Mason City has created the Mason City Cemetery Foundation and is now looking to the community for support. According to a letter from the foundation, several former and current Mason City residents recently discussed the future of the Mason City Cemetery and conceived of establishing the Mason City Cemetery Foundation to support its long-term upkeep.
At a recent burial of his mother, Joan Cox, Ron Cox began to wonder who would be caring for the cemetery 50-70 years down the road. The Cemetery saw many visitors over Memorial Day Weekend and many people commented on how nice it looked. The grass was carefully trimmed and many graves were decorated with colorful bouquets.
Mason City has shrunk over the past decades and may continue to do so and, if so, the tax base also shrinks while the cost of labor tends to increase. Currently, the funding from the taxes covers the cost of labor for mowing, but not general maintenance or improvements. This has raised the question about how improvements can be made and to continue to keep the cemetery in great condition.
The Foundation would invest its donations in an account at the Custer County Foundation (CCF) in Broken Bow, which would be responsible for managing the funds. Ansley and Oconto have created foundations to aid their cemeteries through the Custer County Foundation. The principal of this foundation would be invested with the total of the CCF funds and they would manage the funds.
Over the past five years, CCF received a 13% annual return on investment and they charge each client foundation 1.5% to cover their operating expenses. All funds donated to the Mason City Cemetery Foundation are tax deductible, and they will create an endowment that can support the cemetery for future decades. The Mason City Foundation expects donations to remain in the Foundation’s endowment over time, and that the interest on these donations would cover the Cemetery’s future costs beyond those funded through Mason City taxes.
Donations can be sent to Jill Rohde, with checks written out to the “Mason City Cemetery Foundation,” and mailed to 159 Main St, Mason City, NE 68855.
The Foundation Board is independent from the existing Cemetery Board, and seeks to raise donations to support ongoing funding of Cemetery improvements and maintenance.
For those with any questions or concerns, please contact Jill Rohde (308) 212-0158, Chuck Mason (402) 366-4408, or Ron Cox (773) 791-3590.