As a nonprofit advocacy organization, the FOLS is dependent on the generosity of members. Membership dues fund the organization’s operations but, most importantly, have allowed the FOLS to offer ‘Gifts for Greatness’ grants.
Over the years, these $1,000 grants have been awarded on a case-by-case basis to projects throughout Sakakawea country. From funding for new boat ramps to children’s playgrounds to campsite improvements to financial assistance for lake-area first responders, the grants have allowed the FOLS to support and make improvements to the region’s quality of place.
“The Friends are dedicated to making our great lake even better. For us it’s about protecting the lake, defending access, and improving the Lake Sakakawea experience for all,” says FOLS Chairman Terry Fleck.
New ‘Praiseworthy Friend’ Lifetime Membership Level Created
Fleck says while these grants have made a difference, more can be done. For these reasons, the FOLS Board of Directors voted last October to revamp its membership structure. The new membership structure is:
- Good Friend – Individual Membership: $50
- Great Friend – Family Membership: $100
- Best Friend – Business Membership: $300
Individual, family, and business memberships have always existed. The amounts have been slightly modified and the levels have been formally named and designated.
The major and potentially most significant change was the creation of the new Praiseworthy Friend Lifetime Membership level of $1,805.
The new lifetime membership level recognizes Lake Sakakawea’s lowest ever lake level of 1,805 feet. Fleck says the amount is a reminder of the importance of working to ensure we never return to those days when the lake was sacrificed and abandoned.
“The Friends of Lake Sakakawea is here today because the lake once got down to these levels. The Friends were created so the voices of fishermen and women, boaters, outdoor recreationists, and lake area communities are heard,” says Fleck.
“It’s easy to forget about those days when the lake is full and clean. We ask people to not forget. We must always be vigilant in protecting Lake Sakakawea.”
Lifetime Memberships Will Be Placed into Special Fund
All lifetime memberships will be invested into a special fund where the interest income will help finance ‘Gifts for Greatness,’ but most importantly allow the FOLS to pursue other special projects. As Fleck puts it: “The new fund will allow the Friends to deepen our impact and increase our footprint.”
Praiseworthy Friend Lifetime Memberships are open to all individuals, families, small businesses, and organizations. Membership may be paid in one payment of $1,805 or in three payments of $602 over a three-year period.
As of October 1, the Friends have received three lifetime memberships from:
- New Town Chamber of Commerce
- Allen and Diane Gustafson
- The Family of Curtis O. Landtendresse
“The Board of Directors is so grateful for all the individuals, families, and businesses who have renewed their memberships or joined the Friends for the very first time,” notes Fleck. “We especially appreciate the support of the New Town Chamber of Commerce, the Gustafsons, and Landtendresses for becoming our first Praiseworthy Friends. Their generosity will allow us to expand our work in making North Dakota’s great lake even better,” notes Fleck.
New Website Set to Launch by End of November
All donations to the Friends of Lake Sakakawea are tax-deductible. Up until now, those donations could only be sent in by U.S. mail. This will change next month with the launch of the FOLS’ new website. The site will serve as a one-stop shop for information on the lake, events throughout the lake area, and allow for online contributions.
“Every membership makes a difference. We enjoy great and steady support from old and new friends alike,” observes Fleck. “We are now making enhancements to ensure all our friends are connected, our message gets out, and our collective impact is even greater.”