|| 2020-2021 IMPACT REPORT ||

Creating Pathways, Building Communities

We are all excited to be moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, we are pleased to report on the activities of the Fremont Area Community Foundation and what the incredible generosity of our donors made possible during our 2020-2021 fiscal year.

This was, again, a year of responding to the needs of individuals and nonprofit organizations on the front lines, supporting the Fremont area. It was a year of creativity and innovation. We pivoted from doing business as usual. We learned to work remotely and connect across our communities using technology. With our foundation partners, we discovered new ways to conduct day-to-day business, engage our community virtually, keep important work moving forward and respond to needs as they arose.

This was a year of generosity. Despite the challenges of COVID, many donors added to their funds, and new funds were created. Supporters turned out again for the Fremont Area Big Give with a record total in donations. This year was a call to action. We are blessed with effective nonprofit partners who rise to the challenge to help address individual needs and identify solutions to community issues.

This has been a memorable year. The path forward has been made easier, though, through the generosity of many who believe in supporting their community. At the Fremont Area Community Foundation, we are honored to assist and support those who care.

Melissa Diers

Executive Director

Terry McClain

Board President

total assets
totaling $2.1mil
new funds
200 total funds
$106,200 awarded

New Funds

New Fund Helps Youth Learn Life Skills

The Empower YOUth Fund supports programs that put Fremont area youth ages 5 to 22 on the pathway to life skills they need to become confident and independent adults. It was created by the Jefferson House Advisory Board with proceeds from the sale of its former youth residential shelter and group home that served Fremont area youth for 20 years.

Examples of life skills include cooking, household management, career development, emotional development, financial/legal education and relationship learning. The first grantee of the Empower YOUth Fund was Banisters Leadership Academy, which is providing area at-risk youth with weekend programs including a hot meal, physical activities and leadership development.

Grand Passage Fund Connects Youth with Outdoor Sports

The Grand Passage Sportsmen Fund is dedicated to creating outdoor sporting opportunities for youth around North Bend and surrounding communities. The organization, which takes its name from the height of the fall waterfowl migration, was formed to provide a “grand passage” of hunting and fishing to a community of younger enthusiasts.

The group aims to teach patience, respect, ethics, conservation, confidence, responsibility, and emotional control through several outdoor events throughout the year at no cost to youth. Events focus on hunting, fishing, trap shooting and other activities that build on the history and love of the outdoors.

Grants in Action

Roots to Wings Store Has New Location

Roots to Wings has been able to expand authentic life experiences for individuals living with disabilities, thanks to a grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Since 2015, the organization has been offering work exploration opportunities for transitional age students (14 to 21) and adults (21 to 32) in Dodge and Washington Counties. Roots to Wings connects the young adults with the broader community as they gain vital job skills, including product development, retail operations, food processing and craftsmanship.

Participants are provided real-life educational experiences within various environments, such as gardens, a retail store, a woodshop, a metal shop, and a sewing/weaving center, to generate purposeful individual growth. Roots to Wings is using the grant funds to remodel its retail store in Arlington that will also include a new kitchen and art and sewing rooms.

The new store, which sells food and craft items, replaced a smaller location in Arlington. Roots to Wings’ clients help clean the store, create merchandise, stock shelves and run the cash register. With space for more activities, the group is now partnering with Integrated Life Choices which provides rehabilitation, residential care and clinical services for those with disabilities.

Fire Department Receives Equipment Grant

Dodge County communities were put on the pathway to greater safety thanks to a $30,000 grant to the Fremont Rural Fire Department. The department will use part of the funds to purchase new battery-powered Jaws of Life equipment that will replace obsolete generator-powered gear. The new equipment is more mobile, making it easier to respond to damaged vehicles in a ditch or cornfield, for instance.

The department will also buy a fourth 800-frequency radio to enhance communication with police, the Sheriff’s Department and other area fire departments. In the past, Fremont Rural firefighters had to use cellphones to communicate.

Swim Equipment Grant Assists YMCA Swimmers

The Fremont Family YMCA has been building a safer, healthier community since 1888. But with aquatic programs growing faster than anticipated, existing equipment couldn’t keep up with demand. A $1,500 grant will help ensure that the swim lesson program and Special Olympics swim team will have the kick boards, pull buoys, equipment bags, paddles and fins they need.

Swimming lessons help ensure safety in the community and the Special Olympics provides exercise, socialization and confidence to children and adults with disabilities.

Project Will Help Identify Historic Places

A grant to the Washington County Historical Society will build up communities by taking history outside the museum in Fort Calhoun and into the towns and streets. The grant will support the two-year project to place signs throughout the county identifying historic buildings and telling the stories of historic events.

In addition to signs on streets, in parks and on the sides of buildings, the project also includes the creation of life-size figures of historic people. The society hopes the project will beautify the community, educate the public and increase tourism in Arlington, Blair, Herman, Kennard, Fontanelle, Washington and Fort Calhoun.

