Grant County Community Foundation officially deemed October 29 through November 4 as the 12th Annual Grant County Gives Week with a proclamation signed by Mayor Tim McCauley. McCauley signed the proclamation at the latest City Council meeting Wednesday, October 11.
What is Grant County Gives?
“It is a community fundraising event Grant County Community Foundation administers and advertises for,” said GCCF Executive Director Judy Keusler.
“If you’ve ever heard of a community chest, this is a local only version,” added GCCF Treasurer Ken Keusler.
Grant County Gives came to fruition in 2012 after GCCF participated in the GROW (Giving Resources to Our World) II initiative through the Kansas Health Foundation. Mike Batchelor, a GROW II consultant, and President of the Pennsylvania Community Foundation Association, traveled from Pennsylvania to meet with GCCF to share a program called Erie Gives.
“When he left that day, the people on the board said ‘Golly, that seems like a good idea’,” recalled Judy.
Immediately, GCCF went into action and brought in a match fund of $18,000 to distribute amongst 18 organizations concluding the first Grant County Gives Week.
According to Judy, the most beautiful piece of this charitable puzzle is “the foundation is part of our contribution”.
GCCF raises the match fund, annually, which is donated by local businesses. This year, 51 businesses donated $49,825. Additionally, GCCF wrote a grant to the Patterson Family Foundation for $70,000 for an additional match fund. In total, this year’s match fund $119,825.
“That is not insignificant,” said Judy.
During Grant County Gives, the public campaign runs for the first week of November in which the public makes donations. Donors choose from local organizations to contribute their funds. At the end of the campaign, funds are totaled and given proportionately to each organization. For instance, if a donor contributes $100 with a 50 percent match, the total contribution to the selected organization would be $150.
“For these organizations, this is the time you will see a lot of fundraisers going on,” shared Judy. “We are faithful to how the donor directs their gift, and it has worked really beautifully.”
Over the past 11 years, $1,121,872 has been contributed to local businesses with the implementation of Grant County Gives.
“It’s a lot of money whether you say it fast or not,” said Ken. “But what really stands out to me is that we’re talking about, basically, a community of 7,500 people in the county that has done that.”
Judy is confident the funds allocated for Grant County Gives will be greater than last year’s total of $168,338.11.
GCCF President Becky Zerr shared a “huge” benefit of the event - an agreement organizations sign, which ensures all contributions received will be distributed locally. Therefore, all $1,121,872 have flowed throughout the perimeter of Grant County.
This year, there are 34 organizations receiving donations. In return, Judy said donors receive “a good feeling" about supporting their community and the organizations, because services these organizations provide Grant County citizens, are the very things which "enrich our lives.”
Judy continued by acknowledging the city, county, and school district as providers of the “meat and potatoes” to the community.
“If we don’t support our own locally, the chances of them being able to survive is lowered.” Ken added, “What we are hoping and trying to do is keep vitalized what is available because our first job is not to send money to Washington or Topeka, but to send it to Grant County so our lifestyle is maintained at a local level.”
Throughout the month of October and first week of November, organizations are allowed to host fundraisers for their own benefit. At present time, some of the fundraising events to come will be hosted by Grant County Recreation-Commission, Grant County Library, Bear Creek Coffee, BWMH Auxiliary, and Main ARTery.
In other business at the recent City meeting, when the floor opened to the public, Richard Leierer approached city council members in regard to several concerns. Leierer brought up the alarming presence of beetles around elm trees in the northwest part of town, enforcing Jake Brake laws along the intersection of Patterson and Colorado Street, advertising in Kansas Living magazine, and what he perceives as "the lack of law enforcement present" along Missouri Street.
In new business, the city council passed four new ordinances which affect the rates of water, refuse collection, storm water fees, and waster water collection. Copies of the new ordinances are available to the public at City Hall.
The next regular city council meeting will be at 5 p.m., Wednesday, October 25, at City Hall.
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