Neighbors helping neighbors
For almost twenty years, the purpose of the Five-Star Community Foundation has been to use community assets to help improve the quality of life in the cities of Lucan, Seaforth, Vesta, Wabasso and Wanda. During this time, grants have been approved which have provided for a Jaws of Life apparatus, children's books through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, community hall renovations, college scholarships, and so much more.
The Five-Star Foundation is not a government agency. Rather, funds are raised from area residents. There are a variety of reasons why people donate. Some want to assist young people pursuing a postsecondary education in order to achieve their dreams. Others appreciate what their hometown gave them growing up, and want to pass that on to the next generation. One donor was simply intrigued by the idea of a community foundation. Donations can be made several different ways, including cash, stock, grain, or including Five-Star in one's will.
There are three ways in which Five-Star assists the area: community development grants, mini-grants, and college scholarships. Several times throughout the year, the Five-Star board (which is comprised entirely of local residents who volunteer their time) meets to review and approve applications.
The main difference between community development grants and mini-grants is the monetary amount; as the maximum amount awarded to one community development grant application is $10,000 while $1,000 is the upper limit to a mini-grant. The Board looks for long-term projects that will benefit a significant portion of the community. Projects also have to include other sources of funding and/or investment, as Five-Star is not intended to be a sole funding source. Grant recipients can be units of government, 501(c) organizations, schools, or churches (doing communitywide projects).
The scholarship program has rapidly grown since 2012. This past spring, eleven different scholarships totaling $9,000 were awarded to members of the Wabasso High School class of 2015 courtesy of Five-Star.
Currently, the board is accepting applications for the community development grant (mini-grants are usually awarded in November). Interested parties are encouraged to visit www.thefivestarfoundation.org for more information and to print an application. Completed applications can either be dropped off at the public school or mailed to Box 69, Wabasso. The following board members would be happy to talk with you about your grant idea or donating to the foundation: Jerry Eichten, Pat Eichten, Vicki Irlbeck, Josh Krause, Karen Lemcke, Wade McKittrick, Tom Moore, Ron Plaetz, Jeff Rohlik, Susan Schilling, Tom Schilling, Pam Sheeran, Ted Suss, and PJ Bock.