By LINDA WUEBBEN | Norfolk Daily News
OSMOND – Talk is cheap.
Aaron Gutz knew this and realized if residents there really wanted the idea of a Nebraska Community Foundation Affiliated Fund to be successful in Osmond, someone needed to put some skin in the game.
“We realized early on in our vision sessions, if we were going to push the idea and talk to area residents, we needed to put out money where our mouths are,” Gutz said.
So, after organizing an affiliated fund and setting up committee members in January, the Osmond Affiliated Fund was up and running. Gutz said each committee member of the nine-member board made a monetary commitment and now the fund is off to a healthy start.
Gutz has made a commitment to shaping the future of Osmond. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and came back to complete an internship at Security Bank in Osmond, accepting a position at the banking business after graduation. He and his wife, Blake, are expecting their first child.
“My dream was always to come back home to Osmond to work and farm with my dad,” Gutz said.
Recently when community leaders started talking about the need for a foundation, Gutz became interested.
“I saw the need to create a legacy and wanted to be a part of making it happen,” Gutz said.
There are several groups in Osmond who are very creative and generous, such as the Christmas Wishes community event in which the Sons of the American Legion pass the hat, raising dollars for area needs.
Then this spring when flooding affected the community, H.O.M.E — Helping Osmond Maintain Excellence—the community club stepped up to help answer the needs in the community. It is a vital volunteer organization, which helped to raise more than $100,000 for those affected.
“Those are visible donations, which make a difference in the next six months or a year,” Gutz said. “But we saw a bigger need—a need to answer those residents who were interested in estate giving for the long term.”
The group started by talking to an established area Nebraska Community Foundation Affiliated Fund before making the decision to move forward. Gutz was impressed with the NCF Affiliated Fund and the way it works. Lawyers and accountants are on staff to assist with problems, and they are available to all the local chapters across the state.
The vision sessions for the Osmond Affiliated Fund have already begun, working in cooperation with the Nebraska Community Foundation staff. The first meeting had an attendance of 40 to 50 Osmond residents interested in seeing into the future and finding ways to make the legacy happen. The session worked with school students in one session and then with adults. Long-range plans for five years, 10 years and 20 years are being developed.
Gutz said they plan on researching grant opportunities in the near future with an eye on finding projects around town which have the greatest support. Maybe a performing arts center is the future—the possibilities are endless and the community is hopeful the fund will make those possibilities happen.