Fort Atkinson Community Foundation
February 2021 Quarterly Update
Improving the quality of life in Fort Atkinson by inspiring and supporting enduring philanthropy

A Better Fort Atkinson

Community Wellness Walking Path opens 

Fort HealthCare and the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation are pleased to announce the opening of the Community Wellness Walking Path at Jansen’s Banquet Hall, 1245 Whitewater Avenue in Fort Atkinson.  The Walking Path will be available from Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to Noon, through April 3, 2021.  Guests are kindly asked to be masked appropriately at all times, keep an appropriate distance from other participants, and change into dry shoes upon arrival.   
We would like to thank Fort HealthCare for their tireless effort to find a safe indoor spot for our residents to get out and walk.  Thanks are also due to the many donors who contributed to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a portion of which is being used to fund this project.  Finally we would also like to thank Connie Jansen for opening up her business to the community, Fort Atkinson Park and Rec Department for use of some of their equipment, and Fort Atkinson resident Bob Cheek for helping coordinate volunteers. 

Recently Awarded Grants

$2,000 to Jefferson County 4Cs Milk Fund 
to help purchase a new one-flavor ice cream machine with a pump for their county fair trailer.  Proceeds from their trailer ice cream sales goes to support FFA alumni groups in Fort Atkinson, Lake Mills, Jefferson and Johnson Creek.

The new ice cream machine is said to allow production of 125 root beer floats per hour without any down time.  Though that many ice creams might not be advisable for any one patron, we’re sure lots of fairgoers will be up for the challenge come summer.  

$2,130 to Rock River Heritage 
to help install a new pier mooring for a dock between the Fort Atkinson Club and the American Legion, as well as for some internal remodeling in the Club building.  Thanks to the City of Fort Atkinson for the work and to the Fort Club and the Legion for chipping in to help.  This will be a nice spot to tie up your boat.  We circled the mooring spot in the photo above but it all looked just too cold - so we added the one below to get you in the mood for summer!

$1,150 to Ernie Pope Memorial Art Show
to provide for the cash prizes for the 2021 Ernie Pope Memorial Art Show coming up this May.  This annual grant comes from our Ernie Pope Memorial Art Fund, which was established in 2003 by friends of Ernie's to make sure that the Johnson Hill Press Art Show that Ernie had helped start would continue in perpetuity.  The Fund has continued to support the show under its various main sponsors - Johnson Hill Press, Cygnus, and now Fort Community Credit Union – since that time.  
Here is a gold award winning piece from last year's Ernie Pope Memorial Art Show - "Children's Curiosity" by then high school senior, Maya Kish.

$4,848 to the Fort Atkinson Police Dept. 
to help cover 2020 expenses for the K9 unit.  This grant came from the Foundation's Police Department K9 Unit Designated Fund which provides ongoing support to the K9 unit, both in annual distributions and occasional larger grants, including a grant of $13,000 in 2018 to purchase Bolt and provide for new handler training, and $22,500 in 2019 to purchase and outfit a squad car for the K9 unit. 

Scholarship News

2021 Scholarship Season
There's still time to apply for scholarships! 
Most of our voc tech scholarships and those scholarships open to continuing undergraduate and graduate students have an April 1st application deadline so there is still plenty of time to apply.  Just go to the Community Foundation's website,, and review the comprehensive listing of all the scholarships offered by the Foundation, along with their eligibility requirements and application deadlines. 

Once you've determined the scholarships for which you are eligible, click on the link directing you to the Fort Scholarships application website.  Here applicants will be able to create an account and begin working on their application – one application that will be used for all the scholarships for which they apply.  The application can be worked on intermittently as the work can be saved and applicants can log in later and pick up where they left off. 

You can start with the button right here!
Start Scholarship Search Here
AAUW Grants for Gals
Applications for our AAUW Grants for Gals program are now being accepted, up to the March 15, 2021 deadline.
This non-traditional scholarship provides support to local girls and women to help meet an educational, cultural, leadership, or professional advancement need. It is available to girls and women aged 10 and older who live, work or attend school within the Fort Atkinson School District. 
To learn more about AAUW Grants for Gals Scholarships

Updates on Foundation-Supported Projects

Electronic Medical Records for RRCC
Last year, the Foundation awarded a $40,000 grant to the new Rock River Community Clinic to help install an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system for their clients.  The EMR will allow RRCC to gather, store, and retrieve relevant demographic, medical and dental information on the individuals being served and allow seamless communication with other medical providers in the area to better coordinate care.  This EMR will be completely integrated with Fort HealthCare’s EMR and will also have interfaces with Watertown Regional Medical Center’s EMR.

Like so many things last year, Covid-19 slowed their progress on the installation but they hope to have the project completed by this spring.  Our thanks to Fort HealthCare for their leading role in helping establish the new RRCC, and to both Fort HealthCare and the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation for taking leading roles in funding the new EMR system.
School District's Face Covering Initiative
Last August, the Foundation awarded a grant to the School District of Fort Atkinson to help make sure that every child, teacher and staff member had access to at least two reusable face coverings for the upcoming school year. Through their hard work, local donations, and the passion and generosity of a local sewing group, the district was able to make that happen.  Now as many students have returned to in-person instruction, the face coverings are there to help keep them safe.

A big thank you to the school district and all their dedicated staff for their continued work navigating this pandemic with care and kindness.  
High School Science Lab

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation, Fort Atkinson High School was able to purchase a 3D printer, a laser engraver and other tools to outfit a new lab to work on fabrication and prototyping.  The science department is closing in on a name for the new lab, with the current front runner being the IDEA Lab where IDEA stands for Imagine, Design, Engineer, Assemble. 

