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About a year ago, Ken Knott invited a small group of men together and pitched them this idea:
AT THE HEART of the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show are FFA and 4-H kids like Kagan Koehn, Cove, and their livestock projects. - MARDI FORD photo
Why not establish a 501c3 (not-for-profit) foundation that would enable financial supporters of the 100-year old Eastern Oregon Livestock Show to make tax-deductible donations?
Such a move, Knott believed, would assure financial support for the next 100 years of the regional livestock show.
"Ken Knott has always been a fantastic supporter of the livestock show," says board secretary David Yoder. "It's a wonderful thing — it provides a wonderful way to give back to the community and for what the show gives to us."
Besides Knott, who serves as foundation president, and Yoder, the board includes Ray McDaniel, Craig Nightingale, Nate Jacobs, Brian Spencer and Steve Joseph. The men agreed to sign on for a year as the first Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Foundation Board of Directors.
"The foundation is really Ken's brainchild. The rest of us are just along for the ride. It's an honor to be part of it. It's really been a labor of love," says Yoder.
So much so, in fact, Yoder says the entire board enthusiastically agreed to stay on for a second year.
Yoder says the foundation's intent is not to tell the livestock show association how to spend money, but to ensure there will be money to spend.
"There is a clear delineation between the association — which runs the show — and the foundation, which is the recipient of tax-deductible donations. The goal is to assure the show will continue for another 100 years," says Yoder.
The foundation will provide the financing from the donations it receives. Yoder does not anticipate any power struggles or problems between the foundation and the association. In fact, the foundation's mission as stated in its articles of incorporation reads:
"The corporation is organized exclusively ... to support and fund capital improvements, operations, and other related activities in the furtherance of the 4-H and FFA programs hosted by the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Association, Inc."
"The foundation board does not want to run the show, that's the association's job. We do mesh well, but we're keeping the foundation purposely at arm's length from the association. Our focus is not to micromanage what the association already does," Yoder says Ray McDaniel is the current president of the association and also serves as the vice president of the foundation.
"I think this was a wonderful idea. The foundation is a tremendous asset to the association. This will provide the show with future funding for improvement projects to the livestock show grounds," says McDaniel.
The association, he says, will still need direct donations in order to run the annual show. But for those fortunate enough to have a substantial amount of money to bequeath to the show, the creation of a foundation gives those people the tax-deductible avenue to do so. People may also make donations as a memorial or to honor a loved one.
"We've already received a lot of memorials in (longtime stock show participant and supporter) Pat Stitzel's name," Yoder says.
For those who may wonder why it took 100 years to form a foundation, Yoder says, "Well, I think we all went along and didn't think about it. But 100 years is a really big deal and it gets you thinking about the next 100 and what we should do.''