Chosen Valley Community Foundation chairman F. Mike Tuohy and CVCF Gifts and Receiving Committee members Tom Vinson and Terry Bradt recently accepted donations for the foundation.
Chosen Valley Community Foundation chairman F. Mike Tuohy and CVCF Gifts and Receiving Committee members Tom Vinson and Terry Bradt recently accepted donations for the foundation.
It's a teenage foundation of change.

Birthdays, anniversaries, bequests...

Nickels, dimes, pennies, hundreds, fifties...

"The foundation was set up to receive money from donors as a tax deductible gift. We have had some large and many small grants through the years," said F. Mike Tuohy, speaking of the Chosen Valley Community Foundation (CVCF). "We receive many small memorial gifts, celebration donations and whatever occasion one wants to share."

The organization was founded in February of 2000 by a group of Chatfield-area citizens who felt the need to keep donated monies working for the community, Tuohy added.

CVCF became a teenager this February and for its birthday, its board members have chosen to continue doing what they've done the past 13 years - raise funds to make Chatfield a welcoming hometown.

President Tuohy explained how the CVCF makes a difference in Chatfield and the surrounding area through its role as a fiscal agent bestowing funds on various organizations.

"The foundation's primary function is to assist donors who wish to give to our community, in a specified gift, or a general gift," he said. "The specified gift can be a one-time or annual sum for use as specified by the giver, while an unspecified gift will go to the foundation to be used as the foundation committee designates from requests from the community general grant cycle, which comes once a year. The committee, which meets usually 10 times a year, is composed of volunteers who wish to give time to our community for purposes of making our area a better place to live."

The CVCF has distributed a total of $252,793 to 34 different area organizations, including the Chatfield High School FFA and Chatfield FFA Alumni, the Fillmore County food shelf, the Bluff Country Hiking Club, Bundles of Love, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, CCTV, the Chatfield Public Library and more.

To date, the Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA) has received $6,500 in grants from the CVCF. Tuohy related that often, the grants that the CVCF gives are the catalysts for change.

"There are many projects in our community which are good for everyone, yet the requesting grantee may not be able to pay for implementing these projects," he stated. "The requests for grants are made to CVCF, and if the committee feels they are worthy, they may be partially or completely funded, and the results are requested to be filed on completion. This last fall, our grants were an additional $5,400 to community requests."

The foundation held a local fundraising drive this past December to build its funding, and to date, has received over $6,000, most of which was open for general grant requests. A total of $1,000 of this amount was specified for the CCA.

Tuohy added, "CVCF has helped the CCA board with grants in the past. The CCA is a separate 501(c)3 corporation which is just for the Center for the Arts and Potter Auditorium. CVCF is for all the area nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, community organizations."

Tuohy gave an example of the value of the former Chosen Valley Elementary School building and the board working to revitalize it, now under development as the CCA, certainly a grateful beneficiary of the CVCF.

"Our 1916 building and Potter Auditorium are historical buildings which our school district could not use efficiently," he said. This group is working to keep the buildings in the center of our community open and contributing to Main Street. If they were empty, it would be an eyesore. The CCA now has had over 20,000 people use the spaces in the past two years. There are more requests for space than we have room for with the budget CCA has to date."

In January, the CVCF received a donation from F&M Community Bank in the sum of $1,000, as the bank often determines that the CVCF is a worthy recipient of its community contributions.

Tuohy explained that the F&M gift was for $1,000 to the CVCF - for general grant requests as submitted to the board of directors - and another $1,000 gift was to the CCA, of which one half, or $500, was to go to CEDA, another 501(c)3 corporation with main offices in Chatfield. CEDA has 16 people working for communities and counties in specialized areas such as economic development and grant writing.

"The F&M donation of $2,000 to Chatfield is in appreciation of their customers in our community," Tuohy pointed out. "They chose to give to these two for use in the community as seen fit by the boards of each group. F&M's desire is to reinvest money back into our community and believes this is most efficient and the best way to maximize their gift."

Tuohy reiterated that the Chosen Valley Community Foundation relies on the community to support it so, in turn, it can support the community.

This foundation was created so Chatfield people could give tax deductible donations to the endowment fund or directly to the general fund. When gifts are given to the endowment fund, it increases a set amount that is in the fund and therefore the interest earned from the endowment. Only those incomes are spent, allowing the endowment to grow and give for years to come. When donations are given to the general fund, those are used as the donors request or as the board sees fit.

"I feel this is the very best way that those of us who appreciate our community can assure any gift will be used for the betterment of all," Tuohy concluded.