Foundation reports growth of $12M, $4.8M in grants - November 18 2013

OSHKOSH, WI - The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation released its annual report this month showing significant growth in assets of $12 million to a total $88 million.

The report showcases the Foundation's growth over its 85-year history and the impact to the communities it serves, which includes Winnebago, Green Lake and Waushara counties, and Ripon.

The complete report can be read online, or call 920-426-3993 to request a copy.

The Foundation received more than $5.5 million in individual contributions, an increase of $2.5 million from the previous year. It granted $3.65 million to 377 different nonprofit organizations. Counting distributions for community projects, more than $4.8 million was given out from the Foundation last year.

The figures are impressive considering the change in the Foundation's top leadership position over the past year and the continued financial market fluctuations, said Diane Abraham, president and chief executive officer.

"The past five years since the Great Recession struck in 2008 have been like a roller coaster for many organizations, but fortunately for the Foundation, our trajectory is on a steep climb and that growth has a lot to do with donors' confidence and trust in us," Abraham said.

"While the markets have been kind to us over the past year, our growth is mostly due to donors who thought to include us in their estate plans and local nonprofit agencies that have entrusted us with their endowments."

Abraham became the Foundation's third president and CEO in June after the departure of Eileen Connolly-Keesler, who stepped down in November 2012 after 13 years on the job. Bill Wyman, an emeritus member of the Board of Directors, served as president in the interim.

Founded in Oshkosh in 1928, the Foundation is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Reflecting on the Foundation's history, Board Chair Beth Wyman said that the support from the community has allowed the Foundation to grow and do more than the founders ever could have imagined.

"The Foundation has done such exciting and important work in the community in all sectors," Wyman said. "Even in just the past year, programs like Oshkosh4Education, public access AEDs, the opening of the downtown hotel, the otter exhibit at the zoo, the work of our Women's Fund on raising awareness for isolation - all of these projects are so important to the vitality and future for our community, and we couldn't have done it without community support. We are truly grateful for that."

Abraham said it's exciting to carry the great work of the Foundation into the future. The Board is committed to tackling challenges in the community, such as the heroin epidemic, economic development and self-sufficiency.

"The Foundation will continue to do meaningful work that solves problems and improves futures, and ultimately creates a better quality of life for residents," she said. "No one organization can create change alone. We're proud to collaborate and serve as partner to many strong organizations that serve our communities. In the future, we will rely on each other even more to explore possibilities, seek untapped resources and do more for more people."

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.

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