Grant Is Keeping Habitat Homes Affordable

The supply chain problems created by COVID-19 have affected everyone — including nonprofits. But Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity used a $20,000 foundation grant to keep its homes affordable. The grant helped cover the elevated cost of building materials for Habitat’s two 2021-2022 homes, which are providing safe, appropriate housing for 12 people.

Habitat houses are sold — never given away — to partner families, so the increase in construction costs threatened to make the no-interest mortgages for Habitat homes unaffordable. By providing a pathway to homeownership, Habitat has been making Fremont a stronger community since 1993.

Grant Brings Music Back to Senior Living Centers

COVID-19 restrictions sidetracked much of the programming available at senior living centers. But a $7,400 foundation grant to the Merrymakers Association is putting three facilities back on the pathway to “Music, Laughter and Memories for Seniors.” Those benefiting are the residents of Saunders County Medical Care Center in Wahoo, Colonial Haven in Beemer and Arbor Care Centers in Tekamah.

The Merrymakers encourage active participation, increase social interaction and spark memories through professional musical entertainment. Formed in Blair in 1986, the group believes that music has a transformative power to lift spirits, spark old memories and reconnect seniors with rejuvenation and joy.

Youth Philanthropy Contest

Teen Sews ‘Smile Bags’ for Kids

Although the pandemic slowed her progress, Jenna Larsen still managed to put children on the pathway to smiles. The Fremont 15-year-old began her Youth Philanthropy Contest project in 2019 and completed it two years later. With the help of her grandmother, Cathy Chapman, Jenna sewed 35 “Smile Bags” for children who pass through The Bridge, a local agency providing services and refuge for those impacted by domestic violence.

Each bag contains a coloring book, crayons, toy car, stuffed animal, and card game — and hopefully brightens a dark situation with a smile. The foundation provides a grant up to $1,000 for each project in the contest.

Team Purchases Christmas Gifts for Families

The Teens in Ministry Team at First Lutheran Church in Fremont brightened Christmas for kids and adults in their community with a $1,000 Youth Philanthropy Contest grant. The team purchased gifts for 16 children and five adults served by Lutheran Family Services. They bought toys, art supplies and books for the kids, and clothes and household items for the adults.

The team also purchased items to make 17 care kits for young adults in the Fremont Area United Way’s Youth Voice program. Those individuals, who have aged out of foster care, received items such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, feminine products, razors and shaving cream.

Little Library Contains Books About Pollinators

A garden that was already attracting pollinators in North Bend is now educating the community about the importance of those species. Becky Streff’s fifth-grade class at North Bend Central Elementary teamed up with the Platte River 4-H Club to add a “My Little Library” in the pollinator garden west of the school.

The garden contains 120 native Nebraska pollinator plants. The youth used a foundation grant to purchase pollinator books. The fifth-graders read the books and created reading comprehension questions and pollinator lessons for the inside covers before placing the books in the little free library.

STEM Kits Give Kids Chance to Create

A project by Trinity Lutheran School students put less fortunate kids on the pathway to creativity — and maybe a better future. Sixth-graders Sam Stinnette and Reese Barton, guided by Trinity STEM Coordinator Brett Meyer, wrote a grant application to pay for 20 STEM kits for Care Corps’ LifeHouse shelter.

Each kit includes a K’NEX set, string, rubber bands and a book full of building ideas, all placed in a cloth carrying bag. Kids at the shelter can get lost in their imaginations while building things such as small cranes, helicopters and bridges. They might even realize an opportunity to change their lives for the better through their own creativity.

Building Sustainability

Agencies Increase Fundraising Capacity Through Jumpstart

Three new organizations are benefiting from Jumpstart, a yearlong program that helps nonprofits become more effective at fundraising.

CASA of the Midlands provides trained volunteers to advocate for children appearing before the court as a result of abuse or neglect.

Life Choices educates and empowers women facing unplanned pregnancies, and Nebraska Mediation Center provides peaceful, affordable ways to resolve conflicts.

Participants receive tools, guidance and coaching to build their fundraising capacity, diversify revenue and grow their programs. Skills gained from Jumpstart have become all the more important as in-person fundraising events scaled back during COVID-19 while demand for services increased.

Donations Secured for Forever Friend Funds

In celebration of its 40 years of impact, the Fremont Area Community Foundation was recently blessed with cash commitments totaling more than $3 million for the Fremont Forever Fund, the unrestricted endowment fund which drives the foundation’s grantmaking and has been building the Fremont area for over four decades.

This fund has distributed more than $4.4 million and benefitted hundreds of organizations and charitable efforts. With a host of Fremont Forever Friends stepping forward to build up this fund, it will be able to help even more people today as well as tomorrow.

