As we look back over 50 years of our history, no one has served the Foundation as faithfully and in so many ways, as Helen Rose. Helen served as a Foundation director from 1985 to 1990. During that time, the Foundation received the first major scholarship endowment from the estate of Juanita Schreiner and Helen accepted the task of defining how that scholarship would be administered. The processes and general guidelines she established have continued to serve as the basis for the administration of subsequent scholarship funds.
Shortly after her term on the Foundation expired, a significant bequest from the estate of Walter & Louse Buell, designated for scholarships, required an additional amount of administrative work. So, who did they call? Why Helen of course. Helen was recruited to serve as a “permanent volunteer” Scholarship Chairman to administer the Foundation’s growing scholarship program, which she did as a volunteer for the next 10 years.
By 2001, the Foundation’s directors started discussions about creating a part-time staff position to manage the Foundation’s growing administrative work and provide more continuity and professionalism, which was lacking with volunteer presidents changing from year to year and handing over the milk crate full of governing documents and minutes. So, who did they call? Why Helen of course. In 2002, Helen began serving the Foundation as its paid program administrator. She served in this role for 10 years until 2012 when she retired and relocated to Tennessee to be closer to family.
But that’s not the end of the story. During her time at the Foundation, Helen and her husband Fred had opened their own scholarship fund to offer Inspire-A-Dream Scholarships to encourage promising eighth-grade students to set their sights on a college education. To this day, she continues to support this scholarship, adding donations and staying in touch with many of the students she has helped inspire.
And finally, when as part of our 50th anniversary celebration this year we were looking for inaugural members to join our planned giving Bur Oak Legacy Society, who did we call? You bet – Helen Rose. And she happily agreed to make a financial commitment to the Foundation – an organization to which she had already given so much of her time and talents over so many decades.
Helen made a difference here. She made our Foundation better – and helped move us toward our vision of a Better Fort Atkinson. Thank you, Helen.