We hope you think of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation as a forward-looking organization, the kind that is continually anticipating critical needs in EP, and increasing public awareness of and support for the Foundation.
But perhaps we should take a few moments to look back, as in look back on the Foundation’s work in 2016. Such an exercise might offer a different tone than you’re getting from other assessments of this calendar year, including many that give it a “thumbs down” for such things as election vitriol and lives lost.
The Washington Post, for example, said it “wasn’t entirely bad news” and BBC News called it “not the worst year ever.” Not very enthusiastic evaluations, are they?
So, let’s look at four of the many highlights from the Foundation’s 2016:
- EPCF ended its fiscal year 2015-16 on June 30 having seen more than $278,000 granted from the Foundation and its fund holders over a 12-month period, including substantial granting for the new Eden Prairie Miracle Field and naming rights for the Sydney Galleger Memorial Pool. That would make 2015-16 one of the Foundation’s biggest granting years ever.
- 2016 saw the dedication of Miracle Field, the specially designed baseball diamond for kids and young adults with disabilities. The idea came about more than five years ago, when young Eden Prairie baseball players and their parents from a travel-league team were in Lakeville and saw a Miracle Field in action there. They brought the idea back to Eden Prairie, got help from the City of Eden Prairie and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, and their fundraising campaign was soon underway. Several years later, the brand-new field is complete and in use.
- Several new donor-advised funds and designated funds were started at the Foundation in 2016 – including the Jeffrey Lukens and Nancy Tyra-Lukens Fund and the Luger Heim Family Fund in the donor-advised category, and in the designated-fund category the Interfaith Circle Fund, the Eden Prairie Fire Relief Association Charitable Giving Fund, the Eden Prairie Youth Housing Fund, the Lonne Murphy Scholarship Fund, and the Denise Stewart Memorial Fund. The funds were set up to direct charitable giving to projects and causes important to the fund holders and the community – and thus improving Eden Prairie’s overall quality of life.
- Many of the Foundation’s annual events saw an increase in attendance during 2016, particularly Prairie Brewfest and the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. The Brewfest is a fundraiser and friend-raiser centered on craft-beer sampling, and this year more than 500 persons purchased tickets – an increase from last year of about 100. The Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon we hold with Flagship Bank not only serves as a thank-you to local leaders of clubs, nonprofits, city and school government, and others but is intended to increase collaboration for the benefit of Eden Prairie. This year we had 74 persons representing 36 different organizations.
We’re pleased with these accomplishments, but mostly we’re happy for Eden Prairie, since all of these help make a good community even better.
And since we are, indeed, a forward-looking organization, we can’t wait to see what can be achieved in 2017.