Date: June 26th, 2014

Lancaster Community Fund Announces $4.3Million Gift

Tiedemann, Emily and KeithLancaster native Keith Tiedemann left his boyhood home in the late 1930s but he didn’t forget his community and his family. His estate gift of $4.3 million establishes the Charles “Sonny” Tiedemann Charitable Fund, an endowment named by Keith to honor his brother and advised by the Lancaster Community Fund advisory board, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.

A 1933 Lancaster High School graduate, Keith earned his undergraduate degree in accounting in 1937 from the University of Wisconsin. After military service in World War II, Keith set off to build his life on the coasts. He lived first in New York, where he operated a manufacturing business, and later in San Francisco, where he worked as a certified public accountant. In San Francisco, Keith met and married his wife, Emily LeCompte Rogers, a photographer and history buff, and they lived there the rest of their lives.

In the late 1990s, Keith read an article about community foundations and became interested in endowment funds. When he found out there was no endowment fund for Lancaster, he contacted the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin. With the help of staff from CFSW and folks in Lancaster (like Al Weber (deceased), Carson Alcorn, Mayor Jo Pebworth (deceased) and Ray Ropers) Keith led the effort to establish the Lancaster Community Fund in 1999.

Ray Ropers, inaugural Lancaster Community Fund board chair, remembers “It was a thrill meeting Keith Tiedemann way back when. On the night we announced the Lancaster Community Fund was being formed at a reception in the basement of the St. Clement’s Church, Keith attended and said a few words. Later, in a side conversation, he told me that if all went well, his estate gift could be over a million dollars.” In 1999, Keith donated $20,000 which assured the creation of the Lancaster Community Fund, an ongoing charitable resource to support the community and its people.

Keith followed the Fund’s progress until his death in 2007. He was keenly interested in its growth through donations by current and past community members and the work that was being accomplished through the annual grants awarded to community groups and projects. As of May, 2014, the Lancaster Community Fund and its family of funds has grown to nearly $570,000 and has awarded more than $117,919 in grants back to the Lancaster community. Estate gifts have been extremely important to the growth of the fund, the most recent of which is the Morse Family Fund, established by a bequest from Peggy Morse.

Emily Tiedemann passed away in the fall of 2013. It was at that time that Keith’s estate plan and trust matured. The gift from the Tiedemann estate and trust is the largest bequest ever for Lancaster and the largest in the history of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.

The Lancaster Community Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Inc., a tax-exempt public charity. For more information about the work of the fund, contact Ken Klaas, advisory board chair, or Barb Daus, donor services representative with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin (608-778-3344 or For further information about the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, visit or contact Ann Heiden, executive director at (800) 995-2379.