The Cairo Veterans Memorial Park is really taking shape.  Numerous volunteers led by Gordy Sorensen spent the last week installing sprinklers, installing lights, planting, and laying sod.

Over then next week or two watch the for the installation of the ribbon garden.

The granite donor wall is on order.  This piece is expected to arrive in 8 to 12 weeks.  Like everything else these days timelines are effected by the pandemic.

The Cairo Community Foundation will continue to take orders for veteran memorial bricks.  To order a brick download the order form here or stop by the Village Office to pick one up.

Bricks are $150 each.  The Foundation intends to place its next brick order by November 15th.

Download Brick Order Form


A group of volunteers, led by Gordy Sorensen are installing sprinklers at the Cairo Veteran Memorial Park on Saturday, September 26th starting at 9 am.  Pulling the pipe and installing the sprinklers requires a little bit of elbow grease.  If you have any to lend or better yet you have teenagers with a little elbow grease to spare please contact Charity Adams at 308-390-9119.  Walk-ons are welcome too.


The North Ballfield Playground volunteers along with Cairo Community Foundation and Greater Grand Island Community Foundation representatives gathered to dedicate the North Ballfield Playground.

A simple conversation on a set of bleachers created a project that provides a safe place space, enriches the look and feel of the ballfield and shows what true collaboration can create.

A team of volunteers led by Tara Janda and supported by the Cairo Community Foundation created a play space that includes rubber mulch, full playscape, nets that prevent fly ball injury and a sun shade to protect children and equipment.  The playground is located just north of the bleachers, a safe distance from the railroad tracks and the parking lot.  The playground is within the sightlines of parents dividing focus to keep children entertained off the field and players supported on the field.

Adam Becker led the construction team which included Tara and Jim Janda, Kody Knopik, Nate Fries, Michael  Anderson, Adam Bierhaus, Judson Bonsack, Mekhi Melgoza, and volunteers from Farm Credit.  This team went above and beyond to put the playground together.  When you visit the playground you will recognize that this is a substantial set up that required significant talent and effort to construct.  Be sure to thank these volunteers for their time and dedication to the children who will enjoy this play space for many years to come.

BR: Adam Becker, Jen Barker, Kevin Dvorak, Jim Janda, Sara Bierhaus, Adam Becker, Mike Gloor FR: Brooke Fries, Kayla Becker, Shannon Dvorak, Tara Janda, Charity Adams, Denise Myers, Lisa Thayer

Cairo Community Foundation served the Cairo Community by supporting a volunteer team with a vision.  The Foundation provides the charitable corporate structure needed to acquire donations and grants.  This project was funded through a grant written by the Foundation to the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation .  The Arthur Klinkacek Fund administered by the board of the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation fulfilled the grant, providing $25,000 towards this project.

The Cairo Community Foundation looks forward to supporting the New Bathroom Project for the North Ballfield.  Tara Janda and Barb Knopik are leading this project.  The project seeks $60,000 to fund the construction of a new building that will initially house new bathrooms but eventually be the starting point for additional amenities for the North Ballfield area.  Donations can be directed to the Cairo Community Foundation – New Bathroom Fund.

The committee is currently selling calendars to raise funds for this project, hosting a co-ed softball tournament on August 23rd and hosting a North Ballfield vision meeting on September 13th. The public is invited to participate in the meeting as well as gather a team for the tournament. If you are not a softball player and want to support the project stop at the ballfield and buy a taco from the Mexcellent Food Truck on August 23rd.  Proceeds from food purchases benefit the project.

“Board members answered the question:  How will the Cairo Community Foundation continue to build on past success and create opportunities for strengthening the community in the future?”

Planning for the Future

Cairo Community Foundation Board members and director met with Mission Matters consultant, Kayla Schnuelle to answer the question:  How will the Cairo Community Foundation continue to build on past successes and create opportunities for strengthening the community in the future?

Board members spent a full day evaluating the Foundation’s impact over the course of the last five years.  The board really took a close look at what is working, what bold new risks should be explored, and what defines the Cairo Community.


Board Members

At the end of the day the Foundation Board developed a 3 to 5 year plan with a three pronged approach to become a key tool for successful growth of the Cairo Community.

The strategic plan identified actionable steps for the next eight quarters.

The strategic plan will be made available and used as a guide to measure success and assist the community in reaching its goals.


Cairo Community Foundation Board and Executive Director
Board Members back row:  Mike Lowry, Dick Hadenfeldt, Craig Welty, Randy Gleason, Jen Barker.  front row:  Brook Sautter, Judy Landers, Angie Meyer and director, Charity Adams

“Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy. You might know how to succeed, but more importantly, what’s your plan to succeed?” Jim Rohn

“Board member, Craig Welty puts actionable steps on the strategic plan”

Strategic Planning Funded by a Grant from NoNProfit Excellence INSTITUTE Participation 

The Cairo Community Foundation applied and was accepted to participate in Nonprofit Excellence Institute in 2019, operated by the Grand Island Community Foundation.  This twelve month class provide training in board management, leadership, budgeting, marketing and much more.  Upon completing the course the Foundation receive a $5000 capacity building grant.  The Cairo Community Foundation board utilized this grant to complete strategic planning to fortify the organization.


