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Burlington Chocolate Fest

March 11, 2014 | 03:01 PM
Seventy years ago, Simeon Chapin, a longtime summer resident, put his philosophy of life in practice by establishing the Chapin Foundation of Wisconsin.

He said, “I would have no right to things if I did not share with others.”

A trust was established with the purpose of supporting religious and educational causes in the Lake Geneva, Williams Bay and Fontana areas.

Within those 70 years, the foundation has made grants of more than $2 million. Public libraries in Lake Geneva, Williams Bay and Fontana have received yearly grants. One of the grants to the Lake Geneva library aided in the construction of the present library. The Water Safety Committee received grants for the programs of swimming and life saving.

In 1930 Mr. Chapin was instrumental in founding the Water Safety Patrol and was its first president. The YMCA has received annual grants. Mr. Chapin’s generosity to the Y in his lifetime was a determining factor in its survival during the depression.

Grants have been made to churches in the area. Mr. Chapin was interested in religious training of young people. The Chapin Foundation of Wisconsin was established as a trust to be administered by Marshall & Ilsley of Milwaukee.

Only the income from the trust is available for grants to beneficiaries designated in the indenture.

This distribution is under the guidance of a board of advisers, all who are area residents. Present members are Carolyn Gramley, Richard Treptow, Martha Mietello and Betty McNally Hartnett. The members are saddened by the death of their chairman, Harold Hartshorne who died on Oct. 28. He was a devoted member and a presence for his grandfather, Simeon Chapin, by faithfully supporting the missions of the board.

The trust was established with 1,000 shares of North American Car Corp., 2,000 shares of Nash Kelvinator Corp. and 1,000 shares of Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

The first year total grant was $2,500. One of the first grants was to the Methodist Church in the amount of $200 to repair the church’s heating system.

For 70 years, 1943 to 2013, this trust has grown and benefited this area of Lake Geneva, Williams Bay and Fontana through the generosity of Simeon B. Chapin who lived his philosophy of life.

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Walworth County