McCook Community Foundation wins major challenge grant
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook is one of four Nebraska towns to receive a challenge grant from a foundation formed by Warren Buffett's daughter.
At a reception at the Keystone Business Center, the McCook Community Foundation Fund announced that McCook has been chosen to receive the grant from the Sherwood Foundation, which was started by Susan A. Buffett, the eldest child of Warren Buffett and Susan Thompson Buffet.
If the MCFF can raise $500,000 of unrestricted endowments by Dec. 31, 2015, the Sherwood Foundation will grant $250,000 to the unrestricted fund.
"I have a background in banking and a 50 percent return on your money is a great thing," Campaign Co-Chair Mark Graff told the gathering.
Graff also announced that the committee is well on its way to reaching its goal, as $408,000 has already been pledged.
"Hey, we can do this," Graff said.
Matt Rezac, director of Rural Community Partnerships for The Sherwood Foundation, told the audience at the Keystone that the Sherwood Foundation focused mainly on Omaha projects until about two years ago. To acknowledge that communities across Nebraska are interconnected, the Sherwood Foundation made the decision to partner with the Nebraska Community Foundation to branch out.
"We knew that in going outside of Omaha, we would be in someone else's home. We wanted to find people from the communities to set priorities. Money isn't always the thing that is going to make things happen. You can't buy trust and you can't buy relationships. That is why the partnership with the Nebraska Community Foundation was so essential," Rezec said.
"We want this pot of money to be controlled by the local community where local people can decide what they want to do with it over time."
Rezec praised McCook, calling it "engine and anchor of Southwest Nebraska". He said the community was chosen, in part because of the strong leadership of the McCook Community Foundation Fund Committee.
"They have an incredible lack of drama. They are a group of people who really know how to work together to get things done."
Other communities chosen for the Sherwood Challenge Grant are Shickley, Nebraska City and Norfolk.
Co-chairs for the MCFF Sherwood Challenge are Mark and Linda Graff and Greg and Pam Wolford.
Mark Graff told the gathering that they have a goal of making this a community-wide effort. They would like to raise the funds from more than 250 donors.
"The dream button is on," said Graff. "We are not guaranteed fame or fortune in life. But at some point, you'll hear a story about someone who has had a positive impact in their lives because of this endowment campaign."