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There’s been a buzz in the ‘Burg that has many people asking: “What exactly IS a Fredanthropist?” That’s how our conversation began last week with the City’s Mayor, Mary Katherine Greenlaw. After hearing the news about the program, Mayor Greenlaw called Clint Manning, the Fredanthropist project manager, to find out the details. And when the conversation was done, Greenlaw had enthusiastically agreed to join the effort as our newest Fredanthropist.
Manning states: “Mayor Greenlaw called me up, and then she came right to the point with me. She asked, ‘Why are we doing this? Where does the money go? And who decides what projects Fredanthropists will help in the future?’”
So let’s answer the mayor’s questions one by one.
Why is the City doing this? “We needed financial help building the roller-hockey rink,” states Bill Freehling, Fredericksburg’s director of economic development and tourism. “And we have charitable citizens and businesses right here at home who are looking for ways to help the community. After many conversations with staff, we had a collective “lightbulb” moment where it all came together and the ‘Fredanthropist program’ was born.”
Where does the money go? In year one (FY20) the contributions from all 12 Fredanthropists will fund the construction of the new roller-hockey rink at Dixon Park. In exchange for their project support, Fredanthropists will receive year-long recognition, including being named on a rink-side dasher board, in the Fred Focus weekly newsletter, and on the Fredanthropist website.
Who decides what projects the Fredanthropists will help next year? A committee of existing Fredanthropists and city staff will decide what project/s will be funded in the second and
subsequent years of the program. Possibilities include city park improvements and bringing community festivals to the area. We plan to focus on projects that provide community benefit that might not otherwise be funded by city resources.
With a predetermined limit of 12 openings for this program, the remaining three spaces are expected to go quickly. By limiting Fredanthropist to 12 contributors, the program will remain nimble to act quickly and bring projects to fruition within the one-year commitment. For example, the hockey rink is anticipated to be operational this summer within months of launching Fredanthropist.
In total, 9 organizations and individuals from the Fredericksburg area have already committed to funding this innovative partnership. The City is delighted to confirm the following Fredanthropists: Hilldrup, Rappahannock Development Group, Lidl, Coldwell Banker Elite, Mrs. Mary Jane O’Neill, Mary Washington Healthcare, LifeCare Medical Transports, ILM Corporation and Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. Together they will help advance community amenities in partnership with the City. “We believe this new philanthropic partnership has the potential to significantly grow in the coming years to fund a variety of wonderful amenities and events that will make our City an even-more attractive place to live, work and play,” says Freehling.
As announced last week, money contributed through the Fredanthropist program will be used solely for said improvements and attractions.
"Investing where we live and work is a small way to say thank you and to help Fredericksburg prosper. So it makes sense for us to be involved with the Fredanthropist program," said Jason Cohen, President of ILM Corporation and one of the newest Fredanthropists.
The Mayor expressed her gratitude by saying, "I want to thank the wonderfully generous Fredericksburg community for their support. Fredericksburg shows up when and where needed."
The 12 Fredanthropists will be recognized on a website specifically created for the program, Fredanthropist.org, and will receive a special commemorative plaque recognizing their Fredanthropist designation. In addition, Fredanthropists will receive prominent recognition in Fred Focus, the City’s weekly business newsletter, as well as City social media pages, Parks and Recreation catalogs, the summer downtown trolley, the new roller-hockey rink and Picnic in the Park.
For more information or to become a member of this exclusive philanthropic effort and help make a positive impact in Fredericksburg, kindly contact Clint Manning of the Department of Economic Development & Tourism at email@example.com or 540-372-1216.