April 22, 2015

What it takes to be the Brian LaViolette Foundation

We say and believe we are a small foundation doing big things. But just how big-and small- are we?  Many of you know we established the Foundation in 1992 after my brother, Brian, died in a swimming accident.  With the memorial contributions, our family established a scholarship in his name and memory at Wisconsin's DePere High School. 

That year, a committee of longtime friends and family came together to filter through the 20 plus applications, interview the finalists and make the selection of our first recipient.  

One of our first newsletters
The next year, we awarded three scholarships. Shortly after, we partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and with a local college and tech school... and as they say, 'the rest is history'.    

A decade after what we thought would be
one scholarship to remember Brian and assist our youth, became 25 different scholarships a year.  

A decade after that, our numbers have doubled with over 55 being awarded annually--nearly 70% in honor of others.

You can see a list of over 630 recipients to date here.

But this isn't about the numbers, although we feel very blessed to have assisted so many through the years.  This is about the nuts and bolts. Or in our case- love and passion. 

The core of the Foundation-
Doug and Renee LaViolette
My parents, Doug and Renee are truly the core of the Foundation.

And the support and encouragement we receive from you is our "nuts and bolts." 

We were completely volunteered based until 2006 (that's 14 years of growth, special events and logistics).  With the tremendous workload that came with spearheading the 2007 Medal of Honor Convention we knew we needed to hire someone. Building on my experience as Community Director of the March of Dimes, we "took the plunge" and hired the Foundation's first full time employee... me, Brian's sister, Kim.


Kim LaViolette
I have attended several conferences and workshops lately and after sharing the Foundation is a "small shop" with one employee, many ask how we do it. 

My response? Our small organization is able to do 'big things' because of the love and passion we receive from our Board, our volunteers, our recipients and the families and communities we work with. 

We have never taken rent or rented an office space to make these big things happen, yet we set up our homes to make sure we can continue to do what we do.  My parents, the core of the foundation, have never taken one penny for salary. Neither has our Board of Directors. We are able to carry on our mission because we have countless people who donate endless time and talent to the Foundation's cause.

The Foundation is able to grow, because of your feedback, your financial support, your enthusiasm and -above all- your love and passion. 

You truly are the "nuts and bolts" of this journey.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for traveling this course with us. 

March 24, 2015

We are happy to announce our 2015 Scholarship presentation dates

Thomas Hudner: Fox Valley Civil War Patrol- April 11th

Joel Gentz: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN- April 24, 6:00 pm

Sal Giunta: JFK High School, Cedar Rapid, IA- April 27, 6:30

General George S. Patton: Pilsen, Czech Republic,- May 3

Rachel Bosveld: Waupun High School, WI- May 13, 7:00 pm 

Ken Kubsch: Manitowoc High School, WI- May 13, 7:00 pm

Victoria Parmentier Scholarship: Ashwaubenon High School, WI-May 13, 6:30

Joe Welke: Rapid City Stevens High School, SD- May 14, 7:00 pm 

Matt Atkinson: Green Bay East High School, WI- May 18, 7:00 pm  

Danny Dietz: Heritage High School, Littleton, CO- May 18, 6:00 pm

Samantha Rose Cuene: DePere High School, WI- May 19, 7:00 pm * First Annual Scholarship presentation 

Ken Hess: AC Reynolds High School, Asheville, NC- May 19, 7:00 pm

David Parmentier:  DePere High School, WI- May 19, 7:00 pm *First Annual Scholarship presentation

John Bradley: Appleton West High School, WI- May 20, 6:30pm

James Cathey: Reno High School, NV- May 20, 7:00 pm

Wendell and Shanna Ellsworth: Belding High School, MI- May 20, 7:00 pm

Kyle Hemauer: Chilton High School, WI-May 20, 7:00 pm 

Ryan Jerabek: Pulaski High School, WI- May 20, 8:30 am

Ron Sager: Fox Valley Lutheran High School, WI- May 20, 9:00 am

Ben Edinger: Green Bay West High School, WI- May 20, 6:30 pm 

Ray Zimmerman: Green Bay West High School, WI- May 20, 6:30 pm *First Annual Scholarship presentation

Brent Vroman: Omro High School, WI May 20, 6:45 pm 

Robert Foley: United States Military Academy, West Point NY- May 21, 2:00

Jerome Hatfield: Tunstall High School, Dry Fork VA- To be announced

Len Keller: Auburn High School, Rockford, IL-To be announced

Andrew Brownfield: North High School, Akron OH- May 22, 8:30 am

Isaiah Hunt: Bayport High School, WI- May 22, 9:00 am

Jesse Thiry: Luxemburg Casco High School, WI, May 26, 9:00 am 

Nueske Family: Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, WI- May 26, 7:00 pm  

