel,” Wiens said at the meeting. “It used to be inheritance money would stay in the community, but now, like many other communities, families get spread apart and the only time people come back is for a funeral. The money is split up and leaves the community with those family members. A community foundation is one way we can work together through estate donations and wills, to support our roots and break out of the cycle of dependency on state and federal governments.”
On Monday, Wiens said the foundation was a few hundred dollars short of reaching their initial impact fund goal of $10,000.
“We are not giving any money out yet,” Wiens said. “But as soon as we sign official papers with the former AGAPE Senior Center, we will be able to set up some beneficiary funds.”
About $20,000 from the sale of the AGAPE building has been designated to the foundation for use in an endowment fund that will support area senior citizens.
“We will be able to use this money to address food, nutrition, health, wellness, transportation, and mobility issues for the elderly in our community,” Wiens said. “Without the foundation, we would not have a way to do this.”
Another project evolving with foundation support for Goessel is the West Branch Park Improvement Fund.
“Money that was set aside for a city water park was given to the foundation by the city,” Wiens said. “This way we can invest and grow that money, and add to it as possible until we are able to address what became a very expensive project.”
Other foundation plans include setting up a scholarship for a graduating Goessel High School senior on an annual basis.
“If people have a specific dream for the Goessel community, or a wish they would like to see fulfilled, please contact us and see what the possibilities are,” Wiens said. “I personally hope we can establish an education fund that would support teachers in getting extra supplies and materials they currently cannot access due to salary or school budget limitations.”
Wiens said the goals of the Goessel Community Foundation were to be a grant maker, a philanthropy tool for other organizations, and to serve as a community leader advocating for community needs.
“In a time where populations are continually shifting and government resources declining, if we can work together to keep at least 5 percent of our wealth in the community, we will be that much better off,” she said.
For more information, contact Wiens at (620) 367-2540, or other board members.