The Granite Falls Area Community Foundation (GFACF) hosted its third annual grant recipient celebration this past Thursday at the Granite Run Golf Course allocating just over $4,800 to community organizations and initiatives.
Even with the evening’s less than ideal weather, a turnout of roughly 60 at least matched the audience of years past. In addition to grant announcements, attendees were also treated to door prizes, a silent auction, wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres.
Distributed between 10 separate grant recipients, ranging from Yellow Medicine East to the Wood Lake Battlefield Association, the roughly $4,800 allocated on the evening qualified as significantly more than the $1,950 and $2,450 offered the previous years.
“We’re getting to a point where our size is substantial enough to give us the sort of traction we need for bigger things to come in the future,” said former foundation board member and evening emcee, Craig Bakkeland. “The foundation has been laid and we’re getting to a point where we can do some really good work.”
Donations to the GFACF are entered into a permanent endowment fund managed by the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF). Interest generated by the fund is returned to the area via community project grants, while the principal remains to grow in perpetuity, market providing.
The GFACF endowment exceeded just over $100,000 last year, up from $85,000 the year before. As of the night’s celebration, the fund’s size had reached $120,000. (A personal endowment fund established by Dave and Liz Reimer under GFACF umbrella contributes another $25,000.)
“As we grow and get bigger, we can start to help out some of the larger projects such as the new Granite Falls Manor,” Bakkelund said. “In two or three years, I’m really hopeful we have this thing up over $250,000.”
For that to happen fundraising will have to continue going strong in the years to come, something Bakkelund hopes will be made easier as community members become more familiar with the endowment and its ability to facilitate community improvements.
Sure to add a spark is the revelation that Granite Falls Bank plans to offer $15,000 in matching funds –– after providing $25,000 in matching funds at the foundation’s start –– beginning later this month in order to encourage holiday donations. The perfect time for gifts that keep on giving.