Watertown is a hidden gem in Wisconsin when it comes to quality of life. We are close to the metropolitan communities of Madison and Milwaukee and yet have our own distinctive quality of life, especially when it comes to living and working here.
Much has been accomplished in the way of community improvements in recent years and in many of those projects, the Watertown Area Community Foundation has played a key role.
Making our community
a better place.
Watertown Town Square
Expansion of the Watertown Community and Senior Center
The Watertown Area Community Foundation serves as the depository for gifts to construct the Watertown Town Square. Fundraising began late 4Q of 2020 with commitments of $1M each from the Watertown Redevelopment Authority and City of Watertown. An additional $1.6M is sought from private donations. Opening early 2022, this one-acre, multi-purpose gathering place located at the civic heart of the City along the Rock River, will be actively managed and programmed year-round. The goal of the Town Square is to serve as a catalyst for economic activity by welcoming visitors to participate in educational and social programs that foster diverse and dynamic community engagement. For project updates visit watertownredevelopment.org
This expansion project was funded primarily from the Earl and Eugenia Quirk Foundation funds. Large personal donations were also made by the James Conley family which with the Quirk family shares control of the fund.
Thrive is the economic development organization formed to enhance business and industrial development in Dodge and Jefferson Counties. This relatively new group has been busy connecting with firms which potentially wish to locate within the two counties. The Watertown Area Community Foundation is a charter member of the organization and also committed $30,000 in startup money.
Annual downtown banner program
Watertown High School scholarships
The community foundation worked closely with the Earl and Eugenia Quirk Foundation and the city of Watertown to make this wonderful asset become a reality. An aggressive contribution from the Quirk Foundation and the use of the community foundation for deposits of those funds as well as from others were a critical part of this large park’s development.
This program has banners made by Watertown artists, displayed on polls throughout downtown Watertown and then auctioned off at a gala event each fall with proceeds used to continue Watertown’s downtown revitalization programs. The community foundation was a key donor that got the annual event off the ground.
The annual awards and scholarship program at Watertown High School now disburses over $500,000 to college bound students every year. The majority of the corpus for those funds is held in the community foundation’s investment portfolio. To date the scholarships have over $7 million in corpus for this purpose and that number is expected to grow substantially in the coming years.
Watertown High School Technology Center
Watertown Public Library
A. E. (Mike) Bentzin Watertown High School speakers award
The community foundation handled the donated funds, work on the matching grant programs and help to bring the new technology center as a wing for the then brand new Watertown High School.
Krahn Citizenship Award
The Watertown Area Community Foundation has been the depository for the fundraising effort in 2019 which received nearly $3 million in financial gifts and pledges. In addition the foundation provided a $100,000 cash contribution to that highly successful fund drive. The library expansion and renovation project is expected to break ground in June of 2020 with completion in 2021.
G.L.O.W. Community fund
A generous donation in honor of A. E. Bentzin former mayor and former school board president in Watertown, allows high caliber speakers to address the student body once or twice each year. These funds are made available through a gift to the community foundation for this purpose.
Watertown Family Aquatic Center
The Watertown Community Foundation presents an annual Krahn Citizenship award in the amount of $1,000 to a deserving individual who is a community minded citizen. This awarded is funded through a donation to the community foundation by the family of the late Alfred Krahn, retired assistant chief of the Watertown Police Department.
The Giving Ladies of Watertown (a group of community-minded women), gives periodic individual checks to the community foundation and as community projects come up, the money in the foundation can be distributed to charities as directed to the foundation.
The foundation was the driving force that raised $600,000 and coupled with a $1.2 million commitment from city government, the center is now used by thousands of youth and adults alike throughout the summer season.