Christmas Tree Fundraiser

Fifteen nonprofits are starting 2019 with a little extra cash thanks to the annual Christmas Tree Fundraiser sponsored by the Watertown Area Community Foundation. The event, traditionally hosted at the Watertown Regional Library, brought in a total of nearly $18,000 which includes matches from the Foundation.

The public supported the effort through December by voting ($1 each) for their favorite trees/organizations. The Foundation matched donations up to $300 per organization and the organization with the most votes received an additional $500 grant. The Mellette House was the big winner by raising a whopping $4,287. That with the $300 match and the winning $500 grant, brought the organization up to $5,087.

“The Mellette House was thrilled to be included in the Foundation’s tree fundraiser,” said Prudy Calvin of the Mellette Memorial Association, adding that it won’t be hard to find a good place for the extra dollars. “We have all the normal expenses of every home owner but multiply that by being 134 years old and having several thousand visitors from May to October.”

Second place was the Watertown Volunteer Center. It raised $2,984 and the $300 match brought them to $3,284. Coming in third was the Watertown Police Department K9 Unit which raised $919 and with the match, $1,219.

The other nonprofits benefitting from the 2018 tree fundraiser were: 60’s Plus Dining/Meals on Wheels, Beacon Center, Boys & Girls Club of Watertown, Codington County Heritage Museum, Friends of the Goss Foundation, Joy Ranch, Lake Area Zoological Society, My Happy Place, Town Players, Watertown Area People Against Child Hunger, Watertown Area Transit, Watertown Regional Library.

“The Foundation and nonprofits thank all those who donated to the effort,” said Jan DeBerg, WACF executive director. “These ‘unrestricted’ funds make a big difference to the organizations as 2019 gets under way.”

Calvin couldn’t agree more. “This spring we are starting much needed work on the exterior of the house,” she said. “This will involve fixing, painting and some roofing. The Mellette House is such an important part of Watertown’s history we need to work hard to keep it maintained and that’s expensive!”

Special thanks to the library for hosting the annual event.