Date: November 6th, 2012

WDEF announces $400,000 in pledges to endow scholarships

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The Wisconsin Dells Education Foundation today announced that $400,000 has been pledged to endow scholarships for local high school students. The Bank of Wisconsin Dells, the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, and the Village of Lake Delton have each pledged $100,000 to endow three separate $5,000 annual scholarships. In addition, Todd Nelson, owner of Kalahari Resorts and a Foundation board member, will endow a $5,000 annual Kalahari Culinary Scholarship with a $100,000 donation.

The announcement was made by Kelly Bauer, president of the Foundation, who noted that “raising this much money this quickly is extraordinary, and a true testament to the spirit of giving back and supporting the joy of learning and accomplishment at every level.”
The Wisconsin Dells Education Foundation was created three years ago and has already awarded $75,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors. The Foundation has also set a campaign goal to grow the fund to $1.5 million to guarantee that at least $75,000 in scholarship money is awarded each year.

“We have been amazed by the number of generous people coming forward and wanting to help,” said Randy Kuhnau, vice president of the Foundation and principal of the Wisconsin Dells High School.

In announcing the Kalahari Culinary Scholarship, Nelson also spoke of the impetus for the Foundation. “We started the Wisconsin Dells Education Foundation for the love of our community and our students,” said Nelson. “These latest endowments speak to the wonderful entrepreneurial spirit here as well.” Nelson went on to say that, while he did not go to college, he wants to give local students the chance to do just that.

Jill Diehl, president of the Visitor Bureau’s board of directors, said the Bureau is considering a focus to its scholarship dollars to support students pursuing a degree in marketing or tourism/hospitality, as that is the function of the Bureau and nature of the Wisconsin Dells area. “Four or five years from now it would be wonderful to welcome back former scholarship recipients to pursue a career right here in Wisconsin Dells,” said Diehl.

Currently the Wisconsin Dells Education Foundation offers seven departmental scholarships in the areas of band, choir, business/entrepreneurship, performing arts, language arts, math and science. It also awards $25,000 through 10 academic scholarships annually, as well as a variety of other scholarships in partnership with community organizations and individuals.

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