Members of the Harmony Area Community Foundation recently gathered to plan the Swing into Spring fundraiser planned for Monday night. From left are Paula Michel, Steve Donney, Umbelina Cremer, Roxanne Johnson, Tina Peters and Vicky Tribon. MELISSA VANDER PLAS/NEWS-RECORD
Members of the Harmony Area Community Foundation recently gathered to plan the Swing into Spring fundraiser planned for Monday night. From left are Paula Michel, Steve Donney, Umbelina Cremer, Roxanne Johnson, Tina Peters and Vicky Tribon. MELISSA VANDER PLAS/NEWS-RECORD
"It's a celebration," said Vicky Tribon, chairman of the Harmony Area Community Foundation, and explained the Swing into Spring fundraiser will be celebrating what the foundation has already accomplished since being established in August of 2012 and what it has planned for the future.

The fundraiser is scheduled for Monday evening at the Harmony Golf Course. The doors open at 6 p.m. for a social hour, starting with the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and enjoy beer and wine tastings. Hors d'oeuvres will be served starting at 6:30 and will be followed by a presentation by Duane Benson at 7 p.m.

Foundation board member Steve Donney explained proceeds from this event will be used to help Fillmore Central purchase an electronic sign for the front of the Harmony school building. The sign will highlight both school and community events.

"We've encouraged the school to ask for a grant from the foundation," Donney added. The idea for an electronic sign to replace the current event sign has been discussed for a few years and the foundation felt it could help the district upgrade its sign. The project fits into the foundation's motto, "To serve the Harmony area by supporting projects which improve the quality of life and build a stronger community."

The foundation's focus centers around parks, trails, the Fillmore Central schools, the public library, arts and history, health and environment, community support and growth, Tribon explained.

Umbelina Cremer, another member of the board and one of the organizers of the fundraiser, also stressed the fundraiser is a social gathering - an opportunity for members of the community to get to know the board members as well as learn more about the foundation and its goals.

The board members stressed the event is open to everyone in the community. "All you need is a ticket," said Roxanne Johnson, who is also helping plan Monday's event. One can purchase tickets in advance at Oak Meadow Meats or RE/MAX Select Properties in Harmony. One may also call Tribon at (507) 886-1970 or email contact@harmonycommunityfoundation.org to purchase tickets. They will also be available at the door. The event ticket price is $20, which includes hors d'oeuvres and two drink tickets. The beer and wine tasting, hosted by Wheelers, is an additional $10.

"We are going to have a wonderful selection of beer and wine," Johnson added. "And they are all in the affordable range."

A short program will be held during the event, with Tribon highlighting some of the foundation's past accomplishments, its goals for the future and information about its fundraising opportunities. Those include Give to the Max Day in November and the Founders Club, where individuals make a $1,000 commitment to help establish an endowment fund for the foundation.

"The foundation provides an opportunity for all of us to get involved and to pay it forward and to make a difference in our Harmony area," Tribon added. "The foundation is about connecting needed community projects with funding for these projects."

The foundation has been able to provide grant money to Fillmore Central and Selvig Park over the past year, totaling over $22,500. The grants helped Fillmore Central purchase laptops to improve student access to technology and upgrade the playground equipment at Selvig Park.

Following Tribon's presentation, Duane Benson will share information regarding the importance of foundations and the value they have on their communities. He will share stories from his experiences as a NFL linebacker, playing for 11 years, and his decade-long service as a Minnesota State Senator. Benson is also currently a commissioner on the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority.

Following the program, those attending will have time to secure their silent auction bids while enjoying more social time with snacks and beverages.

Cremer and Johnson highlighted a few of the silent auction items by saying there are "lots of goodies" from both individuals and businesses. One can expect opportunities to bid on wine baskets, golf items, dinners, sporting packages, admissions to local attractions, meat packages, jewelry and much more. Cremer, herself, is offering a private dining experience in her home, featuring a Mexican meal she will prepare.

The foundation board hopes to make the Swing into Spring fundraiser an annual event. It may morph into a more complex event, with dinner, in the future, but Cremer explained they want to keep it small for their first year out.

"It's going to be a fun evening," said Tribon. "It marks good progress for Harmony."