We are encouraged to see FAHS and the science teachers working to prepare our students for the processes and thought patterns that they will need to be competitive in the science and engineering fields of today. 

Foundation News

2021 Foundation Board
Michael Bender
Scott Housley

We didn’t manage to take a group photo of the new 2021 Community Foundation’s Board of Directors because, well, 2020 – but we did want to welcome Dr. Michael Bender to the Chairman’s seat for 2021 and give a special shout-out to our 2020 chairman, Scott Housley. 

Each year, the director who is serving their fifth and final year on the board serves as our chairman and the person who served as chairman the previous year slides into an advisory role as past chairman.  At the Foundation, there is never any angst or arm-twisting about who will serve as chairman.   By their fifth year, directors have learned all the ins and outs of the organization and are ready to take on the mantle of leadership.

So this year, as Mike takes the gavel, Scott will move into the past chairman position.  Scott shepherded the Foundation through an extremely challenging year and it certainly wasn’t what he expected for his capstone year.  But we will be forever grateful for the way he handled everything with such grace and good humor.  Thank you, Scott.

Filling out the 2021 Board of Directors are Vice Chairman Loren Gray, Treasurer Sue Johnson, Secretary Sally Koehler, and Director Lisa Caras.  Supporting the Board are legal counsel James Vance and Executive Director Sue Hartwick.

Thank You Mary Behling
For many years now, Mary Behling, a Fort Atkinson CPA and kind-hearted community servant, has managed the Foundation’s payroll and related tax services at no charge to the Foundation.  Last year, Mary’s office merged with MBE CPAs and the much larger firm graciously agreed to Mary’s request that they continue to provide us with this much appreciated service.  MBE has offices throughout Wisconsin staffed with people just like Mary who are dedicated to their local communities.  We are grateful for their kindness and good cheer.

Fund Spotlight

Just what is a Designated Fund? 
A Designated Fund provides financial support to one specific charitable organization, unit of government, or project.   Donors set them up with us so they can provide permanent and ongoing support to a charity they care about.  A gift of $15,000 is required to open an 'endowed,' or invested, fund like our BASE Club Fund which supports the BASE program, some of whose members are pictured below, and a gift of $1,500 is required to open a non-endowed, or pass-through project fund like our Fort Wheels Park Fund which recently collected donations for the Wheels Park project.

We currently have 10 endowed designated funds permanently benefitting 10 different organizations and 9 non-endowed funds helping with 9 different projects.


Theodore W. Batterman Bequest 

Mr. Theodore Batterman, who died this past summer, left an indelible imprint on Fort Atkinson.  From the founding of Spacesaver to the Theodore W. Batterman Family Foundation’s generous gifts to capital projects at the Hoard Museum, the Dwight Foster Public Library, the urban bike path, the Haumerson’s Pond project and more, the Batterman Family has touched – and improved - just about every aspect of our community.
Now, with a very generous gift to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation, Ted’s imprint will go even deeper.  At the close of last year, the Foundation received a bequest of $1.5 million from a Charitable Remainder Trust that Mr. Batterman had established at PremierBank here in Fort Atkinson.
He asked that $1.2 million go to FACF’s Theodore W. Batterman Family Scholarship Fund to make permanent the scholarship program that FACF and the Batterman Foundation had been co-administering.  Every year, five $12,000 scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors at Fort Atkinson High School whose character is as outstanding as their academic performance (pictured below are the 2017 Batterman Scholarship recipients with Batterman Foundation Executive Director Rebecca Emmons).  To be a Batterman Scholarship recipient is a source of great pride.  This new endowment from Mr. Batterman will ensure that these scholarships can be awarded in perpetuity.

Ted directed the remaining $300,000 to go toward FACF’s BASE Club Fund in support of the afterschool program that he helped launch when he served as FACF Chairman in 2003.  Over the past 17 years, he and his late wife Marilyn devoted substantial resources to the development and growth of the program which is now the thriving Badgerland After School Enrichment (BASE) Club.  It is his legacy.
The Foundation has notecards inscribed with a quote from Nelson Henderson that reads, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  We think Mr. Batterman has planted his share of trees.


Doug and Marianna Dexter Bequest

We recently received a wonderfully generous gift of $44,447 from the estate of Doug and Marianna Dexter.  They asked that it go to our General Fund, an unrestricted fund that gives our directors the most flexibility in responding to community needs – making this a wonderful gift indeed. 
Doug and Marianna were both graduates of Fort Atkinson High School, class of 1947 and 1943, respectively.  They had a great love for each other and for our community.  Doug built a long career for himself in the accounting department at W. D. Hoard & Sons, and Marianna, a proud member of the Fort Atkinson Eli Pierce Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, also worked in financial services, first at First National Bank (PremierBank) and then Fort Savings and Loan.  Marianna passed away in 2010 and Doug died this past September.
As they aged and had health challenges, they leaned on the trust management staff at Badger Bank to act as Trustee for them and help with paying bills and managing their investments.  Ann Herdendorf, senior trust office at Badger Bank told us, “Doug and Marianna loved working with others not to further their own needs but to give back. Now they have fulfilled their dream of leaving a financial legacy for the betterment of others.  I will miss them dearly.”
Along with the Community Foundation, the Dexters’ largesse was also extended to the First United Methodist Church, Rainbow Hospice, the Fort Atkinson Historical Society, and Tomorrow’s Hope.  They’ve touched us all with their kindness and their investments will reap benefits for our community.

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