When Jon Holthaus, representative of the Joseph and Sharon Darcey Foundation and a Watertown native, approached the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) with an idea, he knew he had to act quickly.
“I saw the RDA moving forward on the construction of the Town Square and wanted to understand where they were in planning for its future,” said Holthaus. “Joseph and Sharon Darcey have always focused on people,” he continued. “When talking with Alex at the RDA, we saw an opportunity to fund Town Square programming and operations - a need that fits perfectly with the Darcey Foundation’s values,” he added.
Sharing a similar sentiment, Richard Keddington, CEO of Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC), said, “We knew that construction is only the first step for this project. To ensure the Town Square will be a hub of activity for years to come, funding for programming and operations needs to be in place now.”
The Joseph and Sharon Darcey Foundation is donating $150,000 to launch the Future Fund – an endowment fund to support programming and operations of the newly named Bentzin Family Town Square. Watertown Regional Medical Center is matching the gift by providing $50,000 annually for the next three years. “WRMC is proud to provide additional funds to ensure that what the Darcey Foundation launched with its initial gift will be well funded for years to come,” concluded Keddington.
“The Bentzin Family Town Square will only be the vibrant activity center we all want it to be, if we invest in its success now,” said Alex Allon, Executive Director of the RDA. “By taking a professional, businesslike-approach to programming and operations, we are on track to creating a self-sustaining venue that serves as an economic catalyst for the community.”
According to Allon, the Future Fund will provide funds to offer a year-round slate of events. The Fund will also provide financial resources for maintenance and operations. “If the Bentzin Family Town Square has a concert Friday night, a 5K walk Saturday morning, a high school performance Saturday afternoon, an event that night, and another event Sunday morning – we’re going to want the space to be clean and ready to go each time,” said Randy Wojtasiak, Director of Parks and Recreation. “The additional capacity that the Future Fund will bring to maintenance will ensure that City staff can give their full attention to needs city-wide.”
“I saw, firsthand, the impact that a well-cared for, well-programmed public space can have on a community,” said Holthaus recalling the Public Square where he currently resides in Medina, Ohio. “That space transformed over the years into a high-activity venue drawing crowds from miles around. On behalf of the Darcey Foundation, we are proud to provide the initial financial resources to take care of the Bentzin Family Town Square,” he added.
With the creation of the Future Fund, the Bentzin Family Town Square is receiving support from two of the community’s strongest partners. The Darcey Foundation has had a huge philanthropic presence in Watertown over the years supporting the Watertown High School and Wisconsin 4-H with annual scholarships. The Future Fund donation furthers the Foundation’s commitment to the community by helping bring events to the heart of downtown.
Similarly, Watertown Regional Medical Center has been active in supporting numerous events and activities in the area. With this donation, their vision is to see wellness-related programming offered at the Square – hosting events like healthy farmer’s markets at the newly named Watertown Regional Medical Center Market Plaza. This section of Water Street has the potential to be temporarily closed off for such events, creating a pedestrian-friendly environment.
To learn more about the Future Fund and additional donation opportunities contact Alex Allon at firstname.lastname@example.org.