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Foundation has history of covering community activity financial shortfalls in Yukon

The Yukon Community Support Foundation has been in the background of the city throughout its existence but that changed during a city council meeting at the beginning of the month.
The possibility of having the foundation compensate the city for employee salary during the annual Christmas holiday events was brought up. The city approved a flat budget for the upcoming fiscal year as newly-named foundation member Mayor Shelli Selby promised to look into possible reimbursement.
The foundation carries a board of nine people with finances of over $400,000 accumulated through donations and grants. Ray Wright has sat on the board through its existence and as chairman the past three years. He said the mission is to benefit the citizens and town of Yukon in its artistic entertainment and activities. Through its mission, all the money it spends is spent on behalf of the city.
The mission itself states: “The Mission Statement of the Yukon Community Support Foundation is to provide support to the City of Yukon, OK. Its citizens and supporters including but not limited to enhancing the physical facilities of public property, providing education and entertainment, and all other activities benefitting the quality of life in the community.”
“We have never once funded anything without the city council or the city manager’s request,” Wright said.
Wright said the foundation applies for grants every year and it helps fund events when needed.
“We cover shortfalls or anything they need us to cover,” Wright said. “The Chisholm Trails is under us.”
Wright said the foundation also purchases the generic decoration at Christmas not sponsored by corporations and it has bought a building to store the decorations.
The foundation has even given the city a hand up when its budget didn’t allow it to financially support a number of town entities and events such as the Veterans Museum.
“Last year, there was a budget shortfall,” Wright said. “There are four or five entities the city generally donates to. They asked us to do it and we made those donations.”
City spokesperson Jenna Roberson informed The Review the American Legion was paid $12,000 for rent on the Veteran’s Museum. The foundation also provided $325 for Yukon Sharing, $250 for Project Graduation, $15,000 for Youth and Family Serivices and $12,000 for Compassionate Hands.
Wright further explained moving forward foundation assistance would be provided on a case-by-case business as befitting a foundation.
“We will try to do it more like that, but we have not done anything that was not directed or requested by the city council or city manager,” he said.
The foundation board itself is made up of nine people, all from Yukon in all walks of life.
“For a long time, there was only four but before Jim (Crosby) left he suggested we increase that number,” Wright said. “We try to get people with a stake in Yukon.”
The board meets quarterly and each member pays $10 dues annually. There is no compensation to board members. It uses donations from the Christmas lights and grants to fund its work and expenses that develop. Wright estimates expenses can range from $7,000 annually to replace bulbs to larger expenditures in situations such as the ice storm which caused significant damage. A number of displays had to be replaced. It has all paid off as the Christmas lights have grown.
“In the last year, donations have gone up and the displays have increased,” Wright said. “Christmas in the Park brings in the most people. If you go out to eat, there is a wait.”

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