County fund raises $8,600 at annual fund auction on Dec. 1
AuGRES – The Arenac County Fund raised about $8,600 at its ninth annual auction Thursday, Dec. 1, according to fund committee member Diane Morley.
With the award-winning auctioneering technique of volunteer Mike Furlow keeping the event rolling, over 70 items were auctioned off to a packed house at Dunleavy’s Eatery & Pub in AuGres over the course of two and a half hours.
Lucky auction winners were able to walk away with items such as an Xbox 360, a suite at the Dow Event Center, wine, gift baskets, and gift cards, oftentimes at prices near or below the listed value.
Some items, such as a Wolverine 209 muzzleloader rifle, sold at above-value prices, raising additional funds for the fund.
Morley said high turnout, leading to few places to sit or stand, has made Dunleavy’s a tricky place to hold the auction, but audience members want to keep it there. Bridget Dunleavy, business owner and committee member, has been offering the site as a hosting ground for the auction since its inception.
In the future, Morley said, the committee may have to look into renting a hall.
Prior to the auction, $7,900 was given away in grants to eight local organizations, including the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District, the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, Deep River Township, and the Arenac Historical Society.
Fund member Ken Kernstock said the initial $80,000 endowment donated to the fund by 4-H around 2000 has been given out three times over in grants to county groups.
“It’s a chance to be active, and have something that will grow even after you’re gone,” Kernstock said.
Fund committee chair Ronda Switek remarked the current fund balance has grown to over $400,000. In addition to county organizations, Switek said the money has also gone out to fund scholarships.
Besides the auction, Switek told the Independent in November that the fund also raises money through a golf outing in May and a trivia night, as well as unrelated contributions.
“We raised approximately $20,000 last year,” she said. “Donations that we receive (vary) all the time.”
Karen Tremble, committee co-chair, said as a business owner she joined to give back to the community that supports her, but additionally she wanted to help make the area one her children would appreciate and live in.
“With betterment grants, I want to give them more than what I had growing up,” she said. “I want to be able to get them to stay and work in the community.”
The Arenac County Fund has been a part of the Bay Area Foundation since its inception in 2000.