About the Foundation

The need for some type of formal organization to assist with community needs and projects in the Black River Falls Area had been discussed informally by many people for a number of years. When Gil Homstad was President of the Black River Falls Rotary Club in 1985, he felt that establishing a Community Foundation could become a Community Service Project of the Club. Gil had lived in Madison and was familiar with the Madison Community Foundation and the good it did. As it would probably be a two-year project, he discussed the idea with Tom Lister who would follow Gil as the next Rotary Club President, and Tom agreed. Rotary accepted the project and established a committee to organize the Foundation and raise sufficient funds to ensure that meaningful community contributions could be made during its early years.

The committee consisted of Rotarians Glen Gearing, David Hoffman, Gil Homstad, Al Lahmayer, Tom Lister, John Lund, Dennis Richards and Berton (Dale) Sherman. The first meeting was held October 1, 1985 at the Jackson County Bank. Through the year, they met on a regular schedule and established by-laws, applied for tax-exempt status, and set purposes for Foundation funds. They also established a Governing Council (Trustees), terms of office, and a timeline of activities.

Initially it was decided that the Foundation’s geographic area would cover just the Black River Falls area and not all of Jackson County. However, they allowed flexibility for future geographic expansion.

Fund income would be distributed annually for projects that complied with Section 501c3 of the IRS code and would be for educational, economic, social and recreational purposes.

The first officers were elected: President – Gil Homstad; Vice President – Tom Lister; Secretary – Tom Mills; and Treasurer – John Lund. Bee Herzberg from the Jackson County Bank had been handling all of the Foundation’s correspondence, meeting notices and minutes and also agreed to handle pledge billing.

Information was obtained from the small number of existing community foundations in Wisconsin and, using the information provided by them, the Black River Falls Area Foundation became official in 1986. Black River Falls became the smallest populated community in the country to form a community foundation, and only the seventh in the state.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Black River Falls Area Foundation is to enhance the quality of life in the Black River Falls Area. We work to realize that goal with the support of individuals, families, businesses and organizations that share this commitment. We achieve this by:

• Providing a vehicle for donors with diverse community interests;

• Protecting donations through prudent investing and stewardship;

• Serving as a resource and catalyst to accomplish community projects;

• Expanding our communities’ endowment by encouraging philanthropy.

We address a broad range of community goals rather than focusing on one particular issue. In this way, we are able to meet changing needs and provide support to the people who live and work in the Black River Falls Area.

Why Give Through the Foundation?

Download Fund Brochures

How Do I Establish a Fund?

Financial Statement