The original goals of the Foundation excluded scholarship funding. The belief was the Foundation should fund projects that benefit groups, not individuals. In 1988, Dennis Richards who was the Superintendent of Schools for the Black River Falls School District and a Foundation Trustee brought to the Board the great need for more scholarships as, at that time, only eight were available. After lengthy discussion on the critical need for scholarships and the increasing costs of higher education, the Trustees changed their goals to include scholarships. The first scholarship funded was a joint Rotary and Lions Club Scholarship of $1,000. That scholarship was first awarded in 1989 to Jon Anderson, salutatorian of the Black River Falls High School Class of ’89. It has been awarded annually ever since. From this start of $1,000 for one scholarship, the generosity of many donors throughout the years has provided a total of $518,554 of scholarships to 342 students.
Alice Homstad Scholarship Fund
This fund was established in 2014 with anticipated first disbursement in 2015. Alice Krohn Homstad, 77, born on November 21, 1935 in Black River Falls, died October 19, 2013. She led a life of grace and resilience and passed away at home in the quiet morning hours. Alice was a graduate of Stephens College, Missouri and attended the University of Wisconsin where her lifelong commitment to education began. Alice served as president of the BRF School Board for 12 years. Alice provided a solid and loving foundation for her family. She supported Gil in his career and their many community interests. Alice was an avid reader and had amazing recall. She faced many health challenges during her life and always did so with strength and courage. To honor Alice and her commitment to education, her husband, Gil, created this Scholarship Fund for Black River Falls students.
Duane and Lavina Hoffman scholarship Fund
in 1989, Duane and Lavina Hoffman were two of the first people to donate funds to the Foundation to start a Scholarship Fund. They expressed their interest in making this donation a memorial to teachers they had known to include Thelma Homstad and teachers from their family. In 1990, they donated $25,000 to be added to their Duane and Lavina Hoffman Scholarship Fund and proposed that a second scholarship be added awarded and named the Hoffman Academic Scholarship. In December 1998, their son, David, and his wife, Marilyn, donated $50,000 to increase this fund.
Elizabeth Danielson Janssen Scholarship Fund
In 2007, Betsy Jansen donated $25,000 to the Foundation to establish this fund to assist Black River Falls High School graduates who are pursuing a career in health care with an emphasis in nursing. Betsy grew up in the Black River Falls area and the Foundation is especially grateful to people like her who now live elsewhere, but remember and assist our community.
Philip and Aldena Meyer Memorial Scholarship Fund
In 1998, Aldena (Staffon) Meyer and her children created this Scholarship Fund to honor her husband and their father Philip. Phillip attended the Hatfield School and graduated from Merrillan High School in 1930. After attending a one-year teacher’s training course in BRF, Philip returned as a teacher in the Hatfield School from 1935 to 1940. Later, he also worked as a teacher and principal at the Hixton Grade School. Philip went on to earn his Bachelor of Education degree from Eau Claire State Teachers College and his Masters degree from UW Madison. During World War II Philip was an instructor of electronics at the Army Air Force base near Madison. After the war, he returned to BRF as an elementary teacher and principal. Having given 40-1/2 years of service in education, he retired as principal of the Forrest Street School in 1978. Philip passed away in 1997 at the age of 84. Alden attended the Wrightsville School and later graduated from Black River Falls High School. She attended Teacher’s Training in Black River Falls and after went on to teach rural schools from first through eighth grades at Kenyon Valley School and Judkins and Van Horn Schools in Garden Valley. She also taught at Hixton Elementary and was a substitute teacher in Black River Falls. During this time she also attended Eau Claire State Teachers College during the summers. She married Philip Meyer in 1937 and they shared 60 years together before Philip’s passing. After Aldena’s death in 2010, the children added her name to the scholarship.
