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Forever Rozel & Burdett half way to fundraising goal
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Katie Hammeke and her peers knew it wouldn’t be easy. But they accepted the challenge to raise $50,000 for Forever Rozel & Burdett to establish an endowment at the Golden Belt Community Foundation (GBCF).

Now they are at the half-way mark.

Originally, the group requested help from GBCF in setting up a $25,000 endowment fund; the GBCF suggested doubling that.

“We realized it would be difficult,” Hammeke acknowledged. “The ag economy is suffering and we know our farmers are hurting. However, we are truly blessed with so many farmers that are still willing to help out. Our neighbors have great hearts.”

Some of Forever Rozel & Burdett’s success is a $5,000 grant from Golden Valley Coop. This was matched dollar-for-dollar by CHS, the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grain and food company.

In addition, Land O’ Lakes awarded a $5,000 matching grant.

Just as important are donations from individuals who “are always so supportive of projects that help our communities,” noted Hammeke, rural Burdett. “We are so fortunate to collaborate with people who want to help their neighbors. This really is the best place to live and raise a family.

“Local donors have our heartfelt appreciation as does Golden Valley Coop, CHS and Land O’ Lakes,” she continued. “This mix of private and corporate gifts allowed us to get half way to our goal.”

The local success is the result of some face-to-face meetings with potential donors, as well as Facebook, handouts and mailings. The next stage of fundraising also will include presentation of a Forever Rozel & Burdett video created by the Pawnee Heights yearbook class.

“The video is nearing completion and they hope to finish it up at the beginning of the school year this fall,” reported Hammeke, office manager at Golden Valley Coop.

The endowment fund’s earnings are available for a variety of projects. Examples include parks and playgrounds; libraries and education; health and social services; long-term care; and city projects.

Currently, the committee has its eye on playground equipment at the park in Rozel, which is used by the school for recess.

“We appreciate everyone who has donated and those who give in the future,” Hammeke said. “This endowment will be available for generations to help our small towns thrive. Donations ensure that projects for our children, schools and other entities can continue.”

The other main factor in the local success is the support of GBCF, Hammeke emphasized.

“They are always able and willing to help get the word out,” she explained. “The staff members are amazing, friendly, helpful and energetic. We couldn’t have done this without their support.”

Christy Tustin, GBCF executive director, complimented Forever Rozel & Burdett for its “tremendous progress. Katie and the committee are great champions for their communities.

“They understand the value of an endowment for the long-term benefits it allows. The principal amount is permanently protected, while the fund’s income supports worthy causes.”

Tustin noted that GBCF is always interested in finding ways to further leverage charitable giving. “For example, the CHS grant opportunity was a way to double the Golden Valley Coop contribution. We were happy to help with this process. Like Katie, we appreciate all donations of any size.”

Other Forever Rozel & Burdett Committee members are Helen Thorne and Ann Ellis, representing Rozel; and Pam Taylor, Nancy Holste and Kathy Mostrom, representing Burdett.

At $22.2 million in total assets and more than 180 funds under management, the Golden Belt Community Foundation has been connecting people who care to causes that matter since 1996. Golden Belt Community Foundation exists to provide non-profit organizations in central Kansas with a permanent source of support and to serve as a vehicle for charitable giving for donors. GBCF serves the counties of Barton, Pawnee, Rush, and Stafford. For more information about Golden Belt Community Foundation, call 620-792-3000 or visit their website at