The Foundation celebrates its 36th anniversary today. It was on July 20, 1981 that a group of active residents and business leaders announced they were forming a community foundation to ensure the “ongoing vitality” of Eden Prairie.
“With rapid growth and development will come additional needs, many of which the City itself will be unable to address,” they said in their news release announcing the Eden Prairie Foundation (the word “Community” was later added to the name).
“The Foundation came into being because we want to be able to address those needs that the City cannot for lack of available public funds. Our desire is for a city where one can live, work or base a business, that is keenly responsive to needs and wants of its individual and corporate citizens. We simply want Eden Prairie to continue to develop as a vibrant and progressive community with an going vitality. We believe the new Eden Prairie Foundation can contribute in a small way to that vitality in the years to come.”
Elected as officers for the fledgling organization were: Billy Bye, chairman; Dean Edstrom, president; Duane Pidcock, vice president; Ruth Hustad, secretary; and Robert Hanson, treasurer.
Other board members were: Jerry McCoy, Helen Anderson, Paul Redpath, Roy Terwilliger, Sidney Pauly, and Roger Ulstad.
Shortly after that announcement, in an Eden Prairie News article that carried my byline, officers of the new organization said the time was simply right: Eden Prairie was beginning to rapidly develop, new needs would surely arise, and creating an umbrella organization knowledgeable about where dollars were needed most simply made sense.
To say that the Foundation found its groove would be under-estimating its impact. Since its formation, it has issued more than 500 grants to 84 different organizations serving people who live and work in Eden Prairie. Beyond that, it has served as a fiscal sponsor for others’ community projects — the Veterans Memorial, Eden Prairie Miracle Field, and Sydney Galleger Memorial Pool, to name a few — and held funds for philanthropic residents who have been granting to causes important to them. There isn’t a corner of Eden Prairie that hasn’t been touched by the Foundation.
We stand on the shoulders of the individuals who 36 years ago had the foresight to see a need and know how to address it. We’re proud to continue their work.