May 24, 2018 at 2:53 p.m.
Formerly, the Andersen Foundation, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, based in Bayport Minnesota was established in 1959. Although they accept grant applications from all over the United States, their giving history demonstrates a longstanding commitment to bettering the lives of people living in the St. Croix River Valley.
“We are humbled and filled with Civic Auditorium Pride,” said Irene Bugge, member of the grant writing work group, a team of dedicated volunteers that includes Carol Lenhart, Paul Supplee, Fay Caneday, Kelly Sylte, and Josiah Laubenstein.
“This generous and substantial grant from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation helps spur us on to the finish line.” Bugge said.
All volunteers on the team are new to grant writing and on steep learning curves. Their carefully prepared 23-page document to the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation tells the story of this historic building and its economic, social and cultural importance to the community.
“In addition to energizing and inspiring all the people in the Valley eager to see the Civic Auditorium reopen, receiving such a grant helps convince future donors that this campaign is worthwhile and will be successful,” said Carol Lenhart, work team lead.
In grant applications going forward, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation can be added to a growing list that includes: the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the WEDC, Andersen Corporate Foundation, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, Hardenbergh Foundation and Kohl Charitable Trust.
“Being awarded these foundation grants further strengthens the foresight and wisdom of City leaders and residents of the Falls area who have supported this project over the past decade of research, planning and fundraising,” said Meg Luhrs, Centennial Committee member. Luhrs was integrally involved in the 2007 Master Planning Process for the project and co-chair of the 2011 Living Landmark Committee that laid the foundation for this expansion and rehabilitation project.
The Civic Auditorium project has received substantial support from the City of St. Croix Falls including allocation of $3.2 million TID Tax Increment District funds. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation similarly convinced that expanding and rehabilitating the Civic Auditorium would be a positive force for economic development in the region (generating jobs, educational opportunities and new businesses) awarded the project a $500,000 grant in 2015.
Dynamic collaboration and vision between the City of St. Croix Falls, the general public, arts groups, entertainers and downtown businesses has kept the Civic Auditorium project alive and moving forward.
In 2016 with designs plans approved, the City of St. Croix Falls appointed the Centennial Committee to spearhead a capital campaign for the project. Currently the Centennial Committee is composed of Kirk Anderson, Meg Luhrs, Woody McBride, Kim Murphy and Irene Bugge. All are working hard to bridge the remaining funding gap so that the Civic Auditorium can continue to admirably serve the Falls area for the next 100 years.
The Centennial Committee has created many different donor-giving opportunities for individuals, families, groups and businesses to contribute along with corporate marketing sponsorships. For example, the Centennial Committee has a seat sponsorship for gifts of $1,000 - $2,500 with a focus on replacing the seats that have been in the performance hall since the 1930’s. The Century Society honors donors of $10,000 or more on a 100-year time line that celebrates the Civic Auditorium’s first 100 years of service. There is also an elevator fund that was started as a challenge grant of $45,000 by an anonymous couple that wishes to focus their giving on making the Civic Auditorium accessible.
A website has been established to learn more about the Civic Auditorium project and pledges to the fundraising campaign can be made via www.scfcivicauditorium.com or make checks payable to SCF Civic Auditorium and mail to Centennial Committee, City of St. Croix Falls, 710 Hwy 35 S, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024. For more information or to volunteer contact Irene Bugge, 715-554-2501 or Meg Luhrs, 715-553-3145.
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