HURON — The Huron Community Foundation, the groups and organizations who depend upon grants from the foundation to provide services, and the Huron community as a whole received a huge shot in the arm Friday night.
Prior to the start of Friday night’s fundraiser baseball event, Huron Community Foundation (HCF) board chairman Steve Gohn announced that a $1 million bequest on behalf of former Huron businessman Craig Mattesen had been directed to the HCF.
Matthesen, who owned and operated Freeze Frame Video at 9th and Dakota for many years passed away unexpectedly in March of 2016 in Rapid City.
“It’s overwhelming, this gift that Craig left to the Foundation,” Gohn said of the bequest.
Gohn added that the funds will be used to create the Matthesen Family Fund, beneath the umbrella of the HCF, similar to a fund established by the Wheeler family of Huron.
“This past year the Huron Community Foundation was able to provide grants to 13 local organizations, totaling $37,350,” said board member Carolyn Stahl. “Thanks to the establishment of the Matthesen Family Fund, HCF will be able to greatly expand our mission. The generosity of the Matthesen Family will benefit Huron for generations to come. “
“Although he had a gruff, sarcastic personality, Craig had a big heart, and a desire to make an impact on his community,” Gohn said.
“The Matthesen Family Fund will be managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation,” Gohn said, “just as the Huron Community Foundation and Wheeler Family Fund are.”
A portion of the money generated by the respective funds is distributed in the form of grants each year. The additional funding provided by the Matthesen Family Fund will allow for more grant applications to be approved by the HCF in the future.
“We will be able to make a bigger impact on various community projects for years to come,” said board member Mary Pearson, “projects that would not be possible without these additional funds.”
Board member Dr, Mike Fuchs added that the addition of the Mattheson Family Fund monies to the HCF will allow the organization to double the money available for grant distribution and can expand the projects it considers.
“The Foundation Board is humbled by this gift and will work diligently to utilize these funds in such a way that Mr. Matthesen’s legacy will be honored and greatly respected,” Fuchs said.
Craig Matthesen was the definition of a small town businessman. He prided himself on providing local service to the Huron community for decades as the owner of Freeze Frame Video.
Gohn and Sherman Gose at Avail Wealth Management purchased the building from Matthesen several years ago.
“It’s bittersweet to be in the building. I miss my friend,” said Gohn. Gohn said that Matthesen poured himself into starting and making his business a success. He also actively gave back during his life by mentoring the young people he hired to work in his store. For many of them, working at Freeze Frame was their first job.
According to Gohn, Matthesen remembered that when growing up in Chadron, Neb., an individual left money to the community after passing away. With the gift, the town built a new baseball field for the entire community to enjoy. The concept of that selfless act stuck with Matthesen throughout his lifetime, and he decided to carry it on with an estate gift to the Huron Community Foundation to benefit the Huron community, Chadron State College and the baseball program in Chadron.
“Craig gave to three things he cherished: baseball, the Huron community, and South Dakota,” said his brother Larry Matthesen. “He felt the S.D. Community Foundation was the best way to use the money.”
“The Matthesen Family Fund is a permanent legacy created by Craig for the benefit of the community where he lived, worked, and made lifelong friends,” said board member David McGirr. “I am sad that his time in this world ended too soon, but I feel honored to help perpetuate his generosity through Huron Community Foundation grants that will improve the quality of life in Huron - every year - for generations to come.”