BYRON – The Board of Directors of Byron Community Revitalization, Inc. has voted unanimously to entrust $15,000+ to the Byron (Education) Foundation, which the foundation will earmark for scholarships to graduating Byron High School seniors. This gift, made at a special event Oct. 15, follows a vote by the BCR Board to adopt “inactive” not-for-profit status.

“This is a bittersweet decision for the BCR Board,” Christy Hanlin, Board secretary, said. “This decision marks a suspension – at least for the time being – of BCR’s community involvement. However, we’re excited that funds entrusted to us via our fundraisers will, with proper investment, provide college scholarships to Byron students for many years to come.”

Outgoing BCR Executive Director Betsy Floski said the shift to inactive status is a good move for the organization.

“BCR has been the leading not-for-profit in Byron for 15 years,” Floski said. “In total, BCR has raised and donated back to the community well over $500,000.”

“But, as with many organizations, it was becoming difficult to find enough committed volunteers to carry out the Board’s vision. In addition, with so many groups raising funds in Byron, we were almost tripping over each; the situation was putting too much pressure on local businesses, which were constantly being asked to make donations. Going inactive will help relieve some of that pressure.”

“And, by going inactive rather than disbanding, the BCR framework is retained; this way, the Board or another group could – at some future date when the timing seems right – come in and reinvigorate the organization.”

Bryan Markham, BCR treasurer, said the $15,000 donation the Byron Foundation represents the minimum amount BCR will donate to the organization.

“We’ve held back some funds to cover outstanding invoices,” Markham said. “Once we’re positive that all of our financial obligations are met, whatever dollars remain will be donated to the Foundation as BCR’s final gift to the community.”

BCR Board members said they are pleased that BCR’s premiere fundraiser – Pot of Gold, held annually in March – will continue as a community event.

“Rock River Valley Rotary has agreed to take on Pot of Gold as its spring fundraiser,” BCR Board member Maria Berger said. “Rotary’s mission closely matches the mission of BCR, so this is a natural transition.

“I know all BCR Board members will support the Byron Rotary Pot of Gold in March – it’s a great fundraiser and it’s a lot of fun.”

Floski said the decision to become inactive is in no way a reflection of community support.

“The community has been wonderful about embracing BCR’s fundraisers and initiatives,” Floski said. “The business community, in particular, has been extraordinarily generous. It’s the BCR Board’s hope that monies earmarked by local businesses for BCR fundraisers will be diverted to other worthy organizations.”

Among BCR’s significant gifts: More than $450,000 to fund Stone Quarry Park, Tiger Town Park and the public boat launch; $12,500 to present Challenge Day to Byron High School freshman; $10,000 in Façade Improvement Grants to local businesses; and smaller gifts to People Helping People, Operation Santa and other local groups.

Floski said the Byron Foundation will use the $15,000+ grant to annually give out the BCR Initiative Scholarship to a graduating Byron High School senior who has exhibited high standards of service and leadership.

“In this way, BCR stays true to the commitment that was made to our sponsors and donors over the years,” Floski said. “With this scholarship program, the mission of BCR will continue for years to come.”BCR - Inactive release

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