WINNECONNE AREA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Marble Park inspires spirit of philanthropy

When word started spreading in Winneconne about a fundraiser for the addition of inflatable equipment at the Marble Park swim area, three enterprising sixth-graders jumped on the bandwagon.

"We just thought this would be a good thing to raise money for," says Autumn Hoffman, 11.

Pictured at the Marble Park Swim Area in Winneconne: Autumn Hoffman and Mason Luce.

She and her friends Ahna Biggar and Mason Luce gathered some gently used belongings and baked three dozen cookies to sell along with snacks, bottled water and soda during the village-wide rummage sale in Winneconne.

They handed out flyers about the fundraiser and asked for donations.

The children collected $47 through their efforts. A donation from Autumn's mom, Marcie Terres, made the total an even $50. It went directly to the Winneconne Area Community Foundation (WACF) toward its goal of raising $10,000 for the swim area.

"Fifty dollars was a lot to me. I was really surprised. I thought we'd maybe raise $30," says Mason Luce, 11.


"ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT IT WAS WHEN I ASKED SOMEONE IF THEY WANTED TO DONATE, BUT THEN THEY SAID THEY HAD ALREADY DONATED $200. I THOUGHT THAT WAS COOL THAT THEY SAW THE FLYER AND DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT ON THEIR OWN." -Mason Luce, who helped raise money for WACF's Marble Park campaign



One of the village's unique attractions - the Marble Park swim area with its sandy beach and shade umbrellas - was an easy choice as WACF's first community project, says Board President Kate Pfaendtner, considering the park is a regional destination.

"The comments we are getting from community members and increased attendance at the swim area are testimony to the popularity of the inflatables," Pfaendtner says. "I have heard many suggestions to add more equipment - which is a great opening for more conversation about philanthropy in our community."

WACF, founded in 2013, raised more than $11,000 in six weeks, enough to purchase all of the toys and have them installed during July's heat wave.

Mason hopes this is just the beginning of his charitable work in Winneconne.
"I thought it was fun to be with my friends and donate to our city," he says. "I hope they do something every year, not just to improve the park but to make a difference in the city."

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