Three veteran Moraine Park Technical College Foundation Board members – Gibbons Zeratsky, John (Jack) Shanahan and Gayle Hytrek – recently stepped down following 74 collective years of service. They are credited with helping nurture and grow the Foundation to over $1 million in endowed scholarship funds.
Zeratsky, of Green Lake, helped establish the Foundation in 1976, and served as Foundation Board president for 35 years. A former Moraine Park Technical College president of 25 years, Shanahan, of Fond du Lac, served 32 years on the Foundation Board, where he contributed greatly to fundraising efforts. And finally, Hytrek, of Fond du Lac, who retired as the president of Moraine Park at the end of June, served seven years – acting as chief liaison between the Foundation Board and the College.
Established in 1976, the Foundation works to advance the College’s mission within the Moraine Park District by seeking an added measure of financial support used to offset the financial strain felt by Moraine Park students. Through the years, the 10-member Foundation Board has significantly grown both annual and endowed scholarship funds, and subsequently, disperses an average $115,000 in scholarships annually.
As a founding father of the Foundation, Zeratsky maintains the focus of the Foundation is to provide student scholarships. “Over time, we have grown a substantial endowment,” he said. “Individuals, groups and businesses establish scholarships through the Foundation, where those funds are invested to maintain an active endowment.” As Foundation Board president since its inception, Zeratsky worked to ensure the Foundation “operated in a conservative manner with regard to finances and that the purpose of the Foundation was easily and simply understood.”
Similarly, in his 32 years on the Board, Shanahan witnessed a growth of Foundation assets from around $60,000 to $1 million today. “The biggest change through the years is an attitude on the part of people to provide funds for a tax-supported institution,” said Shanahan. “When we started, people were not willing to give because Moraine Park was supported by property taxes, and they perceived that the College had all the money it needed. Over time, people realized that they needed to contribute to the Foundation because of its singular purpose to provide scholarship funds.”
Today, the Foundation has expanded beyond providing scholarships. “Of late, people are realizing the need to give for scholarship and other areas needed by Moraine Park,” said Shanahan.
From the onset, the Foundation Board included Moraine Park’s current president, who brought the needs of the College to light. Hytrek, who served as executive secretary of the Foundation Board while president of Moraine Park, presented the needs and priorities of the College – and like all Foundation Board members – assisted with the Foundation’s direction, fundraising and finances.
“The Foundation Board has been made up of simply wonderful, smart people who were always easy to deal with and had the interests of the College in the forefront of their minds,” said Zeratsky.
The retiring Foundation Board members – Zeratsky, Hytrek and Shanahan – maintain they are grateful for the many Foundation contributions from area businesses, associations, foundations, and individuals. Similarly, according to Moraine Park Foundation and Alumni Relations Executive Director Kelly Norton, the College and its students are grateful for the work and commitment of these retiring friends of the College.
“Gib, Gayle and Jack have shown an undying commitment to the Foundation’s cause,” said Norton, “giving their time, expertise, guidance, and so much more. They will be missed a great deal.”
The Moraine Park Technical College Foundation – established in 1976 – secures financial support and other resources for Moraine Park by identifying, cultivating, soliciting and accepting financial resources supporting the vision and mission of Moraine Park.
To find out more about the Foundation, visit morainepark.edu, or contact Norton at 920-924-3225.