Frazee Area Action Fund
Lives Up to its Name
A key to the success of the Frazee Area Action Fund stands right in the middle of its name: action. The fund helps underwrite dozens of efforts each year, focused on positively affecting people's lives.
Started in 1993, the Frazee Area Action Fund is a component fund of WCI.
Daggett comes by his involvement with the Action Fund naturally, since his family owns the Frazee-based Daggett Truck Line. “My entire life has been lived in Frazee,” he says. “We just love Frazee. There's no better place to live.”
Part of that sense may come from the work of the fund, which he characterizes as “a wonderful growth tool for the community.” Its assistance covers a variety of projects. For instance, it has made nine small business loans. “Many times, we are the gap that is needed to complete the financing package,” Daggett says. Those loans have helped establish a new cafe, a small computer company, and a manufacturing firm, which opted to locate in Frazee because of the Action Fund's assistance.
Helping Boost Education
Scholarships to help high school students attend college have long been an essential part of the fund's activities. More than $50,000 in scholarships has been awarded since 1993. “We've put those together, and with WCI's help, the funds have a better chance of growing,” Daggett says, noting that oversight of a scholarship program takes more work than people may realize, given overseeing the distributions, determining taxes, and the like.
The Frazee Area Action Fund's relationship with education includes more than scholarships; the local school is the site of many of the fund's funded projects, whether that means buying microphones for classrooms that include hard of hearing children, standing behind community education projects, or helping underwrite trips for students.
For example, one Frazee teacher had a chance to take her class to an environmental learning center. She needed to cover the cost of buses, gas and food, but the school couldn't afford the total cost. So the Action Fund helped. “We thought it was a really good project—a worthwhile learning project—and we funded parts of the trip,” Daggett says.
Being a Good Neighbor to the Region
The fund's presence in the community also includes its grants to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, which provides assistance to help elderly residents live at home longer. For that program and others, Daggett says, “funding sources sometimes don't go far enough, or they need a match. We are that match.”
Along with action, another key word that defines the fund is “area.” It provides assistance to efforts throughout the region, including Vergas and Wolf Lake. “We have a big district that we serve,” Daggett notes. “We can really be of benefit not just to Frazee but to the entire area.”
When a grant of $500 or $1,000 can go a long way in a small town, the fund's directors understand that they can—and do—make a real difference in the lives of the region's residents. “We have been instrumental in getting things started. We are instrumental,” Daggett says. “It's taking our money and multiplying it back into the community.”He praises the seven-member Action Fund board, whose members serve four-year terms. The board membership is diverse, he says, adding that it is “really a good group. Good comes out of it.” And good also comes from WCI, which continues to partner with the Action Fund, he says. “WCI is absolutely wonderful to work with. They do an excellent job of administering this for us.”