As far as Jim and Arlene Wright are concerned, there's no place like home. That's why they've chosen to establish a fund that will benefit their hometown now and well into the future.
"We have both lived here the vast majority of our lives, and our home is important to us. We just felt that starting a family fund was the right thing to do," said Arlene Wright, Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards statewide coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Office of Early Learning and a former assistant director of special education and early childhood
program support teacher for CESA 10.
Although the James and Arlene Wright Family Seedling Fund lists her and her husband by name, Arlene emphasized that it wasn't created for the two of them alone. "We wanted it for our family because our girls were born and raised here - so it is really their home too," Arlene said, referring to their two grown daughters, now living in Minnesota and New Jersey.
The Wrights established their fund at the end of 2013 and are already about 50 percent of the way toward fully funding it. "We hope to bring it up to the endowed level soon," Arlene said. "Sooner rather than later," added Jim, a retired administrator of buildings and grounds for Xcel Energy.
Once endowed, grants will support causes of their choice - and the Wrights already have thoughts on what those might be. "I've been in the field of education all my life so I feel strongly about some services that provide education - health education, early education, education for young people, education for all ages," Arlene said, adding that they're also interested in supporting low income families or individuals in need.
The Wrights say they're happy to give back to the community through an organization like the Community Foundation of Chippewa County because of its concern for the welfare of the whole county, not just one particular city. "It's purposeful," Arlene said. "We couldn't maybe do what we wanted to do without something that's bigger than us, like a foundation. The fact that this will live well beyond us is very meaningful."
Grants support organizations recommended by fund advisors.