Moved here, fell in love with the community, and are giving back: That, in a nutshell, is the story of Jeff Lukens and Nancy Tyra-Lukens.
Now, their “giving back” includes a donor-advised fund at the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, where they can become grant-makers on their own and help causes and organizations important to them, using the advice and expertise of the Foundation when needed.
It started in 1985, when they moved here from Nashville, Tenn. Eden Prairie wasn’t even on their radar, says Nancy, until friends suggested they consider buying a home in EP because of its good schools, parks and trails, as well as a wide range of housing choices.
“We just loved it – and raised three kids here,” she adds.
They really didn’t become involved in the Eden Prairie Community Foundation until about the mid-1990s, when Nancy was elected to the Eden Prairie City Council and became the council’s representative to the EPCF Board of Directors. But they came to appreciate the farsightedness of the Foundation’s 1981 founders.
“I think it’s really, really interesting to think back to 35 years ago, when Eden Prairie was starting to boom, that community members had the foresight to recognize there would still be needs to fill,” she says. Over the years, the Community Foundation has granted roughly $1.6 million to 60-plus nonprofits and other organizations serving people who live or work in Eden Prairie.
Now, the Lukenses plan to tap the Foundation’s expertise to find needs they can help fill with their donor-advised fund. “We feel we’ve received a lot from this community,” Nancy explains, “and our desire is to give back.”
They hope that starting their fund will inspire other Eden Prairie residents to create a fund or otherwise support the lean-but-knowledgeable Community Foundation … that it will “show that the Foundation is here to stay, and has the expertise,” she says.
Has Eden Prairie been good to you, too? Find out how you can “give back” through the Eden Prairie Community Foundation by contacting its executive director, Mark Weber, at [email protected] or (952) 949-8499.