The Clarkfield Area Community Foundation just finished handing out a big chunk of change to the Clarkfield community and are preparing to give out even more in the coming years, according to Foundation Chairmen Berdette Schoep.
"Yeah, this has been the biggest year yet and next year there will be twice as much available for grant giving," said Schoep from his office at Clarkfield Outdoors. "(The CACF) has been in business for three years now and have given out grants between $2,300-$3,000 each year. Currently, we have a total amount of $120,000 in the endowment... We should be close to giving $5,000 in grants next year."
The CACF is a permanent endowment organized as a community fund of the Southwest Initiative Foundation. In three years, it's become a vehicle for donors who wish to make charitable contributions for the benefit of the Clarkfield community and a resource for community leaders wishing to make a difference.
This year the CACF gave to a wide range of community projects: $895.33 went to the Clarkfield Area Charter School to help them in starting an after school program for students; $500 went to the Young Families of Clarkfield—led by Katie Zuraff—to help with a playground renovation at North Park; another $500 went to Pastor Mildred Rodriquez and the Ministerio El Samaritano Bueno for air conditioning in the church; and still another $500 was given to the city of Clarkfield itself for construction of a Frisbee Golf Course in North Park.
"The more people see money coming back into the community the more interest it generates and through that, even more money comes back to the community," said Schoep.
Though the Clarkfield community has begun to feel the impact of the foundations grant-giving, Schoep said the organization still needs to seek out applicants every year. "We always have to go out and ask. The word is getting out more and more, but we still have to continually work on the nature of the foundation," said Schoep.
Along with Foundation Chair Schoep, those tasked with shaping the nature of the Foundation include board members Bruce Christopherson, Larry Stensrud, Sue Fritz, Barb Bruflat, Brad Handeland, Neil Linscheid and Rod Bruflat.
Whether you want to create for your community, or give back to it the CACF is here to help. Either providing grants to community projects, or providing an inlet for people to directly impact their community through charitable giving.
Said Schoep, "We really just want to make sure that everyone is aware that there is a means to give back to the community that you call home. Charitable giving to an organization like (the CACF) is a statement. It's a statement that when you get to that point in life you want to build a better community... We've had a lot of support in this community. There's a lot of strong feelings here. People want to put their money where their heart is."