Thirty Nine Years and still giving Strong

Thirty Nine Years and still giving Strong

For nearly forty years, the Wood River Community Centennial Foundation (WRCCF) has awarded grants and scholarships and helped raise funds for various community projects. The WRCCF mission of “Helping Hands” is superimposed on its logo: Three “Cs,” which indicate the general areas of civic, charity and culture with over arch “Today, Sharing Tomorrow.” 

The idea for use of remaining funds ($5,000.00) after Wood River’s 1982 Centennial Celebration was first discussed by the members of the Wood River Centennial Committee. Donna Moyer encouraged the group to think about forming a community foundation with these funds. Donna and Judy Wagoner then contacted several of the surrounding community foundations to learn about a community foundation and the benefits for the community.

On July 25, 1984, an organization meeting was held to discuss a foundation. Forty-eight Wood Riverites attended this meeting, which was led by John Fry, of the Lincoln Foundation. After discussion, a vote was taken to accept the articles to form a non-profit corporation. All forty-eight present signed the article. The articles were tabled for additional signatures. The articles were filed on August 8, 1984, and approved on August 25, 1984. The Biennial Report is current and is filed on the odd numbered years. 

At the outset, the WRCCF was associated with the Lincoln Foundation to ensure that all donations would qualify as a tax-exempt donation under IRC 2053(c)(3). On March 22, 2006, WRCCF received a tax-exempt letter that it would be exempt from federal income tax under 2053(c)(3) of the Federal Income tax and be treated as a public charity. In 2007, the agreement was severed because of the cost of being affiliated with the Lincoln Foundation. The funds were transferred to the Greater Grand Island Foundation on June 30, 2007. 

Finally, in 2013, because of the cost of being affiliated with another foundation, ties were severed and the Wood River Community Centennial members committee voted to invest the funds with the Trust Department of Heritage Bank in Aurora and work with accountants Bangs and Stewart for all accounting requirements. Today, these are the two main expenses for WRCCF so funds that are received are available for grants and scholarships back to the Wood River area community. 

 The WRCCF is managed by an eleven member board of directors who may serve up to two consecutive four year terms. Members roll on and off at different times and can be re-elected after being off for a year. Current board members are Abby Rennau, Jason Rotter, Dave Harders, Blanca Rodriguez, Jenny Reeder, Peg Krause, Kaye Doane, Mary Harders, Adrienne Gill, Andrea Johnson, and Kim Canfield. Judy Wagoner serves as executive secretary. All are volunteers. 

The purpose of the WRCCF is to serve as a recipient for donated funds to be used at a later date when a need in the community is recognized. WRCCF is not in competition with other organizations in Wood River but was created to receive funds such as at the time of a memorial gift or a gift of honor, thus the money would stay in the community and be available for future grants. All tax-exempt organizations are encouraged to make grant requests. The times of the quarterly meetings are posted prior to the meetings. Grant requests are encouraged that benefit a group, not an individual (except for the named scholarships). The logo was designed with input from the community with the final design prepared by Carol Schooley. 

Since the inception of the WRCCF in 1984, over $883,024.56 has been awarded back to the Wood River community in the form of various grants and scholarships. This was made possible by various generous donors (both large and small). The list of the various awarded grants can be found on the website, Look around Wood River and at first glance, one will see the welcome to town sign, the school sign, the downtown overpass beautification project, park improvements, community center furnishings, the new Kiosk for Wood River Rural High School history to be located in the new entry way, Celebrate Wood River, etc., and the new programs and equipment at the local schools. Many are taken for granted but they are there because of the work of volunteers, organizers and funding from the WRCCF. 

The WRCCF has worked with different organizations to raise funds for a project. At the first meeting, the Citizens Committee for the swimming pool came and asked for help. They raised some money that eventually was turned over to the Wood River Aquatic Center. When the fitness center was added, funds were raised through the Foundation for the flooring and equipment. When Stick Creek Kids was fundraising for the new day care center the Foundation served as recipient of the funds to ensure they qualified for tax-exempt status, plus named funds were granted for the new facility. Funds were donated for the new ambulance and to assist the Wood River Fire and Rescue Department and for Go Big Give fundraising. Two Go Big Give campaigns have been held for the Wood River Elementary School playground improvements and benefactors funds were contributed. Legacy Station, was the recipient of $50,000.00 from Two grand benefactor’s funds were donated to the Legacy Stations as well. 

The original members were the forty-eight signatures on the articles of incorporation. Now, every Wood River resident is a member of WRCCF. There are no dues, but everyone is encouraged to support the Foundation. The quarterly and annual meetings are open to the public, and notices published prior to the meetings. 

Everyone is a member. Anyone interested in serving as a board member is encouraged to attend a meeting and let a current board member know that you would be willing to serve on the board. Everyone is welcome. 

It’s hard to highlight large donations and the Foundation has had many generous benefactors’ and has been able to make some larger size grants. These have been listed in the yearly reports which are found on the webpage along with a description of the various funds. The brochure that is updated yearly can also be found on the webpage. 

Anyone seeking more information may go to the webpage, The Foundation can be contacted by email at [email protected] or contact one of the board members listed. 

People may think their contribution is so little, but, remember together we can do so much. Please consider supporting the Wood River Community Centennial Foundation for a promising future. 


Article featured in the Shelton Clipper 9/7/2023