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Keller family marks milestone with $30,000 grant to Community Pantry - July 11 2011

OSHKOSH, WI -- The Keller family reached a new philanthropic milestone -- $30 million in giving -- with a $50,000 grant to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry.

Photo caption: Eileen Connolly-Keesler (left), president and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, accepts a check for $100,000 from Jim Keller, member of the Board of Directors of the J. J. Keller Foundation Inc. The presentation was part of an announcement by the J. J. Keller Foundation on Monday, July 11, 2011, that included $80,000 in gifts to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry.

"This organization provides one of life's most basic needs -- food on your family's table," said Robert (Bob) Keller, president of the foundation board. The $50,000 operational funding grant will assist the community pantry in meeting the immediate needs of the hungry while addressing the root causes of poverty.

To mark the milestone, the J. J. Keller Foundation provided an additional $30,000 grant to the pantry. "We knew we had received operational funding, but the additional grant was a complete surprise," said Steve Vickman, executive director of the OACP. "What an honor to be singled out by the Kellers for this achievement."

The checks were presented by the Keller family and Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, during a tour July 11 of the pantry facility. In addition, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation was presented with a $100,000 check to replenish the J. J. Keller Foundation Donor Advised Fund at the foundation.

"This grant will enable us to help the Kellers perpetuate Jack and Ethel's philanthropic spirit in the Oshkosh area. We are very grateful for our partnership with the family," Connolly-Keesler said.

"Thanks to the Keller family's generosity, residents in Winnebago and Green Lake counties will get support they need to become self-sufficient and get out of poverty."

The Keller family has distributed grants in a variety of ways since the establishment of the original Keller Foundation Ltd. in 1990. Now known as the J. J. Keller Foundation Inc., that fund has become the major giving arm of the family since Ethel's death in 2004 and Jack's in 2007. In the early days of the foundation, average per-year total distributions were approximately $50,000. More recently, up to $3.1 million per year has been granted. Since 1991, more than $12 million has been granted from the J. J. Keller Foundation.

The J. J. Keller Foundation Donor Advised Fund at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, established in 2007, has distributed $382,000. Through matching grants with the U.S. Venture Basic Needs Giving Partnership, the J. J. Keller Foundation also has contributed $239,000 in support to nonprofits in Winnebago and Green Lake counties.

As the Kellers look toward their next $30 million in giving, they are focusing on organizations and programs that address the causes and consequences of poverty, in addition to specialty areas of interest such as mental illness. "We're on a mission to get at the root causes of these issues and make a difference in the lives of individuals and in our community as a whole," said Marne Keller-Krikava, secretary of the Foundation Board.

The J. J. Keller Foundation Board includes Bob Keller, president; Jim Keller, vice president and treasurer; Marne Keller-Krikava, secretary; and Brian Keller, director.

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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