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Pandemic gives Menasha grad chance to pay scholarships forward

Holly Hartung isn’t sure how charitable giving became so important in her life, but she suspects the little offering envelopes she was given while attending St. John’s Catholic School in Menasha might have gotten it started.

She knew the little envelopes were just for her, and she alone could decide the amount of her contribution.

Holly is pushing the envelope in her involvement with charitable giving. Scholarships helped the 2008 Menasha High School graduate attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison and earn a degree in journalism and German. She has always wanted to pay that forward.

When she had to cancel travel plans this year because of the pandemic, she decided to establish the Holly M. Hartung Scholarship Fund with a gift of just over $1,000, the minimum required for a future fund at the Community Foundation.

“Rather than just sit on the money, I wanted to do something positive and I also wanted to do something long-term,” she says. At $15,000, her fund will be able to award scholarships. Holly promised herself she would reach that level by age 40. She has set up automatic monthly donations to make sure she meets that goal.

Holly went pro in charitable giving. She works with major donors fundraising for the College of Education and Human Development on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

“I think it’s been a thread that’s been woven through my life in ways that I didn’t notice until I sat and thought about it,” Holly says. “It was just a muscle you exercised. It’s a habit. You get into it throughout your life and you don’t always know where it came from.”

Her scholarship will support a Menasha High School graduate, not necessarily a 4.0 student, but one who works to his or her highest potential. She envisions someone in whom a teacher or counselor sees some hidden potential.

She said she couldn’t be more pleased with the service she received from the Community Foundation. Even though her scholarship fund will be a small one, she felt respected in her dealings with the staff.

“I can’t overstate how positive my experience was,” she says.

Through the generosity of people, businesses and organizations passionate about helping students achieve their education dreams, we have more than $1 million in scholarships available each year to students from 60 schools, available for high school seniors, college and nontraditional students and K-12 art and music camps and lessons.  See the Scholarship Recipient List for 2020 – 21, and apply online for scholarships.

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