Good things have happened around Fort Dodge in recent years, and they would not have been possible without people who believe in their community, staff and board members of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way say.
The foundation and United Way celebrated its successes of the past year, while looking to the future with their 2012-2013 campaign, during the On the Fort Dodge Horizon reception and program at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum Thursday evening.
Tim Carmody, Fort Dodge police chief and 2012 campaign chairman, said it was seeing positive things happening that brought him to Fort Dodge just over two years ago.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Randy Kuhlman, Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way CEO, speaks Thursday evening during a reception and program for We’re Up On Fort Dodge program held at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. Fort Dodge Police Chief and 2012-13 Campaign Chair Tim Carmody, listens, at right.
"We came here two years ago from Omaha and moved away from all we knew," he said. "We wouldn't have made a move like that if we didn't believe in this community."
The investments the organization makes in the community's youth and youth programs will help shape the future of the community, he said.
"About 20 percent of our population is youth, but those youth are 100 percent our future," said Carmody. "You talk about moving Fort Dodge forward and, right now, the chance is ours."
According to Randy Kuhlman, Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way chief executive officer, 28 agencies throughout the community and Webster County received more than $700,000 in grants awarded by the Community Foundation and United Way in the past year. There are also 61 funds with combined assets of more than $6 million currently managed by the Community Foundation.
Out of more than 1,300 United Way organizations in the United States, Fort Dodge's remains unique as the only United Way that has joined forces with a local foundation, he said.
"We have no specific agenda," Kuhlman said. "We can support any cause in Fort Dodge or Webster County. We have a very broad mission."
The 2012 theme We're Up On Fort Dodge was celebrated too, and individuals, businesses and groups were recognized for their investments of both time and money.
"These are the kind of people who make the community great," said Kuhlman. "We've tied the theme to the campaign and we hope everyone embraces it."
During Thursday's program, Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich announced that a new family fun center would be constructed in Fort Dodge with the help of local philanthropists Tim and Kellie Guderian.
"You have to be up on Fort Dodge to do something like that," said Bemrich. "You have to believe in your community and have faith. It takes people with a vision that Fort Dodge can be bigger and better to make things like this happen."
According to Kuhlman, the 2012 fundraising goal is $350,000.
"We are optimistic we can reach and even exceed that goal this year," Kuhlman said.
"Fort Dodge has lots going on," said Scott McQueen, president of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way board. "We have a great mayor and a great City Council that have helped make things happen around town. There are lots of positive things going on."