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Larry Kath ‘shaped the dream’

When Walter S. Rugland’s father, Walter L, Rugland, formed the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region in 1986, working behind the scenes to position this new force for charitable giving was Larry Kath. Walt reflects on the contribution made by Larry Kath, who died Sunday at age 76. (Larry Kath is at the far right of the photo with the Community Foundation’s officers at its first annual meeting, from left, O.C. Boldt, Gail Janssen, Mary Sensenbrenner, Walter L. Rugland, Art Remley and Roger Baird.)

Walter S. Rugland

The Fox Cities as we know it would not exist without the legacy of Larry Kath.

At Aid Association for Lutherans, he provided the professionalism of a dedicated public relations officer appropriate for the times in both the community and at AAL. The culture and spirit that he brought to his task undergirds Thrivent’s community service today. As he supported transitions, he sensed the future and expressed it with keen messages and counsel.

From the first days of the Community Foundation, Larry provided the daily motivation and organization. When AAL created the community service award honoring Dad, they shared the vision of what a Foundation could be. It was an experimental journey and Larry was a fundamental part, daily on site, shaping the dream. Initially he was the glue that formed the unique role and established its positioning. Then he assumed the key leadership and nurtured the evolving platform for its 21st century success.

Larry Kath was a community champion. His style was infectious and he welcomed his calling. We all are the beneficiaries of his life.

— Walter S. Rugland

2 Responses to Larry Kath ‘shaped the dream’

  • Rich Redman says:

    Thanks, Walt, for sharing these wonderful words about Larry. As one privileged to work with and for him back in AAL days — including the years the Community Foundation was emerging — I couldn’t agree more.

    I continue to be amazed that the initial $5,000 gift from AAL to honor your dad has multiplied into an organization that has assets of $297 million (as of mid-2016) and has made grants of more than $240 million, in addition. That’s quite a return on investment!

    Thanks, Larry, for your role in making it happen, and thanks to you, Walt, for inspiring your dad (and AAL) to bring the community foundation concept to reality here in the Fox Cities! It’s impossible to imagine what the Fox Cities would be without it.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Rich. The spark that Walter, Larry and others started 31 years ago has grown into a blazing fire! It’s truly amazing what caring people from the Fox Valley have made happen through the Community Foundation.

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