Flanagan honored with Bridge to Future Award at Beloit event

12 Nov 2023

BELOIT — As Bill Flanagan accepted the Bridge to the Future Award, honoring him for his efforts to make the Beloit area a better place, he challenged others to work to ensure a bright future for the area.

“Everyone in this room can be a bridge to the future,” he said. “Together we can change the trajectory of every child in Rock County.”

Flanagan made the comments during the 37th Annual Stateline Community Foundation Celebration on Friday at the Eclipse Center and he was referring to the “Basics” childhood brain development program, supported by the Stateline Community Foundation. The program encourages childhood brain development from birth to age 5 so children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.

“Build a brain, build a life, build a community,” Flanagan said.

The program is a cooperative effort between health care agencies, schools and parents to ensure children reach their full potential.

Flanagan has been a proponent of early childhood education for years. He is the coordinator of Literacy for Life, a program launched in 2018 as a partnership between the Stateline Community Foundation, local schools and other stakeholders to promote literacy among young children.

Flanagan has served on the Stateline Community Foundation Board of Trustees and he first came to Beloit in 1980 to serve as vice president of Student Affairs at Beloit College. He later became Dean of Students at Beloit College. He also has served on many boards and committees including for Family Services of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, Beloit Regional Hospice, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, YMCA Mentoring Program and more.

Flanagan encourage the guests at the celebration to support the Stateline Community Foundation, which in turn supports the future of the Stateline Area.

Stateline Community Foundation Executive Director Tara Tinder said the foundation works with many donors who support many charitable efforts. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation had $19,489,367 in funds for grants and scholarships last year.

The foundation distributed over 80 scholarships to high school students last year. Funds also go to teacher mini-grants, the Women’s Fund, Community Impact Grants and other efforts.


Ann Sitrick Joyce, chair of the Stateline Community Foundation Board, said it is thanks to the support of people like those attending the celebration, that the foundation can continue its work to strengthen the community to meet the challenges of the future.

“We connect people who care with the causes that matter,” she said, adding “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Tinder call on some individuals and agencies that have benefited from the works of the Stateline Community Foundation to share their stories on Friday.

Megan Freeman graduated from Beloit Turner High School in 2011 and she was awarded the Collins-Clark Scholarship through the foundation. She went on to earn a bachelors degree and later a masters degree in education and now she teaches first grade students in Oak Park, Illinois.

“The scholarship allowed me to concentrate on my studies and I graduated debt-free,” she said. “Thank you for the dedication you have shown to the community.”

Marc Perry, executive director of Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties, noted the support the foundation has shown for Community Action programs, and in particular the Fresh Start program. This program is for students ages 16 to 21. It not only concentrates on students completing their high school education and earning a diploma, but it requires at least 450 hours of community service and students build a house in the community each year, which in turn is sold to a first-time homebuyer.

Perry said the students of Fresh Start have said the program provides them with a safe space and adults they can trust, which many youths today do not have.

“Every dollar you give to the foundation makes an impact,” he said. “These resources are building our future.”

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