Kearney County Giving Day is November 19. Five local non-profit organizations are participating in the online promotion initiated by the Kearney County Community Foundation.
Community Foundations like the Kearney County Community Foundation are a way for communities to come together to fund a better future, a better tomorrow. By pooling funds together for a common purpose, Community Foundations work to improve our way of life, right here, where we live.
The Kearney County Community Foundation was founded in 1992 with just such a purpose in mind. A local widower named Vaneee Nied wanted to leave his estate to Minden, which he envisioned being used for a multi-purpose community building.
Looking to fulfill his wishes, the Foundation began the renovation of the Minden Opera House building in 1996, with the goal of not only creating a multi-purpose community building, but also preserving a historical landmark.
Within the next four years, the Vaneee Nied funds, along with many other generous donations, allowed the Foundation to complete a $2.6 million renovation and the Minden Opera House building as we know it today opened in May 2000.
The Foundation continues to own and maintain the Opera House, thus continuing Vanee Nied’s vision and honoring the many donations made to complete its renovation. However, as you might expect with over 20 years passing since that time, there are some things needing some upkeep.
In just this past year the Foundation has put over $150,000 into the Opera House building, installing new carpeting, updating the HVAC system, replacing the concrete behind the Opera House, and so forth. Things like the elevators, fire systems, light and sound equipment, ice machines, etc, all require continued investment and maintenance.
The Foundation wants to thank everyone for their support in helping us to keep up with these expenses, and hope you will continue to remember us as we endeavor to keep the Opera House a proud gathering place in the heart of Minden.
In the time since the renovation, the Foundation has grown to serve the area in other ways as well with various funds established for scholarships, youth baseball, the Minden Pageant, the Jensen Memorial Library, our Courthouse Carolonic Bells system, Minden beautification, the Nathan Raun Children’s Theatre Fund, the Parker Sturgis Fund, the Historical Society, and more.
Of note: Generous gifts the Foundation has received in recent years for the Jensen Memorial Library Fund have flowed through to support their summer children’s reading program, as well as for updating the library, and helping to bring the new Randy Wolfe Community Room to completion.
As an endowed fund, the Nathan Raun Children’s Theatre Fund continues to honor his memory by providing income that has been used toward the summer Missoula Children’s Theatre productions since the opening of the Opera House.
The youth Baseball program, also known as MASC, has received generous donations for their summer baseball league through an annual fund raiser with the Foundation, to support their various teams.
At the end of last year, after the Carolonic Bells system failed in the Courthouse, the Foundation was able to quickly update to a newer system with additional music capabilities, just in time for the Pageant.
And this year, a gift from Royal helped the Foundation to set up a new website, kccfoundation.org , which in turn has allowed the Foundation to line-up the first ever Kearney County Giving Day. The Foundation is hopeful that working with the other participating non-profits in promoting the new Giving Day will create a synergy, as well as a convenient way to help “fill the void” of various fundraising cancellations due to the pandemic.
With a board made up entirely of community volunteers, we hope our story exemplifies our mission: To inspire and magnify the gifts we receive, to create a better future for the community in which we live.
Thank you for your support over the years. We invite you to join with us in continuing to make a better future, whether that be through estate or beneficiary plans as Vanee Nied did, or through your annual giving. All gifts, every dollar, make a difference.
Donations participating Kearney County Giving Day non-profits: Kearney County Community Foundation, Bethany Home Foundation, Kearney County Health Services Fund, Minden Opera House, and Axtell Community Fund can be made online via kccfoundation.org , or by making your check out to Kearney County Community Foundation, writing how you want your gift applied on the memo line, and mailing it to KCCF, PO Box 213, Minden NE 68959.