WAF awards grants to non-profit organizationsWORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Foundation (WAF) distributed checks totaling nearly $15,000 to several local non-profit organizations during a Tuesday night program.
By: Ryan McGaughey, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area Foundation (WAF) distributed checks totaling nearly $15,000 to several local non-profit organizations during a Tuesday night program.
The foundation, which hosted its annual program in conjunction with a Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce mixer, presented awards to 15 organizations. Randy Thompson, who serves at the group’s treasurer, was emcee.
“The Worthington Area Foundation endowment is over $200,000 now,” Thompson told a crowd that filled the primary seating area of downtown Worthington’s BenLee’s to capacity. “Our endowment has grown from $75,000 to $200,000 in just about six years.”
That growth, Thompson explained, was a result of a challenge presented by an unnamed local resident, who offered the foundation $25,000 in matching money if WAF could raise that sum. A similar challenge was also offered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), with which WAF has partnered for 10 years through SWIF’s Community Foundation Program.
“The Worthington Area Foundation has reinvested somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 without ever touching the gifts to the foundation,” said Liz Cheney, a program officer with SWIF.
“If we can keep this going, I’d like to see this endowment go over $300,000,” Thompson added.
In addition to the awards it handed out Tuesday, the WAF presented Nobles County Public Library Julie Wellnitz with $970 to be transferred to the library’s newly formed fund for its enhancement. Discussion of a new library facility in Worthington has been ongoing, with a facility on the current Lampert Lumber site being proposed earlier this fall.
“We’re totally thrilled that the foundation took us on as a project fund,” said Wellnitz, adding that more information about the library enhancement fund will be forthcoming once a fundraising plan is coordinated.
The following were the grants awarded Tuesday by the WAF:
* Cultural Awareness organization — $1,000 to support the International Festival
* Friends of the Auditorium — $811.91 from the Ellen Baker-Merrigan Endowment Fund and $688.09 from the Worthington Area Foundation for support of the Community Summer Theater project.
* Junior Achievement —$1,500 from the Wolff Family Endowment Fund
* Lake Okabena Improvement Association — $1,000 from Ellen Baker-Merrigan Endowment Fund
* Love INC of Worthington — $1,000 from the Ellen Baker Merrigan Endowment Fund and $1,000 from the Worthington Area Foundation
* Manna Food Pantry — $500 from the Worthington Area Foundation for a new scale
* Mobile Meals of Worthington — $1,000 from the Ellen Baker-Merrigan Endowment Fund for new disposable dishes and containers to transport meals to participants
* Nobles County Historical Society — $300 from the Worthington Area Foundation to go towards digital photograph frames
* Nobles County Library — $338.73 from the Wolff Family Endowment Fund and $161.27 from the Worthington Area Foundation for storytelling puppets and theater.
* The Historic Dayton House — $1,000 from the Worthington Area Foundation for office equipment.
* Worthington Area Girls Softball — $1,000 from the Worthington Area Foundation for uniforms
* Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra — $404 from the Worthington Area Foundation for percussion equipment.
* Worthington-Crailsheim International — $500 from the Worthington Area Foundation for support in hosting guests for the 65th anniversary of the program
* Worthington Hockey Association — $1,000 from the Worthington Area Foundation for the “Try Hockey for Free” project
* Worthington Area YMCA and DeGroot Family Center — $1,500 from the Wolff Family Endowment Fund to support the Childhood Obesity Project.
More information about the WAF can be found online at http://www.wgtnareafoundation.org. More about SWIF can be viewed at http://www.swifoundation.org.
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at