The following should provide a clear basis for understanding how your community foundation is actually functioning with particular emphasis on fiduciary matters, oversight and honoring donor intent:

Protecting the funds you donate and prudently distributing grants in the community is an overarching purpose of the Three Lakes Community Foundation. In addition to providing oversight that the funds are protected and well-managed, the distribution of grants is a key board responsibility.

It was determined at our inception to establish two accounts at the much larger Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin (CFONCW) in Wausau. They have truly significant expertise in managing the investment of our current and endowment funds. They also serve as fiduciaries. CFONCW has a paid staff trained in professional administrative, accounting and reporting services. As is the case with many smaller community foundations across our country, we depend upon larger, lead community foundations for such support. Antigo, Boulder Junction and Merrill also have community foundation funds held at CFONCW. Special funds from Rhinelander and Minocqua also are invested there. Our checking account has been with BMO Harris in Three Lakes until recently. As supporters of a new bank in Three Lakes, we would love to establish a bank account once again in town.

As for the distribution of grants, in just a few years we have already made over 25 distributions responding to many needs across our community. More recently, we have facilitated the services of UW-Extension’s Design Wisconsin Team to lend a hand up to Three Lakes. We call it Forward Three Lakes. Together with their team’s 21 professionals and a wide representation from our community, we started a process. Using a number of ways to get community involvement, including over 600 people completing community surveys, a path forward was identified.

One result was a suggestion by the Design Wisconsin Team to form five volunteer teams: Downtown Development, Housing, Natural Resources, Growth & Development and Leadership. By the beginning of 2021 these teams were up and running. A sixth team was added focusing specifically on the Cy Williams Park. In the process, they needed money to carry out certain community projects. The Three Lakes Community Foundation decided to help these projects and has taken in donations that are restricted to either Forward Three Lakes in general or for any of the six teams. Honoring donor intent is critical. It is also key that funds received by the community foundation are spent for charitable purposes. These oversight responsibilities honoring restrictions placed on donations and expenditures for charitable purposes are being fully met.

Community foundations around the country are actively engaged in supporting incubator groups and projects such as what we are engaged in with Forward Three Lakes. We have the non-profit 501(c)(3) status and they need our help to make a difference in Three Lakes. We are pleased to share that one early outgrowth of these efforts is the IRS application for non-profit status by the Downtown Development Team to be known as Downtown Three Lakes Rocks Inc. This way, that team can work in a much larger way to help to bring renewed vitality to our downtown. In the process, they will be able to seek much needed grant money for our downtown.

The Natural Resources team is working with the Wisconsin DNR to add an observation platform near Thunder Lake to further enhance the Three Eagle Trails system. Housing is looking for innovative ways to provide affordable housing in the downtown area. The Cy Williams Park team is working on several measures to enhance our well-situated park leading down to Maple Lake. Growth & Development is focused on bringing true broadband throughout our community. Leadership has already had a workshop teaching how to write grant proposals to bring in additional funding to community groups.

Your community foundation is committed to our mission of making Three Lakes an even better place to live, work and play. Together, we can accomplish this for today, tomorrow and many future generations to come.

Thank you for your support in accomplishing our mission,

Your Board of Directors