Beyond the dream; Worlein donates land to Austin Area Foundation

Published 8:44 am Friday, May 18, 2018

Paul and Joanne Worlein have donated 71 acres of farm land to the Austin Area Foundation – a move that will help preserve one legacy and benefit others in ways yet to be determined.

The land — estimated in value at approximately $400,000 — was formally given during a ceremony at Worlein Plaza on Thursday. It marks the largest donation ever given to AAF.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the land will be used by the foundation to preserve and maintain the plaza, which was created with statuary, rest areas and plantings by the Worlein family in 1999. A popular spot, it is located near Mill Pond.

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“This is our gift to the community we love and which has benefited our families for generations,” said Paul Worlein of the donation. “We want to give back and the Austin Area Foundation is the ideal vehicle to ensure this plaza area will be maintained and preserved as a tribute to my parents and a gift to the community.”

The  sunny day was similar to the one 19 years ago, on the Fourth of July, when the plaza was dedicated, he said. Being able to donate for a lasting legacy meant a lot to his family – the plaza came in partnership with this brother, John — who wanted to pay tribute to their parents, Ward and Margaret, who operated the funeral home from 1946-1999. The plaza is the original location of the home.

The rest of the proceeds will be used by the foundation to provide grants that support the community’s non-profit organizations, said AAF Director Jeff Baldus.

On hand to celebrate were members of the Austin Area Foundation Board of Directors. Chairman Darrell Ingvaldson applauded the Worlein gift.

“There are dreamers in this world of making the community we live in a better place, then we have people who go beyond the dream to make things happen,” Ingvaldson said, noting the Worlein generosity. “This gift will live on and benefit the Austin area for many years in the future.”

The donation also spotlighted the foundation’s function, often a question for some in the community. The foundation was founded to create donor options when people want to give back to their community.

The Worleins utilized donor advised funds that allow an individual, family or corporation to contribute personal assets – which are tax deductible – to the AAF. The donor recommends how the funds are granted.

AAF also provides ways to establish endowments, or legacies, or gifts that continue to give into perpetuity.

“A donor advised fund is ideal for families and individuals who prefer simplicity, want to support multiple charities and stay involved in decisions about their grant recommendations.” said Baldus. “These are special people with caring hearts and their generous spirit will live on and on and this is a real testament to their personal beliefs.”

“A community foundation is designed to exist in perpetuity, and we provide guidance in choosing worthy nonprofits and grant making services that alleviate the administrative burden for family members who are honoring the charitable legacy of their loved one,” Baldus said.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the foundation, which was established with the help of Mike Ruzek and a board of directors, noted Ingvaldson.