One year ago, the Winnebago Alumni Association committed itself to a bold goal: to raise $100,000 in 2015. That sum wasn’t arbitrary. It was what we needed to sponsor all our scholarship campers for the year, retire our modest debts from 2014, and begin to build for a more robust future. As the final checks arrived in early January, we realized that, thanks to the generosity of the camp community, we had exceeded our target. In 2015, we raised over $112,000.
Now it’s time for our organization and our community to take the next step. In order to guarantee scholarships well into the future, we believe that we must establish an endowment. To do that, we’re launching a five-year capital campaign with the goal of raising $500,000. That will be enough to fund four full-summer scholarships in perpetuity. (In addition, alumni from the 1981 Senior Lodge are working to independently endow a fifth scholarship by 2020. )
But why does the WAA need an endowment at all?
First, it gives us stability. We’ll be able to weather less robust fundraising years without cutting back on scholarships.
Second, it allows us to grow. We’ll be able to comfortably pay for more scholarships and spend more time seeking out deserving recipient campers.
Third, quite simply, it guarantees our future.
We realize that $500,000 is a lot of money, but it’s far from unattainable. Thanks to two incredible five-year pledges of $50,000 from WAA President Jim Astrove and alumnus Nikos Liakounakos, we’re already one-fifth of the way to our goal. Over the coming months, we’re confident that others in the community will join Jim and Nikos with pledges of their own.
Please turn to page 5 for more information on this crucial new effort. There, you’ll find information on how to donate to our new capital campaign as well as our still-crucial annual fund.