We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.


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John Eyster
Thursday, October 18, 2012


THANKS to ANNE MARIE LUX and The Janesville Gazette for the OUTstanding front page salute to ALAN DUNWIDDIE! Be sure to see this outstanding feature article starting on the front page of today's Gazette!

I urge YOU: DO NOT miss reading this very informative, inspiring and meaningful article. I myself ALWAYS read a “Between the Lines” feature by Anna Marie Lux whenever published by the Gazette. THIS ONE is very significant for WE THE PEOPLE of Janesville and all of southern WI. THANK YOU, ALAN DUNWIDDIE! How has Alan’s work benefitted YOU?

Putting into focus the fact that this is the 20th year of the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN WISCONSIN with the anniversary celebrated at its annual meeting and a donor reception yesterday (Wed., 10/17), Anna Marie Lux tells us the story of the creation of the foundation. I can attest to the truth of the story since I had the benefit of ALAN’s interest in and support of the WASHINGTON SEMINAR (WS) which I created and developed and maintained at Parker High School.

ALAN shared my dream of a very effective field study educational experience involving in-depth research of significant public issues with a week-long field study in Washington, DC so that students could gain information and perspective to develop their policy recommendations on those issues. He was very interested and supportive from the start of WS in 1972-73. He invested in WS as executive director of the Janesville Foundation. That support was a very significant factor complementing the investments of various local service clubs, e.g., Janesville Noon Rotary Club, the Janesville Optimist Club, the Janesville Kiwanis Club, as WS was launched and developed. THANK YOU, ALAN!

As Alan developed the idea of a community foundation as reported by Anna Marie Lux in her feature article, “DECADES of GIVING: Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin celebrating 20th year” starting on the front page of today’s Gazette. (Sorry, I am not allowed to give you the link here, but IF you are a Gazette subscriber, you are able to access using the electronic edition. IF you are not a subscriber, I URGE you to get a PRINT edition to read the feature article today.)

TRULY one ought to be saying, “THANK YOU!” to each of the founding directors, along with ALAN DUNWIDDIE. They are: Jim Cripe, Alfred Diotte, Martin Kennedy, Phil Reuter, Gary Smith and John Steil. THANK YOU!

Alan reports that when they founded the foundation, the directors each contributed to the foundation and had a goal of $1 million to make the foundation significant. Originally, the idea was a community foundation serving Rock Co. Alan reports that there were soon inquiries about setting up funds for the benefit of groups, persons and organizations outside Rock Co.

Today the foundation administers more than $31 million, serves 9 Southern Wisconsin counties, including Rock, Walworth and Green. It holds more than 500 funds established according to the wishes of the donors.

I know that one of those funds is the WASHINGTON SEMINR FUND which was created with donations from alumni of WS. There is the LES ASPIN FUND for citizenship education which was created with a bequest from the estate of US Congressman Les Aspin who supported WS from its founding in 1973 in many ways. These funds continue to support democracy/civics education in the School District of Janesville. Contributions are WELCOME to those funds anytime and the other funds administered by the foundation.

If you are interested, contact Sue Conley, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Southern WI. Use this link to access the website for The Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Inc. The phone is: 608-758-0883. The office is located at 26 South Jackson Street, Janesville, WI. IF you are on Facebook, why not “LIKE” the foundation’s Facebook page? I did!

I do understand the truth of Anna Marie Lux’s report, “Dunwiddie spent most of his career in banking but he calls his foundation work fun.” And then she quotes Dunwiddie, “It allows me to meet an awfully lot of eager people wanting to do things in and around their communities. They are busy doing good things.” ALAN always had the listening ear with a smile and valuable guidance! THANK YOU, ALAN DUNWIDDIE!

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 10:32 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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