Winter Newsletter: 1997, 2007 and 2017

February 6, 2017
drewnorton's picture

The Blue Ribbon Foundation has published the Winter Newsletter. This edition of the newsletter highlights the Fan Fair program and the Corndog Tax Checkoff - two programs that will continue this winter into spring.  There are also two new opportunities for donors to support the Foundation – the 25th Anniversary Campaign and Growing Our Future.

Each year, the Blue Ribbon Foundation acknowledges our supporters in the Roll of Donor list, including donors that are members of the Champion’s Circle. We are grateful for your generosity and your desire to create a Fairgrounds that carries on memorable traditions, offers opportunities for individual growth and is ready for future generations.

The Donor Profile features Jim and Kathy Gocke.  The article flashes back to the 2016 Corndog Kickoff and the unprecedented moment when the poker table co-created by Jim was purchased for $185,000!

In celebration of the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 25 anniversary, I am trying to learn as much as I can about our organization’s history. I decided to again pull out old issues of the Foundation’s newsletter.

The front page of the 1997 Winter Newsletter featured the Corndog Tax Checkoff:

“So, when you’re working on your tax forms in the cold of winter, pause for a moment to recall the warm August sun and the taste of a fresh corn dog, and remember to check off $1 (or more), for the State Fairgrounds Renovation.”

In addition to the small but mighty annual Roll of Donor list, other important relationships were highlighted. First, the Blue Ribbon Foundation had received its largest private gift from the estate of Berneice and Donald Penningroth and Don’s brother, Orville Penningroth. The donation was valued at $430,000. Today, the Cattle Barn’s Penningroth Media center holds the sale of champions. Farming, livestock, and exhibiting at the Iowa State Fair were important to the Penningroth family.

The 1997 Donor Profile article featured Dwayne McAninch and McAninch Corporation. Why he supported the Foundation: “My company works all over the state and giving to the Fair is giving to an entity that helps every Iowan.” True statement even after 20 years. Thank you McAninch Corporation for your continued support the Blue Ribbon Foundation.

A new fundraising opportunity was mentioned in the 1997 Winter Newsletter, described as a unique auction to be held in July on the Fairgrounds….oh the first stages of the Corndog Kickoff!

In January 2007, Bridget Anderson was the Special Programs Manger. She shared her perspective on working for the Blue Ribbon Foundation: “I take pride in knowing I have been a part of something so important and influential in the State of Iowa”. Bridget was reflecting on the progress of the Richard L. Easter Museum Complex that opened for the 2007 Iowa State Fair.

Ten years ago, the same opportunities with the Corndog Tax Checkoff and Fan Fair were going strong. John Putney, Foundation’s Executive Director, thanked the donors that had joined us on our journey thus far and the larger Roll of Donor list was included.

Wells’ Dairy, Inc., makers of Blue Bunny ice cream based in Le Mars, Iowa was featured in the 2007 Donor Profile. Who remembers volunteering to help the Blue Ribbon Foundation sell ice cream during the Good Guys Car Show?

Programs have developed, projects have been accomplished and things have changed over the years. The loyalty of Blue Ribbon Foundation donors has only continued to grow. Thank you for your support!