We say and believe we are a small foundation doing big things. But just how big-and small- are we? Many of you know we established the Foundation in 1992 after my brother, Brian, died in a swimming accident. With the memorial contributions, our family established a scholarship in his name and memory at Wisconsin's DePere High School.
That year, a committee of longtime friends and family came together to filter through the 20 plus applications, interview the finalists and make the selection of our first recipient.
The next year, we awarded three scholarships. Shortly after, we partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and with a local college and tech school... and as they say, 'the rest is history'.
A decade after what we thought would be
one scholarship to remember Brian and assist our youth, became 25 different scholarships a year.
A decade after that, our numbers have doubled with over 55 being awarded annually--nearly 70% in honor of others.
You can see a list of over 630 recipients to date here.
But this isn't about the numbers, although we feel very blessed to have assisted so many through the years. This is about the nuts and bolts. Or in our case- love and passion.
My parents, Doug and Renee are truly the core of the Foundation.
And the support and encouragement we receive from you is our "nuts and bolts."
We were completely volunteered based until 2006 (that's 14 years of growth, special events and logistics). With the tremendous workload that came with spearheading the 2007 Medal of Honor Convention we knew we needed to hire someone. Building on my experience as Community Director of the March of Dimes, we "took the plunge" and hired the Foundation's first full time employee... me, Brian's sister, Kim.
I have attended several conferences and workshops lately and after sharing the Foundation is a "small shop" with one employee, many ask how we do it.
My response? Our small organization is able to do 'big things' because of the love and passion we receive from our Board, our volunteers, our recipients and the families and communities we work with.
We have never taken rent or rented an office space to make these big things happen, yet we set up our homes to make sure we can continue to do what we do. My parents, the core of the foundation, have never taken one penny for salary. Neither has our Board of Directors. We are able to carry on our mission because we have countless people who donate endless time and talent to the Foundation's cause.
The Foundation is able to grow, because of your feedback, your financial support, your enthusiasm and -above all- your love and passion.
You truly are the "nuts and bolts" of this journey. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for traveling this course with us.