April 2013, Community Theater Project Inspires a Desire To Do More

To kick off our Looking Back segment we travel back in time to 2013 to revisit the beginnings of Solomon Valley Community Foundation.

As with the creation of most community foundations, SVCF’s roots stem back to community driven philanthropy. However, interestingly enough, the Foundation’s initial focus was not the creation of permanent endowments, but a campaign to raise funds for a community theater under the name of Mitchell County Community Foundation.

In 1993, a community campaign sparked the desire to build what is now known as Solomon Valley Cinema. Through these efforts Mitchell County Community Foundation was established, offering a vehicle for donors to contribute to the project. After the completion of the Solomon Valley Cinema, excess funds were used to award nominal grants, typically in the range of $500, to various projects throughout the county.

Although MCCF was developed for the benefit of the entire area, little was known by most citizens of its existence. Although it anticipated it could receive gifts from donors desiring to benefit the community, there was no programming or development that allowed the Foundation to compliment the communities of Mitchell County to its fullest.

Recognizing the opportunity and the generosity of the Solomon Valley Region, a number of citizens, including many original MCCF board members gathered in 2013 to discuss the future of the Foundation, and what possible benefits may be obtained by an affiliation with Greater Salina Community Foundation. It was from these inquiries, and eventual partnership, that their eyes were opened to all of the possibilities a local community foundation can provide for its communities. It was these individuals, whose visionary aspirations, sparked the creation of Solomon Valley Community Foundation. In the Spring of 2013, a group of community volunteers met and elected a Board. The initial Board included Curt Frasier, Barbara Wise, Darcel McPeak, Jim Gates, Heather Hartman, Debra Houghton, Phyllis Oetting, Mark Palen, Bob Severance, John Yeary, and Jeff Zimmer. in us next month as we dive into SVCF’s Founders Campaign, and how they paved the way for what is now over $6.5 million in assets.

Long before the creation of SVCF, Mitchell County Community Foundation used excess funds from the Cinema project to award relatively small grants throughout the county. In June of 2001, MCCF awarded its first grant  in the amount of $500 to Mitchell Co. Rescue Squad, Jaws of Life project. In the fall of that same year, MCCF awarded two additional $500 grants. The first going to the Mitchell Co Courthouse Centennial Committee for the purchase of a time capsule container, and the second going to the Waconda Heritage Village for the purchase of sitting benches along the path leading to the proposed replica of Waconda Springs at the Glen Elder State Park