90 Years of Making a Difference

On Thursday, September 27, 2018 the Foundation hosted its annual Donor Appreciation event at the newly renovated venue, The Howard. The historic building was the perfect setting for the Foundation’s 90th anniversary celebration with over 300 guests in attendance.

Bill Wyman, President and CEO of the Foundation, took guests on a journey of Oshkosh 90 years ago to where the city is today. Who remembers the old Buckstaff Company? Now stands the new Menominee Nation Arena, home to the Wisconsin Herd and host of many entertainment opportunities for the community. And look how busy downtown Oshkosh was 90 years ago. That same energy can be found down main street during the weekly Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market.









The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Good Samaritan Award and two Partners in Philanthropy awards.

Jerry Stadtmueller, President of the John E. Kuenzl Foundation, presented the Good Samaritan award posthumously to Ted Leyhe. Ted was a private donor and the primary driver on many impactful projects in the community. His focus was civic economic development in the community and helped fund many startup businesses. Ted’s son, John Leyhe, accepted the award on behalf of his father.

A quote from Ted’s daughter Claire:

“He was an advocate of giving back. He felt a great love for Oshkosh and it pleased him so much to make the contributions he made. He’d be so pleased with his recognition as a good samaritan. “

Peter Lang, Foundation Board President, presented the first Partners in Philanthropy award posthumously to Marilyn Potter. Marilyn was a donor and supporter of the Foundation for multiple decades and was a lifetime volunteer for many organizations. Her philanthropic passions were religion, the arts, the Women’s Fund and increasing the unrestricted fund at the Foundation. Marilyn’s granddaughter, Samantha Tenicki Hole, accepted the award on her grandmothers behalf.

Aaron Sherer, Executive Director of the Paine Art Center and Gardens, one of Marilyn’s beloved organizations had this to say about her:

“Marilyn was devoted to the Paine’s gardens, and she watched more than forty years of changing seasons come and go here. Through her tremendous generosity, Marilyn’s spirit continues to live on at the Paine. As the gardens continue to flourish year after year, we know that Marilyn’s life is wrapped up in their past and also their future.”

The second Partners in Philanthropy award was given to Kurt and Judie Koeppler. The Koeppler’s understand the importance of giving and passing that philosophy down through their family. They have supported many organizations and projects over the years – not just financially but with their time and talents as well. Kurt is a lifelong board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh and Judie was a founding “mama” of the Women’s Fund. Along with their donor advised family fund at the Foundation, the Koeppler’s established funds for their mothers and daughters as well. In 2001, after the passing of Judie’s mother Annie, the family established the Granny Annie Fund through the Foundation. Every Christmas Eve, the family gathers together and collectively discusses charitable opportunities and decides worthy programs to fund.

Dave and Sue Elbing, dear friends of Kurt and Judie had this to say:

“Judie and Kurt don’t know the word NO when it comes to helping others. They are amazing parents who always put family first and when you see Judie coming to chat with you about a cause, just plan on getting your checkbook out!”

Thank you to everyone who joined us for an incredible evening of celebrating you, our wonderful donors. We wouldn’t be here today, celebrating 90 years of making a difference, it it weren’t for you. Thank you!

Special thank you to The Howard for hosting us at their beautiful venue and for the delicious food. And thank you to Copper Box for providing the evening’s entertainment.

View photos from the event here.

View the Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report to the Community here.


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