“We simply want Eden Prairie to continue to develop as a vibrant and progressive community with an ongoing vitality. We believe the new Eden Prairie Foundation can contribute in a small way to that vitality in the years to come.”
With those comments by Chairman Billy Bye, the Eden Prairie Foundation formally announced its birth in July 1981.
This was the seed from which the Eden Prairie Foundation — now formally named the Eden Prairie Community Foundation — grew. And even before that seed had sprouted, the many men and women behind that effort had charted a path: The new organization would provide a central place for donations and bequests of money and property, from which would come grants in support of desired community-service projects.
Other themes noted in those early formative weeks and months included a desire to keep Eden Prairie great, without dependence on government funds, and assurances that the Foundation wished to collaborate with the great clubs and organizations already in place.
It wasn’t a particular issue, project, or concern that prompted the Foundation’s birth. Rather, as Bye commented in a newspaper article, “I think the time is just right.”
Unstated but important nonetheless was the broad range of citizens and business leaders on that first board. Officers in addition to Bye were Dean Edstrom, president; Duane Pidcock, vice president; Ruth Hustad, secretary; and Robert Hanson, treasurer. Directors included Jerry McCoy, Helen Anderson, Paul Redpath, Roy Terwilliger, Sidney Pauly, and Roger Ulstad. Marjorie Friederichs served as executive secretary.