Foundation announces recent grants

Community Grant awards totaling $37,500 were recently awarded by the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors at its spring 2015 meeting. Recipients of these grants are the Fort Atkinson School District, the local Historic Preservation Commission, the Hoard & Curtis Scout Camp, and Fort Youth Baseball.

High school auditorium
The largest award of $20,000 was granted to the Fort Atkinson School District to replace the outdated lighting system in the high school auditorium. As auditorium manager John Collins explained in his presentation on behalf of the district, the high school auditorium is a busy place and a great community asset. The equipment and technology behind the auditorium’s current lighting system are now almost 20 years old and in desperate need of an upgrade. Intermittent failures, the lack of replacement parts, and limited functionality have made for interesting challenges of late.

The advanced technology behind the new lighting console and all its related components will not only greatly improve lighting and programming possibilities, it will also allow students to learn stage management with state-of-the-art equipment.

Water tower roof
Also receiving an award this spring was the Historic Preservation Commission which received $8,000 to help tackle the problem of a leaking roof on the 1901 historic water tower. Logically, the issue of water coming into a water tower might not sound like much of a problem, but now that the public is enjoying entering and climbing up the structure, the old dirt floor that used to absorb the water is now concrete and the gathering water has become a safety hazard. Likewise, the water is making the new metal staircase slippery and threating the stairs with rust.

In addition to the foundation’s grant, numerous historic- and community- minded citizens have made their own donations to the foundation’s Water Tower Fund to assist with the needed repair. With help from these thoughtful donors, the foundation’s grant, and some of the City of Fort Atkinson’ room tax revenue, the Commission has met their fundraising goal and the repairs will soon be underway to preserve this striking historic artifact.

Hoard & Curtis Scout Camp
Another successful grant application was submitted by the Hoard & Curtis Scout Camp on Lake Ripley which requested $5,000 to assist with the construction of a 16’ x 21’ addition to the lodge. The new addition, estimated to cost about $20,000 thanks to lots of donated labor, will provide shower and kitchen facilities that will make the facility a little more user-friendly. This improvement should encourage even more groups to take advantage of this lovely four-acre property that was donated by the Hoard and Curtis families of Fort Atkinson to provide a unique opportunity for youth recreation.

Fort Youth Baseball
Finally, the foundation has awarded a grant of $4,500 to Fort Youth Baseball to help the City of Fort Atkinson purchase five new electronic scoreboards – three for the baseball fields at Memorial Park and two for the softball fields at JF Luther School. The old scoreboards no longer functioned as they had no electronic support.

The new scoreboards are the result of a successful collaboration between Fort Youth Baseball which spearheaded the project, the City of Fort Atkinson’s Park and Recreation Department which will be installing the new scoreboards on existing poles, and the Community Foundation whose grant will cover approximately half of the cost of the project. With Opening Day for Fort Youth Baseball coming up on Saturday, May 16th, it’s now time to Play Ball.

Fort Atkinson Community Foundation
The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation helps to fund community projects that are focused on improving the general quality of life in Fort Atkinson. The foundation looks for creative or innovative projects and programs that address community needs, and where a moderate amount of grant money can produce a significant result. The foundation has awarded grants in program areas such as human services, the arts, education, beautification, recreation, and community development. Grants are usually awarded only for the accomplishment of a definite purpose within a specified time period.

Grant guidelines and newly revised application forms are available by contacting Sue Hartwick, program administrator of the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation, at 563-3210 (office), (920) 222-1191 (mobile), or by email at

Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis by the foundation’s Board of Directors, consisting of five community leaders who serve limited terms without pay. Current foundation directors are Chairman W. Phil Niemeyer, Vice-chairman Dean Brown, and directors Christopher Rogers, Mary Behling, and Kristin Wallace. Beth McLaughlin, as immediate past chairman, serves in an advisory capacity as an ex-officio member of the board.