Winter Newsletter: 2001, 2011 and 2021

February 1, 2021
drewnorton's picture

The Blue Ribbon Foundation traditionally starts our year by thanking donors. It’s our goal to thank supporters throughout the year but we take extra pride in flipping the calendar and recognizing what our organization is most grateful for – you!

Listed in each Winter Newsletter is the Roll of Donors. All gifts of any size are important to the Blue Ribbon Foundation. Each dollar donated has factored into our accomplishments over time. This list includes donations made to our general renovation fund as well as contributions to our endowment since 1993.

Making an appearance in each of the newsletters is also information about the Corndog Tax Checkoff. The program provides an easy way to contribute through a tax-deductible donation on your Iowa return. When completing your 2020 taxes, look for “State Fair” on Line 57b on Iowa Form 1040.

What’s new with the Blue Ribbon Foundation as we start 2021?

  • Thank you to the donors that took on the challenge and shared our vision for the future! The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 2020 “Big Challenges – Bigger Vision” fundraising campaign raised $82,875 for the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Thank you!
  • The Blue Ribbon Foundation is once again looking for 100 donors who want to make an immediate, positive and direct impact on our historic Fairgrounds by tackling a smaller renovation project. This year, we are shining the spotlight on the Agriculture Building. Money raised from the 2021 T.A.G. Team will be used to upgrade 96 lights on the Agriculture Building’s first level, under the balcony.
  • Donor Profile - Debbie Stewart: In addition to volunteering with the Foundation, Debbie is a member of the 1854 Society, a Corndog Kickoff Patron and supports the Blue Ribbon Foundation by purchasing items in the annual benefit auction. It’s truly a family affair since Debbie’s children also volunteer with the Foundation.
  • Read the 2021 Winter Newsletter.

So, what was happening 10 years ago?

  • More than 400 runners and walkers gathered on the Fairgrounds in November for the second annual Fairgrounds 5K. The event raised $11,000!
  • With the newly constructed Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, the Foundation was welcoming new members in Jake’s Club. This membership program, still active today, is a great place to watch your favorite horse show during the Fair.
  • Donor Profile - Mike and Ann Gersie: Highlighting a Fair loving couple, the Gersies first gave to the Blue Ribbon Foundation in 1993 and have made a donation every year since. The couple have managed to encompass each giving program that’s been offered. With each inscription across the Fairgrounds, there is a simple and friendly message: “Have a great day and enjoy the Fair!”

And what was happening 20 years ago?

  • In 2001, Grand Avenue was scheduled to be graded and repaved in the spring. New lamp posts were added to the street and the Shine On program was created. The program has since expanded to have plaques on lamp posts all across the Fairgrounds.
  • Plans were already in motion for the Foundation’s largest fundraising event, the Corndog Kickoff with an exciting change in the event venue. Because of the growing crowd, the event was moving from Pioneer Hall to the Agriculture Building. The event has since moved to the Varied Industries Building. Save the Date for the 2021 Corndog Kickoff – Saturday, July 10.
  • The Foundation’s expanding website was gaining momentum. You could now give a brick donation or buy Iowa State Fair souvenirs online.
  • Donor Profile – Sticks, Inc: One of the Foundation’s more beautiful relationships was started 20 years ago. Sticks, Inc. donated an item to the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction – something the company still does today. The unique pieces embody the Iowa State Fair and the state of Iowa – consistently one of the most anticipated and high selling items in the auction.

Programs have developed, new projects have advanced and things have changed over the years. Nevertheless, the loyalty of Blue Ribbon Foundation donors continues to grow. Thank you for your support!