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2023 Grants Have Closed!

The FORWARD Endowment has completed its 2023 grant application cycle as grants requests closed on December 31.  In our 30th year, the endowment had interest revenue of approximately $9,000.  The Gift Committee will now be reviewing the requests and applications against community needs and available funds.  Grants are generally made in early March.

This cycle will take the fund over $150,000 in grant awards, ALL of which have been here in Manitowoc County.  These projects have taken the form of both hard projects such as docks at area lakes, trail improvements in parks and community locations and education programs in schools and area clubs.  The fund was created to maintain the quality of life and resources that this area is know for.  That process will continue as we move forward.

Late in 2023, the FORWARD Endowment completed a review of its structure and bylaws and decided to petition the court for the right to convert the trust from an interest only format to what is know as a unitrust.  A unitrust allows the organization to make larger grants when quality projects are available.  This is capped at a specific percentage of the total value of the trust at that time.  This will create opportunities for bigger and better projects moving forward, protecting the resources for years to come.

About FORWARD Endowment

While not an active club or organization, the FORWARD (Friends Of Resources, Wildlife And Recreational Development) Endowment was created by Manitowoc Fish and Game as a tool to help meet the ongoing needs of sporting men and women in the community. Started with a $50,000 estate gift, the charitable trust has grown to over $725,000. Manitowoc County Fish & Game recently assigned 15% of their banquet proceeds to the trust, a practice they have done for many years, making them a major supporter of the future.

The intent of the founders was to provide a financial resource to help fund projects in Manitowoc County that relate to hunting, fishing, conservation and related education. We understand that alternative funding sources for these projects are becoming more challenging and this fund provides an important resource to protect what has been built in Manitowoc County over the past 100 years. We also understand the importance of educating youth to create the next generation of caretakers for the resources of the area. Funding education and youth programs is an important part of the trust.

The FORWARD Endowment is a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible. In 2024, the trust format has been changed to a Unitrust, giving more flexibility in funding important projects for the future.  In general, the focus is on spending interest income generated in the prior year.  The unitrust format allows spending beyond this limit to a fixed percentage of the total asset base.  This will allow for funding larger projects in a timely manner.  Each September the FORWARD Endowment solicits requests for grants from the fund, closing at the end of December.  Awards are given in March of the following year and are managed by Associated Trust.

Many of the clubs in Manitowoc County have supported the FORWARD Endowment. Many individuals and businesses have also provided support through direct gifts and even estate planning and gifts. A donation to the endowment has become a popular alternative to flowers when club members and sporting enthusiasts pass away. This is a wonderful recognition of their lives as these gifts will always be there and continue to give to the community for years to come.

Donations to the FORWARD Endowment can be made at any Associated Bank location or mailed to:

FORWARD Endowment
c/o Leede Research
1332 S. 26th Street
Manitowoc WI 54220