We are now the Three Lakes Community Foundation, Inc. (3LCFdn) We have filed incorporation papers in Wisconsin, and filed our IRS Form 1023 for exempt status under 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. We are now operating directly as our own charitable organization for Three Lakes.

We are also glad to report that we will maintain a continuing relationship with the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin (CFNCW), Wausau, which took Three Lakes Community Funds under its wings. The CFNCW Board and staff gave us a start… fostered our beginnings. We are most thankful.

Now we will receive donations directly, and do our own banking. This step will end some confusion as to why donations for Three Lakes were made out to CFNCW.

This leap can now be taken because enough people believed in the vision and stepped forward with donations. There are new costs involved to do this, however we are following a thoughtful plan. We are still in a start-up phase, yet moving forward with confidence. We are thankful for our 85 Founding Donors.

Our relationship with CFNCW will be one of consultations, and one of pooling investments. We gain by being in their pool. So there you have it.

Something to celebrate!

More big news is that the Board has elected John Stauner as Chair. He succeeds the first chair, Gary Williams, who remains on the Board.

John and wife, Nora, own James Lake cranberry marsh, off Big Lake Loop road, where he grows and markets organic cranberries. They recently purchased the Sampson marsh off CTY A. John brings valuable executive management skills and foundation experience to the Board.

One of our objectives is to celebrate the value of the volunteer in the community. Volunteering is a form of philanthropy. Our very first grant went to the Three Lakes High School student who booked the most volunteer hours helping school and community organizations. The new, annual award is named “Rising Star.”

The first winner is Chase Kirby, who put in an amazing hours of volunteer effort. His award is in two parts, a $750 scholarship for himself, and a $250 donation to his designated charitable organization. “Get and give.” His choice is the Three Lakes Volunteer Fire Department.

The Board is proud to have this award be our first public grant. It is a small first step taken, with hopes of giant steps coming in the years ahead.

Our priority focus is to bring new philanthropy to Three Lakes…new donors, new ways, and with a personal touch. If you are an active supporter of one or more our Three Lakes community organizations (see listing tab), please continue to do so. All have worthy missions. 3LCFdn will be there for your something extra.

Our focus includes bringing all Three Lakes stakeholders into this initiative, regardless of residency.

We will not be acting as a United Way agency. We will not be doling out annual funds to support community organizations’ operating budgets. Instead we will be looking to support qualified projects which will have impact, broad usage, and will enhance the prospects for a viable, sustainable future for our Three Lakes community.


OK. So we have a chicken and egg thing going. Which comes first, a tangible project which draws interest and donations, or the donations which would allow for qualified project grant? For the near term we need to put emphasis on building our Current Fund and our Endowment Fund. However, we will also be looking to receive proposals to support a valuable project with a specifically named project fund. This may sound like chicken, egg, and cake. Yep!

What are we hearing from people? Below is a “Wish List” of ideas which people have expressed. What is your favorite one or two? What would you add to the list? What do you think will have impact? Be supportable? Have broad usage? Be sustainable? Will be lasting in value? Also, consider what a foundation should be doing rather than our Town government.


Here is a list of items noted from surveys, discussions and contacts the Board members have received:

1. Aquatic Center.  A local group is exploring this now.  The vision is a multi-pool community facility to include a regional medical rehab capability.  Possibly a school-community project.

2. War Memorial.  An attractive item becoming of a thankful community.  A group has initiated some thinking on this.  An appropriate site needs to be found.

3. Internet coverage and high speed broadband availability without outrageous data charges.

4. Ice skating venue.  Artificial ice for year-around use.  Warming house and lighting issues.

5. Equestrian area pavilion and restroom facilities at Burnside Park.

6. Roadside welcoming structures at the entries to Three Lakes.  Inbound on HWY 45 North and South, HWY32 West, CTY A East.  Not billboards.  Attractive, permanent structures with a memorable message.

7. Airport venue to support very large outdoor or indoor events, such as music performances.

8. Create a voluntary commercial building and property design guide for achieving a more themed, inviting look to downtown over time.

9. Fab Lab new equipment for higher level training and products.

10. A second Fab Lab for commercial/manufacturing use.

11. Rec center for kids.  (Possibly combined with ice skating warming lodge).

12. Business services center and meeting space.  (Reiter disallows private and business meetings)

13. New, affordable start-up housing.  Not low income housing.

14. Hotel lodging.  More new lodging, and improve some existing lodging.

15. Restaurants:  More variety of ethnic offerings.

16. Elderly transportation needs.

Our future plans include hosting “coffees” in private homes for those in the neighborhood.  Our purpose is provide a brief orientation and answer questions.  Any fundraising will be personal, and by a potential donor’s invitation.  Look for these to start in the Spring.

We are a startup, with all the work being voluntary.  Your year-end response of support will be a huge help to keep us moving forward.  And your support will be a great energy boost to those involved on the Board and teams.  Please see the response item.


Broadband, both coverage and capability.  Each year we increase our usage and needs. Three Lakes should measure its capabilities with what is available in the world’s largest cities.  We are one world.  This is critical in for Three Lakes to compete economically, to be attractive especially to younger professionals, remote employees, and emerging businesses, as well as visitors and vacationers.  This is one area where Three Lakes should aspire to be awesome.

Lodging, both for personal living and for hotel/motel space.  Visitors have limited choices here, so some events do not even consider Three Lakes as a usable location.

Aging population

Projected school population decrease

Changing nature of tourism

Changing nature of how lake property owners use their property.  For example, the improved road systems to get people up here also make it easier and quicker to get back.  What is the impact of the back-and-forth syndrome?  Is there something here to tap into?

Summer employment help shortage, especially for retailers.

Limited year-around local employment opportunities