In 2001, Rob and Kathy Webster established the Webster Foundation as a testament to their commitment to making a lasting impact on their community in Ripon and the surrounding areas. Motivated by a deep sense of gratitude for their community’s support of their locally owned grocery store since 1987, the Websters desired to give back in a meaningful way.
The Webster Foundation proudly offers several grants in the Ripon area, funding projects that involve youth programming, technology and equipment upgrades, and local library enhancements. Area churches, nonprofits, schools, food pantries and more received nearly $90,000 in grants during the Webster Foundation’s 20th Annual Grant Presentation this past spring. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $1.5 million in grants, matching funds, and scholarships, leaving an impact that is felt deeply throughout the communities of Ripon, Green Lake, Princeton, Berlin, Markesan, Fairwater, Pickett, Brandon, and Rosendale.
“We are so honored to support these local organizations and their continued efforts at uplifting the members of their communities,” shared Candie Baker, daughter of Rob and Kathy Webster and owner of Webster’s Marketplace since 2010.
Recognizing the potential for greater impact, the Webster Foundation recently partnered with the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation by opening the Webster Family Fund, enabling them to co-invest and support more grants each year. By establishing this fund, the Websters aimed not only to maximize tax benefits but also to pool their resources with other philanthropists, thereby enhancing the collective capacity to address community needs. With your Community Foundation’s help, the application process for Webster Foundation grants has moved online, streamlining the process for organizations to apply.
One of this year’s grant recipients, Princeton High School, received $5,000 for a commercial espresso machine. With a strong commitment to community engagement, the grant is helping the Princeton School District establish a student-operated coffee shop on the high school premises. This initiative aims to offer students a valuable learning experience while also serving the local community. Through the funding provided, the school was able to purchase the espresso machine, a commercial burr coffee grinder, and other essential tools to equip the coffee shop.
Margaret Metras, Family and Consumer Science/School to Work Coordinator of Princeton School District shared, “Last semester, the restaurant management and culinary students were introduced to coffee vocabulary, learned how to use the espresso machine, and practiced making specialty coffees including lattes, Americanos, cappuccinos, and iced coffees. They informally served teachers, staff, and some parents to develop both their coffee making and food service skills.”
Whether it’s funding an espresso machine or providing matching funds for youth fundraisers, the charitable impact of the Webster Foundation within a rural community is nothing short of remarkable. The Webster family’s philanthropic spirit and heartfelt dedication will continue to uplift the lives of countless individuals for years to come.