Greenway Area Community Fund accepts generous donation from Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund
Members of the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund recently presented their entire fund worth $118,000 to the Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee. The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Community Giving To Community campaign which provides matching funds for all donations to Community Funds through a $1M grant from the Blandin Foundation will double the amount of the gift.
“We are overwhelmed with this generous donation, and the opportunity we now have to learn from this great Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund group,” says Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee chair, Casey Venema. “We are obviously new at this, yet we have generated more than $40,000 over the past year through fund raisers, donor letters, celebration of Giving Tuesday and word of mouth. This substantial donation really helps us reach our $200,000.00 goal faster and allows us to start giving to some worthy local causes.”
Beefy’s son, Bob Lawson, explained why the board decided to give their fund to the Greenway Area Community Fund: “You look in the mirror and realize it’s time to do this,” states Bob. “We worked hard to grow our fund, and realized at this point in our lives, the best way to ensure the fund would continue to be maintained and benefit the area, was to transfer it to the Greenway Area Community Fund.” One of the stipulations for the transfer of the fund was to ensure youth activities remain an important part of the annual granting by the Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee, with a permanent seat on that committee provided to a member of the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund board.
Beefy Lawson – hero and inspiration to many
Whether you met Beefy Lawson or not, his name and memory are cherished across northern Minnesota. He started the Greenway Recreation Board in 1978 and established an annual hockey event where local law enforcement and fire departments played against their Hibbing counterparts as a popular fundraiser for youth hockey. An Itasca County Deputy Sheriff for more than 11 years, Beefy was killed in the line of duty in 1981 while protecting children. Beefy was born and raised in Taconite, Minnesota, and was well known for his involvement in community activities that benefited area youth.
Upon Beefy’s death, many gave memorials in his honor, so his son Bob Lawson and Tom Peltier established the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund in 1982. The Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund continued to grow for the past 36 years, giving annually to youth athletics and law enforcement activities. Until recently, the board also awarded a yearly scholarship to an area student graduating from the Hibbing Community College Law Enforcement Program.
Board members of the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund, in addition to Bob and Tom, include, Don Hoey, Pat Medure, Diane Gross and Lefty Kane. Since the mid-80’s, the Beefy Lawson Memorial Board has -raised money and granted more than $200,000 to youth recreation throughout the county in memory of Deputy Lawson.
They have carried on Beefy’s hockey tradition with annual fundraising games between the Old Time Taconite Hornets and Law Enforcement All-Stars, to raise money for the fund. “I know my dad would be proud of all the work we have done for area youth. This year we have designated $12,000 for youth activities in Itasca County, including, hockey boosters, archery, ball fields, the library, swim club and Boys and Girls Club,” says Lawson.
“Our goal is to make the Greenway Area even better,” says Venema. “We are very grateful for the hard work of our advisory board members who include: Daidre Breen, Barb Gibeau, Cricket Guyer, LaNea Johnson, Carissa McIlwain, Maria Peluso, Mindy Tammi, Lynda Tarbuck, Claire Schumacher, Casey Venema, Kimberly Venema, and Ann Vidovic.”
You can help Greenway reach their $200,000 goal for matching funds from the Blandin Foundation. Make your donation in person, through the mail or online. Checks must be made payable to the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. Place the name of your Community Fund on the memo line. “Community Funds have two very important aspects,” states Chris Fulton Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Executive Director. “The first is that these are unrestricted funds, meaning they can provide for all different types of emerging community needs. Second is that each Community Fund is overseen by a local advisory committee intimately connected to these community needs.”
Please consider leaving your legacy to the place you call home. Supporting an endowed Community Fund today is about sharing your values and love of your community for future generations. All gifts and donations to Area Community Funds are accepted through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation and go directly in to the specified Community Fund (Deer River Area Community Fund, Greater Itasca Area Community Fund, Greenway Area Community Fund, Hill City Area Community Fund and Nashwauk Area Community Fund). You can make your donation in person, through the mail or online through our website at www.gracf.org. Checks must be made payable to the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. Place the name of your Community Fund on the memo line.