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Our Initial Benefactor


While Foundation press releases have always stated the organization was begun with a donation/pledge from an anonymous donor, we think that on the occasion of our 50th anniversary we draw back the curtain and recognize our initial benefactor.


In the early 1970s, Mrs. Mary Hoard wanted to make a gift that would benefit the future of Fort Atkinson. She worked with her nephew Mark (Bud) Kerschensteiner and officers at First National Bank (now PremierBank) to get the Foundation up and running. Early concerns that we stay a public, and not a private, foundation led her to limit her initial gift and the Foundation Board worked very hard early on to solicit lots of small gifts from the public to keep us on the right side of the IRS. Upon Mrs. Hoard’s death in 1998, she left a large gift to our Mary Hoard Fund – a fund that over the years has provided millions of dollars in grants to our museum, library, parks, schools and so much more.

Mary was a gracious, thoughtful and generous lady and we think she would be very proud of what the Foundation has been able to do for our community.

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