On Friday, the community of Diller came together to dream big with an event to bring the community together and to share their ideas for the future of the community. In total, “The D.R.E.A.M.” (Diller Remembers Endowment Achieves Magnificence) raised roughly $25,000 for the Diller Community Foundation Fund.
Dennis Schmidt, Chairman of the Diller Community Foundation Fund explained that this was a great event with many of the community members coming together to try to make Diller an even better place to live.
“We’ve had a lot of positive comments about the event,” said Schmidt. “We had a great turnout with a lot of very gracious donors and gracious purchasers. Overall I think it went really well, especially for our first time.”
At the event, Al Svajgr, who helped to create the endowment fund by donating a pot load of cattle worth a little over $50,000 to the fund, explained why it is important for members of the community to stay active and continue to support the place they call home.
“I think it’s important because we see so many small, rural communities that are simply dying, or are dead,” Svajgr said. “It’s important to help revitalize the spirit with which this town was made. The support this community foundation has is amazing. I cannot say enough, because it’s one of those that keeps things moving and keeps things going. There’s a lot of enthusiasm about it, and this is a passion that I have to help with this because this is where I grew up, and I want to see it flourish.”
Svajgr emphasized how crucial he believes it is for the people who are living in Diller to play an active role in shaping its future, especially for the next generation.
“It’s up to the local group and the local board to determine what are the highest priorities because the money that gets donated here from everyone, truly needs to be used in the most efficient way for the projects in this community,” said Svajgr. “It’s not only about honoring the past, but it’s about the future generations that we have; for our children, our grandchildren.
“As we move forward,” Svajgr continued, “that’s really the vitality, and the important part of these communities: to help them understand that this is a good place to live, and there are a lot of advantages to living in a small community.”
Roughly 165 people attended the event, filling the Diller Opera House. At the event, Schmidt announced a special opportunity for the foundation to take advantage of: a $100,000 rural philanthropy grant sponsored by the Sherwood Foundation.
“They put a challenge to us through the Nebraska Community Foundation to raise $200,000 on our own, and they will match it with $100,000,” said Schmidt. “That specific money goes to the endowment fund, which we never spend the principal; it just gives off a portion of the earnings each year.”
The foundation has to reach the goal before Dec. 31, 2018. Schmidt noted that they are already working hard to meet that goal, and that currently, they have over 60 percent of the funds raised already. People who are interested in helping the foundation to meet the goal can contact Schmidt, or any of the other foundation board members.
Schmidt emphasized that The D.R.E.A.M. was a way to bring people closer together to work for multiple goals. He is grateful for all of the support from people and businesses to help make the event a success.
“It wasn’t all about the money,” Schmidt said. “It was about getting the community together and raising awareness about the philanthropy grant and the Diller Community Foundation Fund. I think we succeeded pretty well with both. I think it was pretty awesome. I just want to give a big thank you to all of the generous people and businesses that donated. It was great to see so many people there and willing to support the community.”