Each year, participants in Leadership Fond du Lac, a program of Envision Greater Fond du Lac, complete a community project to benefit Fond du Lac County and its communities. In the 2022-2023 cohort, 29 participants were placed into six teams: Team Change Makers, Team Fantastic Four, Team FIVES (Females Improving Valued Empowering Services), Team Hope, Team Mission Imagination, and Team Sign of Freedom. Each team worked with different partners and organizations within Fond du Lac County to address a specific community need.
Team Change Makers included Elizabeth Wustrack (Destination Lake Winnebago Region), Jolene Schatzinger (The Cathedral of St. Paul & Broken Break Food Pantry), Stephanie Fell (National Exchange Bank & Trust), Mike Titel (Mid-States Aluminum Corp.) and Danny Pierce (EP-Direct). Change Makers worked with county bike shops to put three bike repair stations throughout the community. Bike repair stations were installed at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA, near the Mascoutin Valley Trail in Campbellsport, and in Ripon. Stations were strategically placed near trail heads in heavily trafficked areas to provide a quick fix to bike problems.
Team Fantastic Four comprised Jeff Bischoff (Wells Vehicle Electronics), Stephanie Dahlke (Fond du Lac County), Diana Dehnel (J.F. Ahern Co.), and Hiram Rabadan-Torres (Hiram’s Auto Repair LLC). Team Fantastic Four hosted a fundraiser event for NAMI Fond du Lac called Night Out with NAMI. Area businesses and community members were invited to play bingo, listen to live music, and participate in raffles while learning about the resources NAMI has to offer. The goal of the event was not only to fundraise to support NAMI, but spread awareness of their signature programming and support NAMI can offer the business community.
Team FIVES (Females Improving Valued Empowering Services) included Jillian Saiberlich (Envision Greater Fond du Lac), Teri Passow (Marian University), Mary Beine (Horicon Bank), Lexi Wiese (Spectrum), and Kirsten Schuchardt (Grande). Team FIVES worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters to enhance their community room, and created a yearly calendar that highlights area organizations willing to sponsor monthly activities for Bigs and Littles.
Team Hope included Alex Berg (SSM Health), Erick Gerritson (City of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue), Debbie Kapp (Advocate Aurora Health), Mandy Kimes (Ripon Chamber of Commerce), and Brad Leonhard (Marian University/NAMI Fond du Lac). In partnership with Hope on the Block, Team Hope created two community pantries. The pantries contain physical resources for people in need as well as a list of resources that can help them on a more permanent basis. Each box will be available 24/7 and contain items such as toiletries, feminine hygiene products, oral hygiene products, diapers, wipes, gloves, and socks. The Ripon box is located outside of the Traded Treasures & Community Food Pantry and the North Fond Du Lac box is located outside the Spillman Library.
Team Mission Imagination was made up of Emily Hoepfner (SSM Health), Gina Pfalzgraf (Society Insurance), Chris Livieri (Mercury Marine), Jennifer Matteson (Moraine Park Technical College), and Tina Duehring (Lakeland Care, Inc.). Mission Imagination worked with The Arc Fond du Lac to acquire and install play panels in the Arc’s courtyard. The panels engage users in stimulating activities that help encourage developmental skills, provide educational opportunities, and enhance the area.
Team Sign of Freedom included Chris Johnson (City of Fond du Lac), Jeff Greeno (C.D. Smith Construction, Inc.), Jen Memmel (Fond du Lac Family YMCA), Nick Runde (Saputo Cheese USA, Inc.), and Adam Schultz (Mercury Marine). The American Legion in Fond du Lac operates primarily on volunteer labor and funds generated by events they host and their establishment within the building. The signage on their front lawn was 40-50 years old and did not function in a way that added significant value to their mission or properly identified the organization. Team Sign of Freedom provided a new, updated digital outdoor sign that is more visible and engaging.
In all, projects completed through Leadership Fond du Lac gave back more than $58,000 to Fond du Lac County communities, including cash and in-kind donations. To date, the program has provided more than $600,000 to area communities.
Leadership Fond du Lac is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 class, a nine-month program that provides information and experiences to individuals who are willing to commit to serving their community. Accepted applicants learn about local institutions and issues and put their skills and knowledge to use through the required small-group community project. Through the program, individuals develop leadership, interpersonal and communication skills, and develop a strong network throughout the community. For more information, contact Envision Greater Fond du Lac at 920.921.9500 or [email protected].
For additional information, application, and tuition, please visit https://www.envisiongreaterfdl.com/leadership-fond-du-lac/