Lancaster Community Fund Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Presents Spring 2019 Grants

Fund has granted $684,000 to 200+ projects in 20 years

It was in February of 1999 that the Lancaster Community Fund endowment received its initial donations. A group of committed volunteers including Carson Alcorn, Tom Davies, Bill Hale, Jo Pebworth, Bob Schmidt, Ray Ropers, Stu Urban and Al Weber had been meeting with the executive director of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Ms. Pete Wanner, to develop an organizational structure, mission statement and service area for this new initiative.

Fast forward to 2019. In his opening remarks of the 20th anniversary celebration Joe Krantz, LCF advisory board chair, recognized current advisory board members Susan Hermsen, Amara Hoffman, Sam Jonas, LuAnne Pink, Crysti Prange, Kevin Raisbeck, Megan Slane and Kyle Vesperman as well special advisor & historian Rod Roggensack. He also made a special introduction of past CFSW donor services rep, Ron Haas, noting the critical role Haas played in the development of the organization.

Krantz continued saying, “I want to share a few “numbers” with you. Including our current board, 40 persons have donated their time, talent, and resources (as advisory board members) to the Lancaster Community Fund. Today our group administers/monitors 16 separate funds. Over 1400 donations have been recorded to these funds (note: that is number of donations, not number of donors) totaling over $5,350,000. The largest of those – as you know – was in honor of Sonny Tiedemann, given through the estate of Keith & Emily Tiedemann. In our 20 years, we have granted some $684,000 to over 200 projects in our community. Finally, our ‘assets’ as of 5/31/2019 were just over $5.9 Million, of which 98% are endowed – meaning that these assets are, indeed, FOR GOOD, FOR EVER, FOR LANCASTER!”

Lancaster Community Fund Spring 2019 grantees
LCF Spring 2019 Grantees. Front row (seated): Angie Straka (Winskill playground storage facility), Jody Sturmer (Opera for the Young), Cari Schaffer and Aja Taylor (City of Lancaster/Bark Park), Sarah Williams (Fit for Life; Safe for Life), Tori Leeser (SOC/My Community initiative). Back row (standing): Mandy Whitaker (LMS Potency of Poetry), Miranda Fuerstenberg ((Winskill/equipment for education dept), Ashley Krantz (Lancaster Schools/Social Media speaker), Ashley Miller (LMS Instrument Storage), Mayor Dave Varnum (City of Lancaster/Pool Project), Deb Reukauf and Justin Mclimans (Life Vac systems for police vehicles)

Krantz introduced those in attendance who had established named family funds for the benefit of Lancaster including LuAnne Pink (founder of the Douglas and LuAnne Pink Family Charitable Endowment); Tod Gillilan (founder of the Gillilan Family Community Fund); Sheri Zenz, daughter of Phyllis Merlet (founder of the Merlet Family Community Endowment); Robin Schacht and Skippy Leibfried (principals with the Schacht Family Fund); and Rod Roggensack (Roggensack Charitable Endowment).

  • The evening concluded with the presentation of the spring 2019 grants. These include:
  • • $3000 for the purchase of 3 projectors and mounts for co-taught classrooms at Winskill Elementary, Special Education Department (Lancaster Community Endowment);
  • • Up to $13,000 in support of the construction of a shed to house outdoor physical education equipment at Winskill Elementary (Lancaster Community Endowment);
  • • $5,750 to fund special presentation at the Lancaster High School and Middle School by Collin Kartchner – #SAVETHEKIDS focused on fighting social media’s influence on teen mental health (Lancaster Community Endowment and the Morse Family Fund);
  • • $200 to the Lancaster Police Department to outfit 4 squad cars with Life-Vac systems (Douglas & LuAnne Pink Family Endowment);
  • • $675 to Southwest Opportunities Center to support My Community, an integration program for the cognitively disabled (Douglas & LuAnne Pink Family Endowment);
  • • $4,700 to fund improvements (for dog owners) at the City of Lancaster’s Bark Park (Gillilan Family Fund);
  • • $2,500 to purchase materials so that a high school class can construct new space for instrument storage at the Lancaster Middle School (Gillilan Family Fund);
  • • $836 to purchase bicycle helmets, continuing the “Fit 4 Life–Safe 4 Life” project at Winskill (Schacht Family Endowment);
  • • $800 for the music program at Winskill Elementary to support Opera for the Young, and specifically the production of the “Pirates of Penzance” (Schacht Family Endowment);
  • • $1,500 to the Lancaster Middle School to support the program entitled, “Potency of Poetry” (Schacht Family and the Merlet Family Endowments); and
  • • Up to $94,400, to be matched by individual/family/couple donations, for water features to create the “Sonny Tiedemann” Kids’ Zone at the ‘new’ pool (Charles “Sonny” Tiedemann Charitable Endowment).

In his closing remarks, Krantz noted that the spring 2019 Lancaster Community Fund grant cycle generated 21 applications requesting just over $176,000. Further he indicated that 11 awards were made, totaling just over $127,000. He reminded those in attendance that the group’s fall grant cycle has a closing date of November 1.

The Lancaster Community Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Inc., a tax-exempt public charity. For more information, contact Joe Krantz (advisory board chair) or Barb Daus, donor services representative with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin (608-778-3344 or [email protected]). Donations are received throughout the year at PO Box 294, Lancaster WI or online at

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