A night of surprises: Power of 100 Ellsworth selects impact winner

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 11/9/23

HAGER CITY – The Power of 100 – Ellsworth fall impact meeting, held Oct. 12 at The Bluffs in Hager City, was a powerful night full of surprises.

The three finalists chosen to make …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

A night of surprises: Power of 100 Ellsworth selects impact winner


HAGER CITY – The Power of 100 – Ellsworth fall impact meeting, held Oct. 12 at The Bluffs in Hager City, was a powerful night full of surprises.

The three finalists chosen to make presentations included the Ellsworth Claybreakers trap shooting team, represented by head coach Denton Achenbach; the Ellsworth Baseball Softball Association, represented by EmmaJo Meier, Morgan Kolodzienski and Lisa Acker; and Friends of the Fair for the Light Up the Fair free holiday event, represented by Bob Traynor and Deanna Hines.

Ultimately, the group of women chose Friends of the Fair as the $10,000 main impact award recipient, but they had a couple surprises up their sleeves.

“The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation provided a 50% matching grant of $5,000 to our previous impact award recipient, Senior Staying Put,” said Power of 100 Ellsworth founding member Melissa Ryden. “We also had a very generous anonymous donation of $6,000 to split between our two runner-up organizations, the EBSA and Ellsworth Claybreakers.”

In all, Power of 100 members, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the anonymous donor donated more than $21,000 to three local organizations.

Hines was ecstatic about receiving the $10,000 grant for Friends of the Fair. The money will be used to expand the light display at the free Light up the Fair event at the Pierce County Fairgrounds in December.

“A little over a year ago, we lost our Chairperson Jim Geraets in a tragic accident and it was always a dream of his to Light up the Fair,” Hines said. “So when the committee reconvened last fall to get things going again, we knew we had to make it happen. Our purpose is to raise funds to help improve things on the fairgrounds, but this grant will be used specifically for lights.”

Last year the fairgrounds sparkled with just short of 60,000 lights, Hines said. The committee will purchase more lights, inflatables and lit displays. Sponsors are still being sought so the events are kept completely free for families to enjoy. The Light Up nights will be held 5-8 p.m. Dec. 8-9 and 15-16.

Staying Put Board President Sue Christopher said they were “shocked and overwhelmed” by the additional $5,000 from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, created by the founder of Best Buy Inc. Staying Put, currently serving the Spring Valley/Elmwood area, helps senior citizens stay in their own homes by providing volunteer services, social activities and more.

“We are just so impressed with how they want to improve the quality of lives in the area,” Christopher said.

Staying Put used some of their Power of 100 funding from the spring impact meeting to hire a part-time advancement director named Kendall Vingua. Christopher said she is youthful and energetic, helping the organization to get its name out there and recruiting more volunteers and clients. With the organization’s expansion from Spring Valley into the Elmwood area, the funding was welcome.

“Kendall is also helping us take our technology to another level, along with our website,” Christopher said.  

In Elmwood, Staying Put has been helping many people find rides to medical appointments, especially after their clinic and Heritage of Elmwood shut down.

“We expect to be expanding in other services there as well,” Christopher said. “We are really excited with the connections we’re making and the people who have stood up to volunteer. It’s more word of mouth because many are not on social media. It’s truly neighbors helping neighbors.”

Achenbach said the $3,000 the Claybreakers received will be put toward assisting team members with season fees and replenishing team equipment for their 10th season.

“We are very grateful for this gift,” Achenbach said. “We are excited to share the Power of 100 logo to spread on our 2024 jerseys and spread the word about this amazing group of women and their wonderful impact they have in our community.

Acker, outgoing president of the EBSA, said the $3,615 they received will be go toward building a playground at Brown’s Field Complex in Hager City, a project Meier and Kolodzienski have been working on for the past several years. Currently there is nothing to occupy young children at the ballpark who come with their families to games.

“This amount, combined with what we have already raised specifically for this project, brings the total funds raised to $9,006.21,” Acker said. “The total funds needed for the equipment, safety mulch, border and shipping cost $11,903 and then we will have some site prep costs and hopefully lots of free volunteer labor to assemble.”

To learn more about Power of 100 Ellsworth, visit powerof100ellsworth.org

Power of 100 Ellsworth, Staying Put Inc., Ellsworth Baseball Softball Association, Ellsworth Claybreakers, Friends of the Fair, Light up the Fair, Ellsworth