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Public Spirit Fund

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Purpose
  • Foster the “spirit of giving” that already exists in the Eau Claire community 
  • Build a revenue source for public projects, which are needed or desired, but are not fully funded by other sources 
  • Create a voluntary and permanent mechanism that supports people’s natural tendency to improve their community

WEAU Interview: Public Spirit Fund (City of Eau Claire) 5/31/13

 

Mission

 

Public Spirit Fund Picture Tree

The mission of the City of Eau Claire Public Spirit Fund is to encourage the expression of a community spirit through monetary donations to public projects that benefit people who live here.

Donors
Eau Claire has a deep pride in its community and a spirit of giving something of themselves to support the public good. Every spring 400 volunteers clean up the city. More than 100 volunteers serve on Boards and Commissions, making important public decisions. Other people belong to Neighborhood Associations and civic groups. Still others write opinions and articles about life in the community.
The spirit of giving in Eau Claire extends beyond the city’s borders. People who live outside the city limits also want to help make Eau Claire a very special place. But they lack a mechanism to do so. The Public Spirit Fund gives everyone a way to contribute to the community. 
The Community Projects 
The Public Spirit Fund supports projects that benefit everyone, but are not adequately funded by other sources. Many public projects are put off for years while waiting for sufficient funding.
Every year the City identifies many needed capital projects. The City plans carefully to bring these projects to completion through long term planning, careful consideration of the project’s public benefits and a fair distribution of funds across many department needs. But, many worthy projects are put off for years, awaiting funding. 
But, it is not realistic to use the Public Spirit Fund to advance all the identified public projects at once. So, the Spirit Fund must start somewhere. A natural place to begin is along the city’s rivers. The City just finished a rigorous civic engagement process to complete a brand new Waterways Plan – adopted by the City Council in July 2012. More than forty citizens, City staff and members of City commissions spent over a year working on the plan. The completed document charges the City - with some urgency - to re-invest in its waterways. 
The new Public Spirit Fund supports the fulfillment of the Waterways Plan by investing in Eau Claire’s waterways with its first projects: 

 

The First Projects
Public Spirit Fund Word Tree
  • Add an accessible fishing dock on Half Moon Lake south of the Carson Park causeway. - Plan
  • Build the first boat launch on the west bank of the Chippewa River in Domer Park. - Plan
More Information About the Projects 
  • Project costs are determined by City staff.
  • The City will oversee construction and assume maintenance of the projects.
  • Donations will fund the first two projects, which are identified in the Waterways Plan for completion in the next two to three years. Donors may not specify one or the other project.
  • If insufficient funds are raised by the time the first projects are underway, or the projects are ultimately deemed impractical, impossible or ill-timed, remaining funds will be rolled into the future Waterways Plan projects.
  • For now, project ideas will come from, or be inspired by, the Waterways Plan of 2012.
  • View future planned projects in the Waterways Plan and make suggestions.
  • View the entire Waterways Plan.
  • As the Spirit Fund grows and these projects are completed, donations will help fund more waterways projects, which could include - improved waterfront access at Haymarket Square or river overlooks in the West Riverside District.
Donating
Donations in any amount can be made to the Public Spirit Fund at the Eau Claire Community Foundation.
A mail-in form is available in the Public Spirit Fund brochure.
On-line donations are available on this web site. 
More information about donating
  • The fund is defined as a Pass-Through Municipal Fund.
  • If a specific project does not materialize, donations will be put towards similar projects in the Waterways Plan. 
  • Plan Donations are tax deductible.
Marketing
The Eau Claire Community Foundation will market the Fund via their web site (web based) and in their printed materials, annual report and newsletter announcing new funds. The Foundation is not responsible for fundraising for the Public Spirit Fund.
City Council and City Staff will inform people of the Public Spirit Fund through the city web site, on social media and at various other public venues.