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The Wisconsin Lions Foundation Story: common vehicle for uncommon good

Generations of Lions have served Wisconsin citizens since the first Wisconsin Lions Club was organized in Milwaukee in 1921. In 1956, they formed the Wisconsin Lions Foundation to nurture a very special place: Lions Camp in Rosholt.

It’s a place where one can visit and experience the spirit of service— alive, infectious.  It’s a place where kids with special needs can spend a week, free and where you can see and sense their joy.

Beyond Lions Camp, over the years additional statewide projects common to all local communities have been added to Wisconsin Lions Foundation services. [The name “Foundation” is something of a misnomer. WLF is seldom a grantor of funds as the term is now more commonly understood; rather it provides statewide project services for all Wisconsin communities.]

Tens of thousands of people throughout Wisconsin have supported our free service projects by participating in local Club fundraisers—a portion of which Clubs use for their Annual WLF donations. They believe in the work Lions do giving new help and hope to families and individuals, Reaching, Touching, Improving Lives.

In the last decade, however, expenses for Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects have risen sharply. Annual Lions Club donations remain essential, but now cover less than half of yearly WLF operating expenses. Inflation and other costs defy control, escalate.

The Wisconsin Lions Foundation is a singular resource for Lions service. It is living proof of Lions justifiable pride in preserving the special ability to have an impact well beyond local communities, but at the same time helping to serve citizens in each community.

Consider the work of Wisconsin Lions Foundation...

Preserving this unique resource depends on you—on each individual—caring and contributing to the permanent Lions Pride Endowment Fund of WI, Inc. Its goal: a $25 million donor-directed fund producing predictable interest income to support continuing operations.

  • Serving nearly 1,300 special campers a year with vision, hearing, mild cognitive disabilities and Type 1 & 2 diabetes from some 400 Wisconsin communities’ 70,000 campers over the past 57 years in Rosholt Wisconsin at Lions Camp.

  • Maintaining: a 440 acre property with private lake, 37 buildings, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel.

  • Nurturing: and managing cooperative project relations with Wisconsin professionals: American Diabetes Association, Department of Health and Family Services (Diabetes Awareness, Education and Prevention); Prevent Blindness (Children & Adult Vision Screening); more than 100 practicing audiologists (Hearing aids).

  • Operating: one of only eleven Lions International Eyeglass Recycling Centers in the U.S.; processing approximately one million pairs a year from multiple states for use on missions to developing countries by Lions and others.

  • Providing: administrative support for statewide project services: financial controls and reporting; fundraising; personnel; business advisory professionals; correspondence, communications and personal presence with a 21-member Board of Directors and Board Committees, Lions leadership groups, Clubs, conventions, media and the public.

As you do, please keep in mind that in the face of ever increasing costs, public financial support is urgently needed to carry our work into the future.

It is the power of individual and organization gift commitments that will preserve the projects of WLF. Your gifts help to build the Lions Pride Endowment Fund to sustain and expand operations. (click here to make your tax deductible gift)

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