The Cairo Veterans Memorial is in its second phase of funding.  The second phase includes raising funds for five decorative pillars, engraved with a mural of our military branches in action.  Each pillar holds a bronze emblem representing a branch of service. Mike and Denise Lowry and Tom and Joey Falch made a $15,000 gift to the Cairo Community Foundation Veterans memorial fund to sponsor one of the five pillars.  Mike and Joey are the children of longtime Cairo residents Bob and Suzy Lowry.

Bob shared this story about him and his fellow Cairo residents answering the call of duty. His daughter Joey documented his thoughts and shared it with the Foundation for publication. 

December 7, 1941, found the Cairo boys at the gym, practicing basketball.  As they passed the Methodist church parsonage after practice, someone shared the news of the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese.  The war took a terrible toll on the Cairo community, as six were killed in action.  One Benny Schlund, was killed at Pearl Harbor in the initial hit on the USS Arizona.

Three members of Bob’s class left school as juniors to enter the service:  Lloyd Nunnenkamp, Don Stoeger and Richard Engle.  Engel was killed at Normandy.

After high school graduation in 1944, several Cairo boys entered the service:  Bob, Bruce Laughlin, Ralph Grabowski, Frank Perkins and Earl Brundage.  All returned safely after the war.

Bob enlisted in the Navy on July 5, 1944.  He then started college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  While waiting to be called up, he tried out for and made the football team.  Just before the team’s first game, against Minnesota, he was called to active duty.  The athletic department didn’t get the roster for the game changed in time, so Bob’s parents heard “Bob Lowry” go into the game over the radio,  when he was really in Farragut, Idaho in boot camp.

The Cairo Community is grateful for the sacrifices all our veterans made and are making today to keep us safe.  The Cairo Community Foundation and the Veterans committee is thankful for all gifts received to make the Veterans Memorial Park.  The committee is seeking $45,000 in funding to complete phase two of the Veterans Memorial Project.  Donations can be made and veterans memorial bricks can be purchased at the Village of Cairo Office.  You can also contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119 or donate online by clicking this link.

The Cairo Community Foundation Veterans Committee is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, November 3rd to mark the construction of a Veterans Memorial Park.  The park will be located in the empty lot directly east of the Cairo Fire Department.  Groundbreaking is at 11:00 am.  AseraCare is providing hot chocolate at the ceremony.  The ceremony includes a pinning dedication to honor any veteran in attendance that day.  A light lunch will follow at The Medina Street Vault. 

In 2013 the Cairo Steering Committee designated a Veterans Memorial as a community priority.  The Edward VanWinkle Family started the development of the park by setting up a veterans memorial fund with the Cairo Community Foundation.  A committee of dedicated volunteers soon began developing plans for a park to includes granite pillars, representing each branch of the military, a veterans memorial brick wall, granite memorial benches, and memory ribbon garden filled with pollinator plants. 

The project received grants and private donations to complete the initial landscaping, build the veterans wall, install five memorial granite benches and the pollinator ribbon garden.  The committee is continuing to raise funds for phase 2 which includes the granite pillars and the star walkway.  If you have questions about this event or would like more information on how to honor a veteran by purchasing a brick for the wall, please contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119 or

The Cairo Community Foundation is participating in the Non-Profit Excellence Institute course offered by the Grand Island Community Foundation.  The Non-Profit Excellence Insitute provides executive director monthly training and board member quarterly training.  The Cairo Community Foundation board members and the executive director committed their time to complete the one-year training program.

The Non-Profit Excellence program is benefiting the Cairo Community Foundation by providing education on non-profit policy, strategic planning, marketing and developing sustainability.  Cairo Community Foundation is eligible for a $5000 capacity building grant upon completion.

As part of the continued development of the Cairo Community Foundation and its participation in the class, please take this simple survey.  Your opinion matters for planning.  The people who care about Cairo can use their finances and skills through the Cairo Community Foundation to make sure Cairo thrives for its residents and visitors well into the future.

Please click here to take the online survey at:

Cairo is working with Centura to facilitate youth programming through a grant received by Centura.  The grant provides funding for 2018 youth programs including basic cooking, basic automotive, robotics, entrepreneurship and more.  These programs combined with Cairo Safety Day and Children’s Theater means our children have skill enriching programs right in their own backyards.  It is important to mention that these programs are open to children in the Centura District and reach children in other communities as well.

The Cairo Community Foundation started a Children’s Program Fund.  It hopes to receive donations totaling $5,000 to endow the fund.  The endowed fund is a way to secure funding for these programs for many years to come.  Go Big Give contributions on May 3rd can be directed to the Children’s Fund.

The Foundation wrote a grant to Cargill a few months ago and learned the local Cargill committee approved $5,000 for children’s programs.  The Foundation was pleased to hear about these funds to secure Children’s Theater and the development of additional programs.  The local Cargill committee was enthusiastic about children’s programming and submitted the Foundation’s grant proposal to the corporate office for additional funding.  The Foundation was notified that the Cargill corporate office is supplying an additional $2500 for youth programming.  The Foundation and the community is going to  be able offer amazing opportunities for youth in the Centura District with this commitment from Cargill.