The Community Foundation lost a good and longtime friend with the death Sunday, Feb. 5, of Bill Schmidt.
Bill, on behalf of his family’s company, U.S. Oil, arranged for the establishment of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s first charitable fund. The Diabetes Fund was established 1986 with the proceeds from U.S. Oil’s first golf outing.
“We’re very proud of that,” Bill told the audience at the Foundation’s 2005 annual meeting.
The first U.S. Oil Open had brought in not quite $47,000 for diabetes research. Bill went to see Walter L. Rugland to put the money into the Community Foundation, which Rugland was just starting up. (Last year’s U.S. Venture Open raised $3.6 million to fight poverty.)
“We knew immediately that giving it away was going to be a lot harder than raising the money,” Bill said.
U.S. Oil went on to establish additional separate funds for Alzheimer disease and needy children and then consolidated them in 2007 into what is now the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. The fund provides annual grants through the Basic Needs Giving Partnership to address the root causes of poverty. The golf outing has raised more than $33 million since 1986.
Bill credited his parents with instilling in him his plain-spoken dedication to charitable giving. Even though his parents were raising eight children, they would regularly feed people in need and ran an ongoing clothing drive to help out poor families.
“What rubbed off on us was the fun of giving,” Bill said.
His own family enjoyed giving together, he said, offering this quote as inspiration: “You can give without love, but you can’t love without giving.”
Bill Schmidt Memorial
Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region
4455 W. Lawrence St.
Appleton, WI 54914