NUAF celebrates success of match campaign Nov. 30

Submitted photo Denny Warta, right, receives a plaque from Mary Ellen Domeier for his efforts on behalf of the New Ulm Area Foundation at a Nov. 30 event at the New Ulm Events Center.

NEW ULM — With funding for the event provided by an anonymous donor to eliminate any cost to NUAF (New Ulm Area Foundation), a celebration of the success of the “be part of the MATCH” campaign was held Nov. 30 with a Swine Dine and Butter Blast at the New Ulm Event Center.

The evening featured a whimsical butter sculpture by local artist Jason Jasperson, an appreciation champagne toast to achieving the goal of $500,000 — $250,000 from area donors matched by another $250,000 from Thor and Cindi Beth (Johnson) Mickelson; a dinner entrée of pulled pork especially prepared by NUAF board member, Tom Hayes. The 120 attendees consisted of donors to the Match campaign. Background music was provided by Dick Kimmel and Lori Mathiowetz.

Emceed by a former NUAF Board Chair, Steve Franta, the program theme was one of gratitude. It started with an invocation led by Cindi Beth Johnson. After the meal, Mary Ellen Domeier, one of NUAF’s founders and a board member at its inception until the mid-1990s provided a presentation and power point. She expressed gratitude to Henry and Anne Somsen, both significant community volunteers and philanthropists. Henry’s gift of $100,000 as a memorial and tribute to his wife made possible the start of the community fund that would see their volunteer efforts continue into perpetuity by grants to community causes. Also noted were those who laid the groundwork for the formation of the community foundation and Bill and Thor Mickelson’s provision of an earlier matching grant, enabling its first significant growth.

While he was unable to attend, recognition was given to NUAF’s first part-time executive, Herb Schaper. He facilitated the board’s first strategic planning process as a prelude to initiating a campaign to raise funds for the first Mickelson Challenge. Also recognized with presentation of a plaque was its second executive, Denis Warta, noting among other efforts, the energy he and Don Gollnast had put into that fund-raising campaign. Others were also recognized and appreciated. Domeier concluded her remarks by thanking the many organizations, whether or not recipients of NUAF grants, for the numerous volunteer efforts and projects each one represents, all for the betterment of the New Ulm area.

Julie Baumgartner, Chair of New Ulm Area Foundation, then brought attendees to the present. She recognized the help the local community fund receives from its umbrella organization, the Minnesota Foundation (MF), and in particular, Patrice Abbe of MF. Current board members were asked to stand and be recognized for their efforts in fund-raising for the Match campaign, giving special recognition to the late Bruce Fenske. Baumgartner introduced Thor Mickelson, thanking him and his community fund for its generosity to the New Ulm area through their matching gift.

Looking to the future, Thor Mickelson applauded all the donors present, noting that the success of the campaign now means that even more funds will be available for future granting within the New Ulm area. NUAF’s grants fall within the four pillars of Art, History, Education, and Economic Development commented Franta, who then introduced Curt Lambrecht and Anne Makepeace as representatives of grants made within two of those pillars — historic and then arts and culture. Lambrecht noted the recent efforts of the one-room Milford School House in becoming a national historic site – one of only a few one-room schools existing in the country. Milford is the school he attended as a child. Makepeace shared what the NUAF grant has enabled the Grand Center for the Arts and Culture to accomplish since its inception. She noted that, through the generosity of a benefactor, NUAF now has an office on the second floor of the Grand.

The evening concluded with additional thank-yous and take-home gifts of gaily-wrapped sticks of butter from AMPI.


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