Donor stories to be told

HANCOCK — The Keweenaw Community Foundation wants to tell what it calls “donor stories.” These are the stories of each of the funds administered by the organization. The goal in sharing these stories, Jim Vivian, executive director of KCF, said is “so the larger community can see the good work these funds are doing.”

This is why this year’s KCF fundraiser, Keweenaw Gold, is using the theme “Blueprints of Our Community’s Future,” in honor of Herman “Winks” Gundlach, who was the owner of the Gundlach Construction Company of Houghton. Through his company, Gundlach was a major contributor to the Copper Country. Many of the buildings in the community, and on Michigan Technological University’s campus, were built by the Gundlach company. Gundlach passed away in 2005 at the age of 91. Upon his death, the Herman Gundlach Fund was created to continue his legacy of giving back to the community. According to Jim Vivian, executive director of the Keweenaw Community Foundation, the Gundlach fund is also the largest of those with the KCF.

“The Herman ‘Winks’ Gundlach fund was a million-dollar gift to the foundation that established this fund,” Vivian said. “It’s a donor advised fund, which the donors have the right to recommend organizations that are to be granted.”

Vivian said there is a long list of criteria, due diligence, that the board of the KCF must follow to ensure that the organizations receiving grants from the Gundlach fund meet the requirements established with the fund, among that criteria is that the organizations are non-profit and for public use.

“This year, we put out a request for proposals,” Vivian said. “Each proposal was up to $5,000 for a total of $30,000. That’s what we put out: up to $30,000.”

Vivian said 20 KCF received 20 proposals, which requested a combined total of $80,000, $50,000 more than KCF intended to award.

“We ended up funding every one of those,” Vivian said, “and for some of them, they upped the amount from $3,000 to $4,000 and sometimes $5,000. So, this endowment will give a minimum of $50,000 a year to our community.”