SWIF deemed good fit for community fundraising

JEANINE VANDENDRIESSCHE (third from left) makes a point during a recent Tracy Community Work Group as fellow members Audrey Koopman, Seth Schmidt, Tony Peterson and Shirley Anderson listen. Photo / Per Peterson

After a healthy discussion last Tuesday in the basement of the Tracy Public Library, it was decided the City of Tracy should join forces with the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) to create an endowment fund that would not only serve Tracy well into the future but would also boost efforts to build a new community center in town.

Members of the recently-formed Community Center Workforce Group (CCWG) met last week with SWIF Community Philanthropy Officer Jeffrey Vetsch, who educated them about all SWIF does and what it provides to communities looking for help in raising money.

The group, which consists of the seven city council members as well as five people from the Tracy community, eventually overwhelmingly agreed to bring SWIF into the fold to help with raising funds — not just for a new community center, but for the long-term betterment of the city and its residents through an endowment fund that could be tapped into for future endeavors.

While there was some concern over how much time it would take to raise money for a new community center, it was determined that any process to do so would take roughly the same amount of time under the SWIF umbrella.

Using SWIF resources, it was agreed upon, would aid the City in the long run.

“What we really want initially is to have a board that is focused on becoming a community foundation,” Vetsch said.

By bringing SWIF into the fold, the CCWG accepted that it would have to raise $5,000 up front to start the process. That would be part of an initial $25,000 total fundraising effort, which SWIF would match, to create a $50,000 endowment for the City, which would have to be raised before any money could be set aside for a new community center. The endowment, Vetsch said, would earn interest over time and help build a broad donor base in the city.

CCWG members Seth Schmidt and Jeanine Vandendriessche’s fund-raising efforts have, to date, resulted in $8,500. Anyone with questions or who wants to donate to the community foundation should contact wither Schmidt or Vandendriessche.

See more of this story in this week’s Tracy Area Headlight Herald