Date: March 21st, 2018

Grants Available from Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” Henry David Thoreau

Members of the Hawkins Family (Michelle, Lynn, Tim, and Geralyn), celebrating the establishment of the Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment which will provide grants, in perpetuity, to ensure a user-friendly outdoor classroom that encourages students’ and others’ positive interaction with the natural environment.

That simple statement most assuredly embodies the life of the late Don Hawkins and the work that continues from the many ‘seeds’ that he nurtured. As an agriculture instructor from 1951 to 1983 at MPHS, Don Hawkins planted seeds in every student he taught. After his retirement and through his work as a community volunteer, he continued to plant seeds and care for the land. Mr. Hawkins’ work as caretaker and advocate for two pieces of school property, one by the elementary school and the other by the high school, are among his most visible projects in Mineral Point. As a result of the seeds that he planted and nurtured – literally and figuratively – Mineral Point is home to the 5-acre “Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna” and a beautiful 20-acre tall-grass prairie.

Mr. Hawkins’ family – pictured right – have assured the continuation of their father’s legacy of ‘having faith in a seed.’ Through the establishment the Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment Fund, monies will be generated annually and in perpetuity, for grants that:

•Encourage students and community members to spend time in the savannas experiencing nature, what Mr. Hawkins called “Vitamin N”;
•Provide opportunities for people to learn about the native plants and animals of Wisconsin;
•Emphasize the importance of conservation and responsible land stewardship;
•Provide hands-on learning activities in the savannas;
•Increase the community’s awareness of the savannas and encourage the spirit of volunteerism;
•Promote activities across age groups that capture the spirit that existed in a one-room school house;
•Encourage continuous improvement, experimentation and innovation in savanna-related programming, activities, and events.

The initial seed money to establish the Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment Fund came from a bequest in Mr. Hawkins’ will to support educational activities in the savannas. The Hawkins family generously supplemented that bequest. Donations have also been received from those who worked with Mr. Hawkins and continue his work in the savannas.

The recently created Mineral Point Excellence in Education Advisory Board, which is affiliated with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, has been identified to receive and evaluate grant applications for the expenditure of earnings from this Endowment.

MPEIE board chair Kristin Mitchell noted, “We are proud to announce the availability of monies for initial grants from the Hawkins Endowment. Any charitable non-profit organization or local government entity (municipality or school including specific classes and/or organizations) are eligible to make application. Our ultimate goal is ensure a user-friendly outdoor classroom that encourages students’ and others’ positive interaction with the natural environment.”

The application is available at www.cfsw.org – select the grants tab and find the application in the grants available list (https://www.cfsw.org/grants/open-grant-applications/). Please download the application, complete it, and save it as a .pdf. Submit it with the other required documents via email to [email protected] Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. The complete application must be submitted via email no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 22, 2018 – Earth Day.

The Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, a 501(c)(3) public charity. It is administered by the Mineral Point Excellence in Education advisory board. For additional information, contact Kristin Mitchell, board chair (608-987-3370 or [email protected]) or CFSW Donor Services Rep Barb Daus (608-778-3344 or [email protected]). For those interested in supporting this endowment, donations may be made online at www.cfsw.org or by mail to CFSW/Don Hawkins Community Oak Savanna Endowment Fund, PO Box 5, Mineral Point WI 53565.