What is the recipe for opening an endowment fund? For the Soden family, it was decades of home cooking, generations of 4-H leadership, and raising their own kids that proved the effort.
Mike and Luarta Soden opened an endowed scholarship fund with the Community Foundation because "The foundation has been here for so long, we have friends with funds, it was logical." Mike added, "Jill explained the process very well, and made it very easy for us to do. Seed money for their fund started with the sales of Luarta's cookbooks. Aaron Rodger's mom even has one!
Luarta is known for her excellent cooking at home and at 4-H camp. She spent years in 4-H as a youth and as a leader during her own kids' tenure. Mike also got involved, leading projects and stage setting for the show choir.
Amazed by the leadership skills learned in 4-H, their scholarship will be available to Chippewa County students who have had 4-H experience. 4-H prepares kids to succeed. Luarta recalls an experience with one of her 4-H students. One of our 4-H'ers was really nervous about a high school speech she had to give. I told her that it's no different from the demonstrations she had been giving in 4-H. You've done this before! Luarta laughed saying, "She just dropped her shoulders and said, 'Oh yeah. I have!'."
Experiences like these, including the success their own kids have had, entrusted them to tie their endowment fund to the scholarship requirements of the Wisconsin State 4-H Foundation.
Their endowment grows here at the Community Foundation of Chippewa County and will be used to fund nearly any type of post-graduate education through the 4-H Foundation's scholarship process.
Mike, an Army Reserve retiree, and Luarta a semi-retired tax accountant have been a consistent figure of support in the community, especially through mentoring and teaching 4-H youth in Chippewa County. They hope to continue to encourage kids by funding their education through an endowed scholarship fund.
grants provide post-secondary educational scholarships to Chippewa County high school graduates who have been involved in 4-H