Hatchet Pride Project Sponsor of the Week: Tomahawk Area Foundation for Youth (TAFFY)
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – The Hatchet Pride Project is a $2.25 million effort to install a new track, new synthetic turf field, new bleachers and other facility enhancements at Hatchet Field, located at the Tomahawk School complex. The bulk of the project’s funding has come from private donors and sponsors. The Hatchet Pride Project Committee will feature a shoutout to one sponsor per week. This week, Platinum sponsor Tomahawk Area Foundation for Youth (TAFFY) is in the spotlight.
Lynn and William Mark started TAFFY in 2000 “to help Tomahawk youth reach their full potential through three various grant situations,” William stated.
The first grant, called “Beyond DPI,” aims to help Tomahawk School District faculty by “(assuming) the financial risk of attempting to improve their curriculum so as to inspire their students to become more engaged with their classes.”
Grants directly to students to help offset their post-secondary educational costs accounts for the majority of TAFFY’s financial efforts, William said.
The third program, “Helping Hands,” presents “a myriad of possibilities” and is intended to “bridge the gap between an idea and its fruition with the recipient attempting to assume as much of the costs as practicable.”
For example, TAFFY stepped in when a member of a local Girl Scout troop wanted to continue to work on the walking trail between the Hiawatha Trail and the path that goes past the Tomahawk Public Library. The project cost a total of $5,982.50, but the Girl Scouts fell $3,580 short in their fundraising efforts. TAFFY funded the full amount, and the project was completed.
TAFFY also lent a helping hand after learning a local Boy Scout troop had been robbed, replacing the entirety of the funds lost so the troop could participate in summer activities.
Since its first $500 grant to the Tomahawk School District art department in 2001, TAFFY has donated nearly $15,000 in Beyond DPI funding, $267,501.29 in Helping Hands funding (including $175,000 towards the Hatchet Pride Project), and over $660,000 in 375 grants to help Hatchet graduates’ matriculation, bringing the grand total to over $943,000 on donations.
TAFFY is currently reviewing $42,815 in student grants for the fall 2020 school year, which will push the foundation’s donations to Tomahawk’s future near the $1 million mark.
“This foundation has had an amazing impact on our community over the years,” said Andy Peissig of the Hatchet Pride Project. “It is truly amazing.”