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About Us

The History of the Foundation

The Union R-XI Foundation was established in 1986 after about a year of planning and organization, especially by Mark Vincent and Leroy Strubberg. Vincent and Strubberg were responsible for incorporating the fledgling organization and providing it with 501(c)(3) status with the IRS as a non-profit charitable institution. The first few years of the Foundation's existence were devoted mainly to fundraising efforts, the funds from which were primarily used to provide R-XI teachers with grants to enhance their classroom budgets. During this period, the Foundation was under the capable guidance of Sam Stausing, the group's first Chairman, and Ray Arand, who has served as Treasurer since the Foundation was formed.

A mission begun early in the life of the Foundation was that of providing scholarships to graduating Union High School students. The seed money for these awards was donated by Dorothy Reed in the name of her late husband, William Leroy Reed. Since then, the Foundation has served as the administrator for over $150,000 awarded to dozens of young recipients. Scholarships have taken the form of one-time awards, memorials, and endowed funds. Mrs. Reed's vision became a reality when, on May 30, 1990, Tim Erni received the first William Leroy Reed Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1000.

As the 1980s drew to a close, the Foundation was suddenly thrust into a role that would help shape and define its mission and future relationship with the Union R-XI School District. Due to ever-increasing enrollment numbers, the district was forced to expand its facilities with the construction of a new high school. Unfortunately, some unforeseen excavation costs meant that plans to build a $1 million dollar stadium adjacent to the new building would be put on hold indefinitely. This meant that football games and track events would continue to be held at the decades-old stadium on the old high school campus which now functioned as the junior high school. The value of the Foundation immediately became evident.

The group helped solicit the donation of funds from E. A. Stierberger (for whom the stadium is named) and played a huge role in the design and construction of the facility. When it was evident that the budget would only allow a football field to be built, members of the Foundation stepped up to the plate and began an effort to raise the $135,000 necessary to build a state-of-the-art all-weather-surface track. Hundreds of Union residents and alums were contacted for donations to the track project. Today, a beautiful plaque hangs on the outer wall of the stadium concession stand that commemorates the efforts of Foundation members and the contributions of the many donors. The project was led mainly by Project Managers John L. Devos and Bob Price and Fundraising Manager Ray Arand.

This early momentum provided by Foundation activities has been maintained over the years by keeping a constant flow of strong new members on the board of directors. Outstanding leadership has also been a hallmark of the board. Sam Stausing was followed by Jim Strubberg as Chairman throughout most of the 1990s; the gavel is now in the capable hands of Mike Livengood. Ray Arand has been the Foundation Treasurer since the group's inception and John Devos has served as Executive Secretary from the late 1980s until recently when Dennis Sammet and Rhonda Witte took the reins. It is likely this blend of young, enthusiastic leadership with the stability of the older, more experienced members is why the organization has always been so successful. Fundraising efforts have ranged from door-to-door campaigns to automobile donation drives, and the goals have always been met. An annual dinner-dance is held to celebrate the past year's accomplishments and to thank and honor those who have contributed. Foundation money and expertise has been used to furnish library books, artwork by local artists, and technology equipment of every sort to be used by children throughout the district. The Foundation has even acted as an agent for the district in procuring land to hopefully be used in serving the ever-expanding "east Union" population along the Highway 50 corridor toward Interstate 44.

The history of the Union R-XI Foundation is brief but full. Members of the Foundation are proud that they have impacted the children of the Union schools in many and varied ways. But they are also mindful that there is always more work to be done. And they cannot do it alone. The work of the Foundation and the future of the Foundation depends on everyone doing his or her share. Become a part of that brilliant history and that bright future. Become a Foundation member and DO YOUR PART!


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