Once a month, we sit down as a group at one of our local establishments and buy a brew for the guest of honor while we ask them questions.
Why do we do this? Well, although our community is small and mighty, we still don’t know the intricacies of the work being done. The Council Grove Area Foundation (CGAF) is a unique organization. In my many moves and travels to different rural areas across America, one thing has become clear to me. There are some tell-tale markers as to how a community is functioning.
A thriving arts culture. Thanks to Alexander Artworks, the Community Arts Council of Council Grove, the Council Grove Community Theatre, the Trail Days Arts & History Center, and many other individuals and groups, our arts culture is top-notch. That’s one of the big reasons our artsy family chose CG.
Walkability. Live within our City limits? You can walk almost anywhere. I can walk to work, the grocery store, my fave bar at the Dealership Building . . . even Taco Tuesday at El Rancho Viejo. Heck, I walked to the most delicious crab dinner at the Hays House the other night! Walkability is directly related to quality of life. We’re tops here.
A community’s area foundation. Do they have a board and staff that are out there in the community? Does the community hear what’s going on with them? Do they offer opportunities to access their resources? Do their resources grow every five years or so? Let me tell you, our Council Grove Area Foundation is one of the best I’ve seen. Last week’s Buy-A-Brew confirmed this for me, and I am so glad I can tell you a little of what I learned now.
We sat down with Amy Honer, the executive director of the Council Grove Area Foundation, surrounded by friends, community members, two city councilmen, and a lot of tasty appetizers at the Flint Hills Saloon!
My first question for Amy, seeing as how we are both entrepreneurs and mothers and work these public-facing jobs, was, “How do you balance it all?”
She graciously answered that she doesn’t always, but the effort it takes to do all she does is worth it because she believes she’s positively impacting her community which is meaningful to her and her family.
Next, we asked for a brief description of what the CGAF does in our community. There was no way to make this explanation brief. They do a lot!
Amy explained that the CGAF services all of Morris County and the USD 417 service area. The Area Foundation manages major gifts that can impact our community for generations. Scholarships are a big part of that. So are community and organizational grants. They also act as a fiduciary facilitator. Through the Council Grove Area Foundation, you can make your philanthropic goals a reality. They will help you navigate a number of giving opportunities, such as IRA charitable rollovers, planned gifts, retirement plan assets, and life insurance beneficiaries. While Amy suggests speaking with your lawyer, CPA, or finical advisor as you consider these options, the area foundation is here to help once you know it is the right move for you.
Here at the Council Grove Area Trade & Tourism Association, we have a fund at the CGAF. Via this fund, the CGAF supports our goals in the community and gives us the opportunity to raise money for specific projects and events.
Last year, for example, our Trail Trolley required a substantial amount of repair. We utilized our relationship with the Area Foundation, in addition to other community foundations and the City of Council Grove, to fund those needed repairs, and establish a repair and replacement fund.
We were fortunate to be able to participate in Giving Tuesday, a global giving event every November, that the CGAF spearheads in our community. Other beneficiaries of this exact type of program are : Little Huskies Childcare, Morris County Fairgrounds Improvement Fund, Together with Veterans and Morris County, Greater Morris County Development Corporation, the Riverwalk Improvement Fund, and more.
Newspaper articles are short, and I’m no reporter, but these are some of the stand-out highlights discussed at our April Buy-A-Brew. Want to know more about the CGAF? Check out their website : CGKAF.org, and follow them on Facebook at @CouncilGroveAreaFoundation.
Want to learn more about our community movers and shakers and other organizations making big things happen in our community? Join us, as a CG Area Trade and Tourism member or their guest at future Buy-A-Brews. Ask questions, get involved, and spread what you learn to others.
In May, we are hosting the Washunga Days Festival committee at Saddlerock Cafe! Join us on May 18th, at 5:30pm. We buy the apps, and you buy the brew. See you there!