Foundation provides leadership example for the rest of us to follow

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It was gratifying to see the generosity of the long-time community leaders receive recognition at the annual McCook Community Foundation banquet, as well as see that tradition continued and strengthened.

Even more importantly, exciting to see much of the funding provided by the foundation this year go toward investment in our community’s future in the form of cultivating leadership, entrepreneurship and the kinds of small businesses that are key to growth.

The major $346,431 endowment from former automobile dealers Lemoine and Geri Anderson, for example, will provide $13,000 in interest which will go to the HomeTown Competitiveness Youth Task Force.

It will train a teacher in the McCook Public Schools and support a new 4-H curriculum, Entrepreneurship Investigation. The HomeTown Competitiveness initiative, made possible by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and embraced by the MCF and McCook Economic Development Corp., strives to build leadership, engage young people, support entrepreneurship and foster local philanthropy.

McCook is blessed with several major industries such as Parker, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Valmont, the college, hospital and public schools, but like most other communities in the United States, we’re dependent on small businesses for much of our future growth.

Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, and account for nearly half of America’s overall employment.

They have helped add more than a million new jobs a year for the past five years, and helped keep America’s unemployment rate lower than it has been over the last four decades.

The McCook Community Foundation support mentioned above was only one of many charitable accomplishments celebrated and initiated at this week’s celebration.

For more details, check out the story in Friday’s Gazette, or the photo page on page 8 today.

Perhaps you feel you can’t do as much as those recognized at the banquet and in the news stories, and monetarily, perhaps you’re right.

But community efforts like the United Way deserve what financial support we can lend, and many worthy organizations are always looking for volunteers to help accomplish their missions.

Working together, we can improve the economic and social prospects for our community far into the future.

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