Community Foundation in the planning processA group of 10 community members met last week to discuss starting a Somerset Community Foundation.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
A group of 10 community members met last week to discuss starting a Somerset Community Foundation.
Somerset resident and business owner Jay Emmert said he got the idea to create a foundation when he was doing research on grants and funding for a community project he was interested in pursuing.
“The more research I did, the more I realized Somerset should have its own foundation,” he said. “New Richmond, Amery, Hudson, River Falls and Stillwater all have community foundations.”
Emmert says the goal of the foundation is to create a better community as a whole, by offering money for projects within Somerset.
He says while there are different groups around town working individually to raise funds for their own causes, the community foundation would bring everything together.
“The way they’re set up is the foundation gives grants or funding to different programs that come to us with a request,” Emmert said. “There’s money out there — government money, grant money — that you can’t get unless you’re set up as the right kind of organization.”
Money for the foundation is generated through donations and income generated from the money invested.
“If someone donates $100,000, in theory, we’re never touching that $100,000. We’re taking the proceeds from investing that $100,000 and that’s what gets spent,” Emmert said. “It’s going to take a while to get a decent sum of money, though.”
The Somerset Community Foundation is in the early planning stage.
A board has yet to be created and $10,000 is needed to start.
“Then we decide whether we want to do it ourselves or become an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation,” like other communities have done, he said.
Emmert said becoming an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation seems invaluable, especially during the first year or so.
“As a Somerset Community Foundation, if we are an affiliate, we still control our destiny. The advantage to being an affiliate is that all the paperwork is done for you and all the office-type stuff that would almost require a full-time person at the start is done for you,” he said.
Emmert said though the St. Croix Valley Foundation takes 1.5 percent to cover costs, being an affiliate is far less expensive than hiring someone as an executive director of the foundation.
As an affiliate the Somerset Community Foundation would receive St. Croix Valley resources, brochures, legal expertise and more.
Emmert believes creating a foundation will encourage more people to donate to the Somerset community.
“It’s going to give people a local option to donate money,” Emmert said.
Whether it’s for sports, academics, restoration projects or something unique, “people can be specific with how they’d like to donate,” Emmert said.
He says his goal is to bring the community together, to work for the collective good.
Though the foundation is in the initial planning stage, Emmert hopes the project progresses well and will be up and running by summer.
The next meeting concerning the Somerset Community Foundation is April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Somerset School District Office conference room.
Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings.
Until a website and other information is published about the Somerset Community Foundation, individuals with questions can contact Emmert at 715-410-7960 or email@example.com.