Dean Nortman Memorial Scholarship Fund
Dean Nortman, 20, of rural Black River Falls, died August 2, 2000 in Pewaukee, Wisconsin as the result of a construction accident. Dean was born in November, 1979 to Ronald and Cheryl (Haldeman) Nortman. A lifelong resident of Jackson County, he was an EMT and firefighter with the BRF Fire Department and Rescue Squad and was Dean Nortman extremely fond of these affiliations. During his short lifetime, Dean was employed at Pearsons How To Hardware and Scholze Ace Hardware. Beginning in May of 2000, Dean was employed by Hoffman Construction Company. In 2000, Peter and David Hoffman created this Scholarship in Dean’s memory. In line with Dean’s interests, the Scholarship is for a student studying Fire Science or EMT-related education. If there are no applicants meeting the criteria it can be used for Fire Science or EMT-related materials.
Meghan Powell Memorial Scholarship Fund
In 2008, the family of Meghan Powell created this Scholarship Fund in her memory. Meghan was only 13 when she died of cancer. Since Meghan was old enough to talk, her dream was to be a teacher. To honor her dream, this scholarship is awarded to a graduate of her hometown school. Alma Center Lincoln High School, with a preference to those interested in teaching.
Black River Falls Alumni Scholarship Fund
One of the first Foundation Scholarship Funds was established in 1989 by the Black River Falls Alumni Association. This fund was created to assist Black River Falls High School Alumni who are pursuing further education. The first scholarship was awarded in 1990
David and Marilyn Hoffman Scholarship Fund
In 1996, the Foundation received a $50,000 gift from David and Marilyn Hoffman to establish a Scholarship Fund in their names. Income earned from these funds is used to establish annual one-year scholarships for graduates of Black River Falls High School who are enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or technical program at any college, university or technical school in Wisconsin. The amount of each scholarship is based on tuition costs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I have been involved with the Foundation since its inception and believe it is the most effective way of making charitable gifts to our community. Our gifts literally keep on giving – and will continue to do so far into the future. The Foundation is a great catalyst of growing significance and plays a vital role in shaping the future of our community. Marilyn and I are pleased to be a part of that.” – David Hoffman
Don Halverson Memorial Scholarship Fund
This fund was started in 1994 by Don’s wife Emily through the many memorials received at Don’s death. Some months later, the Black River Falls Lions Club, of which Don was president at the time of his death, sponsored a special fundraiser to increase the fund. In 1996, the Lions Club again contributed additional funds. “Don was a high school teacher, coach, and athletic director and loved working with the youth in our community. His heart was always in education and I know he would be pleased that we have established this annual $1,500 scholarship to help students further their education. This was very important to Don. I am so appreciative of the Lions Club members for their continuing contributions to this fund. By establishing this Scholarship Fund through the Foundation, I know it will continue to help students for many, many years.” – Emily Halverson
Leland and Jeanette Larson Memorial Scholarship Fund
Jeanette Larson of Northbrook, Illinois died in May 2009. Her previously deceased husband, Leland, grew up on a farm near Taylor and, recognizing the value of education, they jointly established the Leland and Jeanette Larson Scholarship Fund. The fund awarded its first scholarship in 1991. In 2008, Jeanette increased the scholarship amount to $2,000 annually. The Foundation was remembered in the estates of both Leland and Jeanette and funds from their estates will enable additional scholarship assistance to be
provided for Jackson County graduates.
Gene and Judy Ransom Scholarship Fund
In 2010, Gene and Judy Ransom donated $25,000 to the Foundation to start a scholarship for a graduating senior or alumnus of Alma Center Lincoln High School with preference to students attending UW Eau Claire.
Lions and Rotary Scholarship Fund
In 1988, the Lions and Rotary Clubs of Black River Falls combined their resources to create the first Scholarship Fund managed by the Foundation. This $1,000 annual scholarship has been awarded each year since 1989. In 2012, 23 years after the scholarship’s creation, the original funds and all earnings had been exhausted. Rather than let the scholarship end, the Lions and Rotary Clubs again donated funds to keep the scholarship going for several additional years.
James Jr. and Anna Klir Memorial Scholarship Fund
This Scholarship Fund was established in 2000 by Rose Klir and Mary Curtis in memory of their parents James, Jr. and Anna Klir. In 1938, James and Anna started the school bus service for the Black River Falls Area schools and continued this service until 1951. The first distribution from this fund was made in 2001. Since then, $1,000 has been awarded every year. Rose Klir continues to make donations to keep the fund active and ongoing.