Brian LaViolette: Partners in Education- To be announced

Eric McColley: Gettysburg High School, PA-- May 27, 7:00 pm 

Nichole Frye: Lena High School, WI-- May 27, 7:30 pm

Above and Beyond Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI-May 27, 7:30 pm 

Esther Cleveland Safford: Oconto High School, WI- May 27 7:30 pm

Robert Safford: Oconto High School, WI- May 27, 7:30 pm

"The Journey is the Reward": Oconto High School, WI-May 27, 7:30 pm
NWTC Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI- May 27, 7:30 pm

Mike Colalillo: Denfeld High School, MN-May 28, 7:00 pm 

Ollie and Helen Bogsted: Suring High School, WI- May 30

"The Journey is the Reward": Suring High School, WI- May 30

NWTC Scholarship: Suring High School, WI- May 30
Ken Stumpf, Elmer Burr: Menasha High School, WI-June 2, 9:00 am 

Nainoa Hoe: 1Lt Nainoa K. Hoe Battle Command Training Center, Schofield Barracks, HI- August 28 

LEAP School Science and Math, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa--Summer of 2015

Poland Scholarships (6 Scholarships): Nidzica Foundation Award Ceremony, Nidzica Poland- September 2015

St. Norbert Scholarships (4 Scholarships): DePere, WI --October 2015 

March 12, 2015

New Scholarship at DePere High School remembering Sam Cuene

Samantha 'Sam' Cuene was a student at DePere High School and would have graduated in the class of 2014.  

Sadly, Sam died one month before her 18th birthday.  Sam was a passionate and giving person and now it's our turn to honor her memory through the Samantha Rose Cuene Scholarship. 

Sam loved to write and was talented on many levels. She had her sights on becoming a journalist.

She loved her friends and most of all her family. Sam would light up a room when she entered it and was incredibly funny, but she also had a very serious side.

Sam's scholarship will recognize a graduating De Pere High School senior for their compassion for others and desire to make the world a better place. It will acknowledge the goodness in this person's heart, and invest in the future good he or she will ultimately give back to their community.

The recipient of this award will take on the challenge of helping others through their genuine compassion and drive.  You can apply through the DePere High School guidance office or by clicking here.

March 5, 2015

First grade connection to new Scholarship at West High

When you were 7 years old, did you think that almost 30 years later you'd still be in touch with your first grade teacher?

I didn't either.  Not because I didn't love Mrs. Zimmerman (she remained my favorite teacher through my 17 years of schooling... shhhh don't tell the others :), but in first grade I was more concerned about our classroom goldfish and hamsters, learning how to write and talking with new friends.

Kim and Julie Hoerth with Mrs. Zimmerman (Julie also had her in first grade)
Mrs. Zimmerman (I still have a hard time calling her Gloria) and her husband Paul sponsor our South African Scholarship after visiting the country on a mission trip.  

This year, they wanted to sponsor a scholarship closer to home.  Paul met with Green Bay West High, his alma mater to established a scholarship in honor of his father, Ray, who was also a teacher there.



Paul's father, Ray, taught at West High School from 1935 - 1971.  

During that time he taught Social Problems and Industrial Arts and was a Jayvee Football Coach and an Assistant Track Coach. Mr. Zimmerman was dedicated to ensuring the academic success of each of his students. To that end he set high standards for both his students and himself.   

Paul and Gloria graduated from West in 1953 and 1954 and are pleased that they can "pay it forward" to the school that played a positive role in their lives and influenced them to become teachers.

Graduating Green Bay West seniors attending technical college or university in any field are eligible.  

February 10, 2015

Update from one of our Czech Republic Recipient

Kristyna Otaskova received the 2012 General Patton Scholarship of Honor Recipient, Pilsen Czech Republic.  We just heard from her and she is continuing to follow her passion of working in the social work field.  It sure takes a special person to do what she does and we are all lucky to have people in the world like Kristyna!  

“I have been working for 3 months in my new job, which I really enjoy.  I don’t know if you have this kind of work in the U.S.  I work with people who are homeless, drug addicts, unemployed, and/or self-supporting mothers. It means working with the lowest social level (i.e. social welfare) in the Czech Republic. Their benefits are supposed to cover the cost of living, hygiene, and clothing. It is very interesting work - I communicate with these people and try to help them find solutions for their living situation.  I really like the work, even though it is quite difficult...”