An Impetus Is Formed


An idea spark: 2011 

Then City Administrator Bill Bell brought the idea of a community foundation to the Rhinelander City Council. It was well received and a group of citizens began working on the concept, getting as far as drafting by-laws but stalled due to lack of funds and Bell’s departure for another job.

Plans are developed: 2015

A group of engaged citizens began meeting to develop a long range plan for improvements in the Rhinelander area. Their goal was to perpetuate sustainable vitality by encouraging involvement, accountability and creating attainable solutions for Rhinelander in attractiveness and differentiation. The group, now known as Forward Rhinelander, created a plan addressing economic growth, housing, downtown revitalization, workforce development and natural resources/land use. Several of the objectives and action items in the plan involve the establishment of a community foundation.

Generosity makes it possible: July 9, 2015

A group of community leaders met at the request of Sondra and George Juetten. The Juettens announced the establishment and initial funding of the Rhinelander Area Community Improvement Fund, and their hope that others would join them with financial support. The Juettens were clear that they had no interest in sole management of the fund and charge those interested in steering formation of and administering a funding plan. A steering committee was formed and after much investigation and many meetings the group came to the unanimous conclusion that a Rhinelander centric, locally controlled organization would be the most beneficial to the area and would be most attractive to donors and possible affiliate organizations.

Formal recognition begins: August 24, 2015

Representatives of the steering committee met to report the committee’s conclusions to the Juettens. At the conclusion of the meeting it was determined that the process of having the Rhinelander Community Foundation recognized as a nonprofit organization in the State of Wisconsin should begin and the organization should move toward filing 501c3 public charity status with the IRS.

1870 Founders’ Circle Campaign: December 31, 2018

Rhinelander Now & Forever – The 1870 Founders’ Circle was established to recognize those forward-thinking individuals and businesses who demonstrated their commitment to enhancing quality of living in the Rhinelander community now and for future generations by making lead gifts. The successful campaign ended on December 31, 2018 having received nearly $500,000 in contributions.