A Community Success Story
April was Community Banking Month, and several Madison-area banks banded together to create an amazing success story.
In May of 2015, a group of motivated individuals met to discuss the need for a new home for the growing Oregon Area Food Pantry. Over the course of fifteen years, the OAFP evolved from the basement of a church to a 1,200 square foot storage facility—a space it had now outgrown, serving an average of 100 families per month. Two members of that group were community bankers: Dan Behrend of Oregon Community Bank and Jeff Boudreau of McFarland State Bank.
Just one month later, the group had formed a board of directors—with Oregon Community Bank's Elyse Smithback joining as Treasurer—and named itself the Oregon Community Resource Network (OCRN) with a declared mission to "educate and fundraise for the basic needs of the Oregon community." In short order, the board identified a location for a new food pantry and drafted a conceptual site plan and floor plan for the building. In August, the board began fundraising activities to raise the estimated cost for the project: $750,000.
Boudreau reached out to banks with branches in Oregon for financial support for this endeavor, presenting them with the board's ideas and asking them to give what they could. "My goal was to establish early fundraising success that we could build on once we engaged the community as a whole," he said.
Out of that effort, three banks stepped forward to offer financial support for the construction of the new food pantry: Oregon Community Bank, Union Bank & Trust Company, and (despite having no brick-and-mortar presence in Oregon) McFarland State Bank. Together, these three banks pledged $45,000 to the project!
With the momentum started, the entire community banded together and contributed time, talent and treasure. The OCRN raised $730,000 in cash and gained commitments for donations of time and materials that, altogether, meet or exceed $850,000 by the time the project is finished. In addition to the community banks, key contributors include an angel donor, the Town of Dunn, the Village of Brooklyn, the Village of Oregon, The First Weber team, Benevento's restaurant in Fitchburg, Headquarters Bar and Grill, Charlies on Main, the Firefly Coffee House, and the residents of the Oregon community.
At the time of this writing, the groundbreaking for the new 4,232-square-foot food pantry is scheduled for late April, with a goal of completing the project by the end of 2017. The Oregon community will now have a new pantry thanks to the entire OCRN board of directors; Tom Kirchdoerfer, Chair of the OAFP; builder Dan Bertler, Supreme Structures; and architect Jeff Groenier, Concepts in Architecture.
OCRN Board of Directors: