In The Beginning
The need and desire for the Foundation grew out of the April 10, 1991 Town meeting. Of the 40 listed needs in the community, persons attending the meeting ranked the need for a foundation eighth in priority. A three-person committee volunteered to work at the task of forming a community foundation. One of the first tasks was to develop a board of director, volunteers representing a cross-section of the community. The present Board of Directors is composed of 9 men and 3 women, ranging in age from 28 to 69 years. There are 5 rural and 7 urban representatives, people from the various community churches plus business and agricultural interests. All are volunteers who are interested in the future of the community.The next task was to seek counsel from persons acquainted with the formation of such an organization. Resource persons included Hugh Wilkins, Geneva Banker and member of the Fillmore County Foundation whose family has community interests; Norene Fitzgerald of the Fillmore County Development Corporation, and Attorney Gerald Whelan of Hastings. Mr. Whelan has ties to the Shickley Community and had been active in the formation of several foundations. He also has been a key figure in the establishment of the Skipton Scholarship fund for the Shickley Public School graduates. Preliminary drafts of Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were drafted by Mr. Whelan and his staff.
On August 29, 1991, an open meeting was called. Approximately 50 persons attended. The group decided to proceed with the formation of a community foundation, adopted the present mission statement, and elected the current board of directors.
One of the first functions of the Board was to adopt the proposed Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. The Board also agreed that the Foundation would serve as the trustee for the Virgil Skipton Scholarship Fund. This fund is for graduates of Shickley Public School.
Attorney Whelan also was engaged to file the Article of Incorporation. These were registered with the Secretary of State in Nebraska on September 16, 1991. Contributions were solicited and received from persons in the area to cover start-up costs.
As part of an on-going legal procedure, application was submitted to the Internal Revenue Service to obtain tax-exempt status as a 501(c) organization. With the assistance of Attorney Whelan and after a number of letters from IRS asking for additional information, a temporary status was obtained on April 6, 1992. This temporary advance ruling from Sept. 12, 1991 through December 31, 1995 will be reviewed at the end of the period with the prospect of obtaining permanent exemption. Copies of the exemption letter were sent to attorneys in surrounding towns.
One of the goals is to involve every member of the community in the Foundation, hence we have no minimum gift restrictions. We are also looking forward to long-range bequests and contributions which will build up our endowment fund to a point where interest moneys each year will allow substantial contributions to community projects. In an effort to build a permanent undesignated endowment fund, the Board conducted a fund drive beginning in early December 1991 and continuing through January 31, 1992. Approximately 1050 letters were mailed to community members and Shickley School Alumni. One Hundred Twelve family units responded with their gifts. Other monies have been received and designated for special projects. They are the Community Center Fund, the Longhorn Scholarship Fund, and the Ball Field Fund.
We have at this point already distributed scholarship funds in the amount of $250.00 and this will be repeated at the beginning of the next school semester.
As evidence of what has been accomplished, we want to present you with copies of our current financial statement, our grant application form, a letter sent out by Shickley Public School appealing for funds for the Longhorn Scholarship Fund, a letter from Doane College acknowledging the receipt of our first Scholarship Grant, and our list of charter members who contributed to our initial endowment fund drive.
We believe that we are and will continue to be an integral part of the efforts to keep our community a vital, forward, healthy place in which people can live, raise their children, and retire.
Prepared by Teyrl Otto, Joe Kamler, and Wayne Kempf 9/17/92