Family, community and education have always been important to AriensCo, so it's no wonder that when Founder Henry Ariens' youngest son Francis created the Ariens Foundation, it would be built on these tenets. That focus has worked well for the foundation since its inception in 1967, and those involved with the organization see continued success, as it promotes improving the skill sets of area workers.
This year alone, the foundation has awarded 15 scholarships totaling US$17,000 and invested over US$3 million in local education, including US$1.2 million in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Brillion.
"Education and community have been the focus of our foundation for more than five decades," said Mary (Mimi) Ariens, who was the president of the foundation from 1999-2015. She would know, having lived in Brillion most her life and having been a member of the Brillion school board for over 15 years.
The Ariens Foundation provides financial assistance to young people who show a desire to continue their formal education. The foundation also provides financial support to local area schools that support and promote STEM education opportunities in Brillion-area communities along with support to children of all AriensCo employees.
High school students must be enrolled in their final year of high school to be eligible for scholarships; awards range from $500-$1,000. Institutional giving is determined by the merit of each opportunity, and funding levels are determined by the foundation's board.
According to AriensCo Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens, the focus on the community and skill set development is important to the company because it relies on local talent for its workforce. That's why the foundation's emphasis on STEM curriculum is so important—scholarship recipients are eligible to work summers or during the school year at AriensCo in tandem with their education. It's the perfect combination of education and hands-on training.
As the Ariens Foundation looks to the future of the organization and what's next, Mimi Ariens is excited about continuing to focus on its core pillars—family, community and education.
"The Ariens Foundation has helped a lot of people in a great community achieve great things," she said. "So, there's not much more to say about our future other than we want to do more of the same good work."