The Three Lakes Community Foundation fully supports the Forward Three Lakes initiative. In fact, we first made contact a few years ago with a University of Wisconsin Extension specialist to facilitate public discussions on community needs.

Then we learned of UW-Extension’s Design Wisconsin Team. They had won an award for efforts on behalf of Bailey’s Harbor.

We in Three Lakes are both proud of our community with its rich heritage and also seek resilience to ensure a bright future well into the future. There were some concerns including the health of our downtown and some businesses struggling. It was also noted that our schools of which we are very proud had seen declining enrollments. Some other issues, too. Then, we all were hit hard in early 2019 by fires destroying the iconic Oneida Village Inn and the Three Lakes Diner.

We succeeded in arranging for the Design Wisconsin Team to come to Three Lakes. The community formed both an Implementation Team and a Logistics Team. Then, several months later came Covid-19. As in most communities throughout our country, it hit us hard in many ways including economically. The emerging realization was that we wouldn’t be able to hold this transformative event, Forward Three Lakes, in person. Public gatherings would not be permitted. Both the public and the design team would be at risk.

The mutual decision between the community and the Design Wisconsin Team was to go virtual. It has been an amazing experience since then. For more details about Forward Three Lakes, please go to its website:


Our priority focus is to bring new philanthropy to Three Lakes…new donors, new ways, and with a personal touch. If you are an active supporter of one or more Three Lakes community organizations (see listing tab), please continue to do so. All have worthy missions. TLCF will be there for your something extra.

Our focus includes bringing all Three Lakes stakeholders into this initiative, regardless of residency.

We will not be acting as a United Way agency. We will not be doling out annual funds to support community organizations’ operating budgets. Instead we will be looking to support qualified projects which will have impact, broad usage, and will enhance the prospects for a viable, sustainable future for our Three Lakes community.


Jim, entering his fifth year on the board, was elected Board Chair, after serving as Vice Chair.

Along with his wife, Vicki, an artist, he spends summers in Three Lakes and winters in Florida. They and their two daughters have been coming to Three Lakes since 1982. His childhood love of the Northwoods of Michigan got redirected when he saw our chain of lakes on a map and had to take a family vacation to investigate.

Jim worked in Chicago in the employee benefits consulting and administration field and as bookends to that career he has worked domestically and overseas in international economic development activities. He has served on several non-profit boards and has been a volunteer ever since his Peace Corps days. 

If you see Jim or any other directors, don’t hesitate to ask for Foundation information and learn ways in which you can further help this Three Lakes community we all love.


We have a chicken and egg thing going. Which comes first, a tangible project which draws interest and donations or the donations which would allow for qualified project grants? For the near term we need to put emphasis on building our Current Fund and our Endowment Fund. However, we will also be looking for proposals to support a valuable project with a specifically named project fund. This may sound like chicken, egg, and cake. Yep!

What are we hearing from people? Below is a “Wish List” of ideas which people have expressed. What is your favorite one or two? What would you add to the list? What do you think will have impact? Be supportable? Have broad usage? Be sustainable? Will be lasting in value? Also, consider what a foundation should be doing rather than our Town government.


We hope to schedule Virtual Coffees in the new year. These will be hosted via Zoom and will provide an opportunity to provide a brief overview of the Foundation and corresponding discussion.


We are a startup, with all the work being voluntary. Your year-end response of support will be a huge help to keep us moving forward. And your support will be a great energy boost to those involved on the Board and teams. Please see the response item.


Broadband, both coverage and capability. Each year we increase our usage and needs. Three Lakes should measure its capabilities with what is available in the world’s largest cities. We are one world. This is critical for Three Lakes to compete economically, to be attractive especially to younger professionals, remote employees, and emerging businesses, as well as visitors and vacationers. This is one area where Three Lakes should aspire to be awesome.

Lodging, both for personal living and for hotel/motel space. Visitors have limited choices here, so some events do not even consider Three Lakes as a usable location.

Aging population

Projected school population decrease

Changing nature of tourism

Changing nature of how lake property owners use their property. For example, the improved road systems to get people up here also make it easier and quicker to get back. What is the impact of the back-and-forth syndrome? Is there something here to tap into?

Summer employment help shortage, especially for retailers.

Limited year-around local employment opportunities.

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Three Lakes Community Foundation
P.O. Box 231
Three Lakes, WI 54562