Sandhills Area Foundation guardian of gifts, memorials and other contributions, established in Valentine, Nebraska Heart of the Sandhills

Sandhills Area Foundation History

The History of the Sandhills Area Foundation
by Monty Neiffer

      The Sandhills Area Foundation has been in existence for about 15 years. Like many new organizations, it started off small and slow. The seed was planted by Cal Robinson of North Platte when he spoke at Valentine Rotary in the spring of 1996.
      A committee was formed, and this committee laid the groundwork for the Foundation. Co-chairman of this committee were Bob Gustafson and Jan Lallman. The committee included Bill Quigley, Lew Johnson, Mary Young, Frank Sibert, Kay Wells and others.
      From this group, officers were selected. The first president was Bob Gustafson, and Kay Wells was the first secretary. Mary Young was the first treasurer. 
      In October, 1996, three members became life members by giving $2,000 each. These funds were used to kick off the Foundation. The three original life time members were: Bob and Mary Kay Gustafson, Frank and Shirley Sibert, and Carl and Kay Wells. This $6,000 has now grown to over $1,000,000. 
      Leadership the past 15 years has been provided by several very capable local leaders. Bob Gustafson, Dave Major, Dave Sandoz, Bob Stetter, Gerald Keech, Suzy Beel and Monty Neiffer have each served as president for two years. Marian Davenport, the current president, is completing her first year as president. Mary Young has been the treasurer since the beginning of the Foundation. Kay Wells, Suzy Beel, and Marian Davenport have each served as secretary. Lisa Mathis is the current secretary. 
      The Foundation received a very large contribution in 2003 when Jr Bloom made a bequest of $500,000 to the Foundationís endowment. The income from this contribution per Jrís request is the main source used to finance the scholarship program. The income from another generous $100,000 endowment from Frank and Shirley Sibert is used to help fund the grant program. The Melissa Major fund has also helped to fund the grant program in the past. Other families making larger contributions to help with our scholarship program include Gerald and Norma Jean Keech, Mary Young, the Floyd Bryant family, Dr. James and Karen Butler, Dr. Tom Green and Bob and Jan Bass.
      The Foundation first awarded scholarships in 1999 to three area high school graduates. The scholarship program has continued to grow with the awarding of $37,500 in scholarships to 40 high school graduates and college students in 2012. Since 1999 the Foundation has been able to award many scholarships and grants totaling about $343,000. This has benefited many students and organizations in this area.
      Some of the organizations that have received grants in the past include Kilgore Fire Department, Valentine Fire Department, Cub Scouts, Valentine Library, Valentine ball fields, TeamMates, Badger Boosters, American Legion Baseball, Valentine Junior Wrestling Club, Valentine EMTs, Sparks Cemetery, the Valentine Senior Center, Old Settlers Reunion and others. In 2012, grants were awarded to the Valentine Players, Sandhills Leadership, Valentine High School - band uniforms, Cherry County Ambulance Service, Mid-Plains Community College - distance learning equipment, and the Valentine Rural Fire Protection District.
      The Sandhills Area Foundation has grown from a few local leaders with a vision to have an organization that will help preserve our area and help its residents, to a large organization with over 200 generous members who have grown the fund to over one million dollars. We should be proud of the progress and accomplishments of our Sandhills Area Foundation over the past 15 years.

Sandhills Area Foundation Memorial Book (Book of Memories)
The memory of life is not its duration,
but its donation.
Peter Marshall


Sandhills Area Foundation

The nature of the Corporation is to financially support area development and accept, receive, manage and distribute contributions, devises, bequests and gifts. Funds received shall be used as follows:

a. To
provide funds and encourage service projects for charitable, educational and social purposes within the Sandhills area.

b. To provide funding and services to encourage community involvement in social, charitable and educational projects.

c. To provide funding for scholarships for area youth.

d. To provi
de funding for the improvement of existing facilities or the construction of these facilities operated by agencies and charitable and educational organizations serving the health, educational and social needs of the residents of the area.

The Book of Memory

(left) lists SAF
Donors and Honorees.  Read full story

Year End 2006 Total:   $  858,738.76
Year End 2007 Total:   $  958,950.20
Year End 2008 Total:   $  925,205.46
Year End 2009 Total:   $  963,084.78
Year End 2010 Total:   $1,026,405.99
Year End 2011 Total:   $1,045,512.88
Year End 2012 Total:   $1,099,778.98
Year End 2014 Total:   $1,393,643.50
Year End 2015 Total:   $1,395,154.97

FYI: For Your Information
In 2015, $20,500.00 in grants and $61,250.00 in scholarships were given. 

Since its inception, a total of $551,950.00 has been awarded in scholarships and grants.

Sandhills Area Foundation
Officers and Board of Directors

Mark Johnson, President
Gregg Perrett, Vice-President
Katie O'Kief,
Mary Young,
Sheila Wheeler, Co-Treasurer
Steve Brown
, Director
Marian Davenport,
Chris Douglas, 
Ralph H. Eatinger,
Duane Kime,
Rob Lee,
Monty Neiffer
Frank Sibert, Advisor

The joy is in the giving
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