Weber Family-Organic Valley Student Opportunity Grants

Mission

Create a sustainable and logical method for students, teachers, and advisors to access funding for unique, creative, student driven projects that may not otherwise be funded and align to the intention of the private matching funds.

History

In April 2013 the School District of Cashton passed a $12,310,000 building referendum.  The passing of the referendum allowed the district to enhance facilities in a manner that addressed educational space issues, updated inefficient energy systems, reconfigured building entrances, and supported community access to school facilities.   The school district applied for $1,140,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds.  Qualified Zone Academy Bonds are interest-free bonds that school districts can apply for if the district secures a 10% private funding match. Organic Valley Cooperative and Don and Roxanne Weber generously pledged $50,000 in private matching donations to Cashton School District.  These commitments made it possible for the district to maximize this interest free financing opportunity and save taxpayers $300,000 in interest payments.

The Weber Family and Organic Valley asked that donations be used to support opportunities for current Cashton School District students.   Specifically, each donor requested that the donations be used to provide diverse high impact learning opportunities for students; technology or vocational equipment; and technical assistance in developing curriculum and training of teachers in order to promote appropriate market-driven technology in the classrooms.  In 2014-2015 the Weber-OV Student Opportunity Fund was established.  Students, teachers, and advisors will have the opportunity to apply for grants that align to the intention of the matching funds.

 

Don Weber is the company founder and CEO of Logistics Health Incorporated (LHI). He has 25 years of experience in designing and implementing creative health service programs. His leadership and vision has driven the development of many comprehensive and successful approaches to providing health care services to employers and employees alike.

Previously, Weber was President and founder of National Health Screenings, which focused exclusively on health assessments and employee screening services. He then built HSNA, a premier provider of pre-employment drug testing services, and sold it to Pinkerton Services Group.

After a transition period, he began devoting his time to building LHI into a world-class leader in the field of military medical and dental readiness. Today, under his leadership, the organization has grown from a handful of employees to more than 900 full-time jobs.

In 2010, under Weber’s leadership, LHI was awarded the highest honor given by the U.S. Department of Defense to an employer, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award, in recognition of the company’s support of its Service member employees. In 2004, Weber was named Wisconsin Entrepreneur of the Year by the Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Conference, an award which recognizes entrepreneurial leaders who are instrumental in the development of the Wisconsin economy. He was also named the La Crosse Tribune’s Person of the Year for 2006. Weber serves on the Board of Trustees for Viterbo University and La Crosse Area Family YMCA, and also serves as a Board Member for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse.

After growing up on a farm in Cashton, Wisconsin, he joined the United States Marine Corps as a young man. He served active duty in the Vietnam War, and for his distinguished service he has received many awards, among them the Purple Heart and two bronze stars (SOURCE).

Organic Valley began in 1988 with a group of Wisconsin farmers who shared a love of the land and a belief that a new, sustainable approach to agriculture was needed in order for family farms and rural communities to survive. Frustrated by the loss of nearly 2,000 family farms each week and the staggering number threatened with extinction, these farmers set out to create a solution: organic agriculture.

With this mission in mind, the farmers formed CROPP Cooperative (Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools), which today is the largest organic farming cooperative in North America with more than 1779 farmer-owners in 33 states and four Canadian provinces. In addition to providing farmers a way to stay in business, organic agriculture fulfilled their vision for a sustainable agriculture: farming without antibiotics or synthetic hormones and pesticides, pasturing animals, and ensuring the land would be preserved for future generations.

In order to market their products, CROPP created the more commonly known brand Organic Valley Family of Farms. Organic Valley has become one of the largest organic brands in the nation, offering milk, cheese, juice, eggs, spreads, produce, and soy, as well as meat labeled under the sister brand, Organic Prairie Family of Farms. As the co-op continues to grow, they prove that it is not necessary for a business to sacrifice people for profits: today, the cooperatives farmer-owners represent approximately 9 percent of the entire nation's certified organic farming community.

Despite Organic Valley's growth, it remains true to its roots and unique business model. Part of Organic Valley's success is due to the fact that the farmer-owners pay themselves a stable, sustainable pay price, which is set by a farmer board of directors elected by the membership.

"The success of Organic Valley proves that organic agriculture can be a lifeline for America's struggling family farms," says George Siemon, Organic Valley's C-E-I-E-I-O. "In an era of rising and falling agricultural prices, Organic Valley farmers can count on a stable, living wage to stay in business on their land."

Just as Organic Valley strives to support family farms, it is also committed to its local communities. In 2004, Organic Valley chose to build its new company headquarters, which accommodates 400 employees, in La Farge, Wis., the small town the co-op has called home since its inception. In 2007, they opened a distribution center in a neighboring small town, Cashton, Wis. By maintaining relationships with businesses and other partners nationwide, and contracting with production plants and shipping companies, Organic Valley has minimized investment in "brick and mortar" while simultaneously supporting local communities where their farmers live (SOURCE).

Cashton School District • 540 Coe Street, Cashton, WI 54619 • 608-654-5131 ext 201 • Fax: 608-654-5136
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