Brook Community Center fundraising marker

Irvin Latta and Beth Ryan, both from the Class of 1966 Brook High School, with the sign that will show the foundation’s fundraising progress.

BROOK — A community effort to “Protect and Preserve the Brook Gymnasium” is well underway.

Just recently the Brook Civic Foundation was formed and has joined up with the Jasper Newton Foundation to help raise funds for the upkeep of the building, which is now called the Brook Community Center.

“A little more than a year ago, a group of us started the Protect and Preserve the Brook Gymnasium committee,” said Irvin Latta, Brook High School alumni (Class of 1966). “Alumni and community members have joined together to work on a plan to provide future funding for the building. The Brook Civic Foundation has been created to assist the Town (of Brook) with the annual costs of maintenance and repair of the building. Joining with the Jasper Newton Foundation allows them to benefit from a larger investment portfolio and maximize interest earned.”

The 12-year goal for the Brook Civic Foundation is to raise $500,000. The original principal put into the foundation as well as all interest earned will remain in the foundation and continue to grow for 12 years.

“At the end of the 12-year growth period, a percentage of the interest earned will be distributed in the form of a grant to the Town of Brook, yearly,” said Latta.

An engineering study was recently commissioned and completed for the community center and the results showed that the building is structurally sound but improvements are needed.

“The town has been using revenue from the landfill in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 a year to keep the building standing,” said Latta. “However, at some point, the revenue from the landfill will not be coming in and members of the town council said that could be in 10 to 15 years. The town board has been great to work with and this is our chance to give back to the community.”

Many view the community center as the heart of Brook as it has hosted many events, banquets, and gatherings over the years.

“Not only is the gym a source of many fond memories for alumni, but it is also a recognizable landmark for the town,” said MariAnn Weishaar, Protect and Preserve the Brook Gymnasium member and Brook High School alumni (Class of 1966).

“Community centers play a vital role as an anchor and a source of pride to a community,” added Latta. “They are places where people of all ages can gather to enrich their bodies and minds, as well as foster feelings of community and civic pride. In the community of Brook, the old high school gymnasium is that anchor. The loss of such a community pillar would be a setback for the health and welfare of the community. The creation of the Brook Civic Foundation is our way of establishing a legacy for, and a gift from, the alumni who attended school at Brook High School and the citizens who live and work in the community.”

Latta added that if sometime down the road the building no longer exists, the foundation is set up to continue to provide the town with yearly grants for the betterment of the community.

What can you do to help?

There are several ways to contribute to the Brook Civic Foundation including:

• Making a 5 or 10-year pledge that calls for an annual donation spread out over time.

• Gifts of cash as one-time donations or memorials in honor of specific individuals or organizations.

• Gifts of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

• Naming the foundation as the owner or beneficiary of an existing or new life insurance policy.

The foundation will also be hosting a fundraising dinner Saturday, Oct. 26 at the community center starting at 6 p.m. The cost of the dinner is $100 per plate. Deadline for reservations will be Monday, Oct. 21.

“At the dinner, we will be explaining the program in greater detail,” said Latta. “Your presence, as active members of the community is essential for the success of this effort to provide future funding for the operation of the community center.”

All checks for the dinner should be made payable to the Jasper Newton Foundation. For more information about making a donation or reserving a ticket, call Latta at 309-231-4532 or Weishaar at 219-863-7661.