Boone County invests in its future

Originally published on 10/11’s Pure Nebraska Program

Boone County, a community 5,400 strong, has achieved remarkable things in the past several decades and serves as an exemplary model of what a rural community can accomplish with steadfast pride, cooperation, momentum and a willingness to dream even bigger dreams. Together the people of Boone County have raised $6 million in endowments, $2 million of which is unrestricted money residents can use to co-create a flourishing community flexible enough to act upon whatever opportunities and challenges the future might hold. The people of Boone County are also generous—over $1.7 million has been confirmed in planned gifts for the future.

Four years ago, some ambitious Nebraskans in Boone County, including members of the Boone County Area Foundation Fund Advisory Committee, got together. They decided it was high time the kids in the community had even better access to high-quality early education and care.

It started with the Cardinal Kids Club, an afterschool expanded learning opportunity for K-5 youth. Centered on STEM learning, the Cardinal Kids Club met a critical need among local families for high quality, safe and affordable after school care for working parents—a desire revealed though community surveys and discussion facilitated by the Boone County Foundation Fund.

Now in 2021, on a sunny day in November, Boone County officially opened the doors to the ultimate community dream. A state-of-the-art early childhood development center made possible with two hundred and fifty charitable gifts, 80% with local ties, totaling $4.5 million. Combined with the tireless work of dozens of committed volunteers, Boone County proved once again, in order to succeed, Greater Nebraska hometowns must make bold investments in the future.

Not only is Boone Beginnings improving the lives of families with small children, local job creators say it’s a boon to the economy too.

“We believe Boone Beginnings is an investment in the future of Boone County,” said Ed Knott of Applied Connective, a local technology company. “A wonderful new facility such as this will undoubtedly strengthen our local economy and be a powerful tool in terms of recruitment and population retention, as young working families will be more attracted to the area and capable parents who previously opted to stay at home for lack of childcare will be emboldened to rejoin the workforce.”

The hard work in Boone County is paying dividends. In addition to the successes named above, young families are moving back home, Albion is gaining population, and over $5 million has been reinvested in “margin-of-excellence” community economic development priorities—like early childhood development, education, recreation, and quality-of-life-enhancing amenities—in just the last 10 years.

Given the possibilities revealed through Nebraska Community Foundation’s 2021 Transfer of Wealth Study, these victories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Boone County can and will achieve in the years to come. In the next 10 years, $596 million will transfer from generation to generation. In 50 years, that number swells to $5.6 billion. Now the people of Boone County look to harness the power of just a small percentage of that wealth through local charitable causes like the Boone County Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation. An effort that would surely result in even more impressive improvements to local quality of life. Learn more about that effort at www.fivetothrivene.org.

A wonderful new facility such as this will undoubtedly strengthen our local economy and be a powerful tool in terms of recruitment and population retention.

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