NWC News Desk

Northwest College Foundation takes lead in supporting economic development effort

Posted May 2, 2011

POWELL, Wyo. - Thanks to an endowed fund specifically designated to support local economic initiatives, the Northwest College Foundation has stepped up as the first community partner to contribute financial support to Powell’s new economic development effort.

At its Wednesday, April 27, board meeting, the NWC Foundation voted to commit $20,000 a year for three years from its Bill and Joanne Price Economic Development Fund. The gift will be renewed annually, pending continued progress.

In October 2000, the Prices donated $1 million to the NWC Foundation for an endowed fund. Half the income from the endowment supports NWC scholarships. The other half is set aside to be used by the foundation, in consultation with community leaders, for the support of Northwest College’s work in economic development.

“Bill would’ve been wholeheartedly behind this initiative,” NWC Foundation President Dick Nelson said. “The Prices specifically requested these monies be used toward encouraging new and existing local businesses and industries. We’re fortunate that Park County has an organization like the Northwest College Foundation to nurture and administer the wishes of community members in far-reaching ways like this.”

Bill and Joanne Price moved to Cody in 1988 after he concluded a long career at Gibsonburg Lime Products in Ohio. Price was named president in 1963 and continued in this leadership role even after selling the family-owned business to Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company.

It’s anticipated the funding from the Price endowment will be used in some manner to help create and staff an economic development group in Powell.

Shelby Wetzel, the NWC Foundation’s executive director, said that without the foresight of the Prices, this contribution to the Powell community would not be possible.

“Gifts made to the NWC Foundation are used exclusively to meet the intent of the donors,” Wetzel said. “Generally, they’re directed to support scholarships, technology, new programming, sometimes building projects and a variety of other purposes. We could never redirect them to a community-wide initiative like this unless we have direction from the donor.”

Wetzel said, “It speaks to the special sense of community we enjoy here that the circle of gifting has come fully around like this. The NWC Foundation is able to make this contribution on behalf of the college for the greater good of the Powell area only because of the community’s tremendous support over the years for Northwest College through the foundation. Now the college can give back to the community in this very important way.”

Wetzel noted that Northwest can’t succeed unless the larger Powell community is healthy and thriving. The community, in turn, depends on a growing and robust college for much of its cultural and economic success.

Because of this symbiotic relationship, two key college employees are actively involved in the economic development group’s steering committee. NWC President Paul Prestwich and Kay Dooley, the college’s training and development program manager, were instrumental in bringing the funding proposal to the foundation for consideration.

In addition to the $60,000 total contribution, the college will likely continue to provide support for Powell’s economic development efforts through ongoing programming, and community outreach efforts and other in-kind donations.