Matching funds of $25,000 from SWIF was incentive enough to get the fundraising ball rolling.
After a lot of discussion, we sponsored our first dinner and silent auction in March of 2003. With tremendous support from the community, we raised $5,800. We were amazed at our success, and quickly decided to sponsor a second dinner and silent auction in March, 2004. Again, the strong support of our communities made the event a huge success. Sales of dinner tickets and auction items ranging from the “Okabena” fireplace, to theme baskets, to homemade quilts, to plane rides, to backhoe work, to sports memorabilia raised $7,000. This event has become a much anticipated annual happening in our communities evolving into a social time with hors d’oeuvres, wine, and cash bar replacing the sit-down dinner. A new twist was added in 2018 when an anonymous donor challenged us to raise $1,000 and a match would be made. $1,255 was raised that evening and with the match we added $2,255 to the endowment fund. As of April, 2018, a total of $95,153 has been raised and added to our endowment fund and special project fund.
The love of the game by some board members resulted in a Best Shot Golf Tourney in September, 2004 at Emerald Valley in Lakefield, MN. Nineteen sponsors paid $100 each to sponsor a hole and 50 golfers enjoyed the warm September afternoon playing golf. The tournament netted another $2,711. The golf tourney has also become an annual event and through September, 2017 has raised $25,652 for our endowment fund and a special project fund. Combining those funds with the memorials and donations received, we met our first goal of raising $25,000. With some matching funds from SWIF, we have over $208,800 in our endowment fund and over $12,837 in our operating and special project granting funds.
By working together, we have been successful. We are thankful for the support and trust that the people of the Heron Lake and Okabena communities have given us.