Those providing a minimum establishing gift of $10,000 as a Fremont Forever Friend are able to create and name their own unrestricted endowment fund.

New Fremont Forever Friend Funds include:

  • Tanya & Blake Dillon Family Endowment Fund
  • First State Bank & Trust Giving Fund
  • Todd & Shannon Hansen Family Endowment Fund
  • Libby & John Headid Endowment Fund
  • Roger & Pam Pannier Charitable Fund
  • Peg & Steve Pribnow Family Fund
  • Wikert Endowment Fund
  • Tom & Deanna Wolf Endowment Fund

The Legacy Society

Sustaining growth through gifts from our Legacy Society

FACF created a Legacy Society to recognize and thank individuals and families who plan to leave a gift to the community through a bequest, trust, life insurance policy, retirement plan or charitable annuity.

Members of our Legacy Society care about the future of the Fremont area and realize that their gifts will strengthen the projects and programs of local nonprofit organizations and the people they serve. We thank the following members for their foresight and generosity

Legacy Profile: Rachel Timme

At 98 years old, Rachel Timme passed, but left a legacy that will last forever.

Rachel was born and raised in rural Hooper, graduated from Hooper High School, and met and married Larry Timme at Grace Lutheran Church in Hooper. They farmed for 21 years in the Talbasta area of Washington County, then moved to Fremont in 1965 where they started their own auction business. Rachel did the office work and clerked the sales, and also worked part-time as a bookkeeper for Froid Implement Company for 30 years.

She believed in being useful and, as busy as she was with work, she found time to volunteer and serve. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church’s Women’s Circle and frequently assisted with funeral services. She was also a member of the Fremont Area Medical Center Auxiliary. Sadly, Larry passed in 1988—after 44 years of marriage—but Rachel kept busy and enjoyed her family and friends.

According to niece Mary Coulter, she was self-sufficient, positive and independent. So much so that those closest to her were surprised she didn’t reach the age of 100.

The community she served during her lifetime will continue to benefit from Rachel’s generous spirit, courtesy of her bequest to the foundation’s Fremont Forever Fund. Her final gift will last forever to provide grants for generations.

Legacy Profile: Richard A. & Joyce E. Klebe

“Joyce was a person who put her family first,” according to niece Brenda Semin. “She always went above and beyond, and was so encouraging and supportive of us (girls and nephews).”

But Joyce made her mark in the professional world as well. She started working at Fremont National Bank (now FNBO) in 1956 and retired some 40 years later with the distinction of having been the first woman promoted to Cashier in Fremont’s banks. She was a member of the Fremont Business and Professional Women, Credit Professionals International and Financial Women of Nebraska. According to a remembrance by former co-worker Joe Twidwell, Joyce was “one of the people at Fremont National that made the Bank seem like family.”

She was generous and kind, says Brenda. “She would be the first to share an encouraging note with anyone and she truly cared about so many people in her life. She was generous not only with her gifts but with her time and her heart, which was such a beautiful example for us.”

High school sweethearts Joyce and Dick married in 1957 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hooper. While a student at Midland College, Dick worked at Hormel’s. Then he went into the insurance business, as an underwriter and in sales. He worked several years for Fremont Office Equipment before becoming a computer tech for the Omaha Public Schools and retiring in 2000. Dick was a member of the Pathfinder Chorus, the Pioneer Amateur Radio Club, the Fremont Shrine Club and more. He enjoyed the outdoors, nature, hunting and especially fishing. Like Joyce, he was always ready to lend a hand when someone needed help. Before he passed in 2019, Dick and Joyce enjoyed family, traveling (visiting all 50 states!) and attending all of the nieces’ and nephews’ special events.

The Fremont Area Community Foundation is honored to administer the Richard A. and Joyce E. Klebe Scholarship, awarded for the first time in 2022. This fund provides financial assistance to two graduating seniors each year—one from Fremont High School and one from Bergan High School.

Thanks to Dick and Joyce, generations of Fremont area youth will have the financial support they need to pursue their education and life aspirations. What a wonderful legacy.

  • $425,651Raised
  • 2,002Total Gifts
  • 69Non-Profits

Glimpsing a Bright Future Along the Path Ahead

The past year reminded us all of the meaning of community. Despite the hardships that we endure, good things are possible when we all dig deep and pull together. Because of generous donors and effective partners, we were able to respond to the needs at hand.

Nowhere did that generosity and collaboration show more than in our annual Fremont area Big Give, which brought in a record total in donations, with supporters turning out in droves.

As we look to the future, the Fremont Area Community Foundation will continue creating pathways and building communities, thanks to all of us giving what we can to ensure the Fremont Area has what it needs.

Fremont Area Community Foundation
1005 E 23rd St #2 | Fremont, NE 68025 | (402) 721-4252 |
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