Fayette Area Foundation board seeks support 1.7.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When the Fayette Area Foundation was formed in 1993, a story appeared in the Fayette Review and an alumnus living in Toledo read the report.

She donated $100,000 for college scholarships and another large sum later. Those donations helped the foundation flourish for years, but funds are now running low.

Board members aren’t expecting another Margaret Gruenberg to appear with an enormous gift, but they do hope that additional publicity might help bring in some new funding.

The beginning

Former school superintendent Joe Long recalls attending a conference in Columbus that included a workshop about foundations, pointing out the potential value to schools and communities.

“Within a few months of the conference, the Fayette Foundation was in operation,” Long said. “Several community members were willing to serve as trustees and were instrumental in creating the foundation.”

Through a combination of expertise and hard work, the board was soon in the position to award grants.

The first Gruenberg gift was directed toward scholarships and the second donation was pegged for school technology upgrades and the music program.

“Her generosity has had a dramatic impact on hundreds of Fayette students,” Long said.

He recalls some fund-raising efforts in years past and that’s on the mind of the current board members.

“We’ve been a little lax,” said vice president Sue Schaffner, who was a charter member of the foundation.

The board became well aware of that in November when the treasurer, Dave Metcalf—another charter member—challenged the group to become more ambitious in seeking funds if they wanted the foundation to survive.

“Everyone decided that we didn’t want to let it fall through,” Schaffner said.

The last major drive for funds occurred five years ago when letters were sent to alumni—an effort that didn’t result in much of a response.

The group has begun selling 50/50 raffle tickets at girls basketball games and other fund-raising efforts are under consideration.

Metcalf and Schaffner both expressed a hesitation in approaching local businesses, knowing they get asked for donations frequently, and the community’s industrial base isn’t as strong as it was when the foundation began.

“We’ll keep trying,” Schaffner said, hoping that alumni will see the organization as a good way to give back to the community and school.

Many people know the foundation through the Gruenberg-sponsored scholarships, Metcalf said, but several other programs have received funding.

In addition to school-related gifts—computers, chorus functions, band instruments—the foundation has given money to the local physician recruitment effort, park projects and equipment for the recycling center.

“When the markets were good, the fund was strong and it seemed like it would last forever,” Metcalf said, but that’s no longer the case.

The struggle to accumulate cash continues, both from the group’s own efforts and, hopefully, from donations—both large and small.

• Anyone interested in serving on the foundation board should contact a member listed below. Younger members, in particular, are welcomed to join, Metcalf said, to bring a new perspective to the group.

Board members are Dee Ferguson, president, Sue Schaffner, vice president, Dave Metcalf, treasurer, Sue Williams, Barb Bruggeman, Connie Wagner, Pam Hibbard and Tom Spiess.

In addition to raising funds for its own uses, the board is willing to serve as the administrator for other scholarship funds, such as its role with the William Humbert Memorial fund.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017