Please join us as we say THANK YOU to Beth Prestegaard for her time and service on the DeKalb County Community Foundation Board of Directors.
Beth served on the Community Foundation Board from 2012-2020. Representing Waterman, she had this to say about her community, “I have spent time in Waterman my entire life as my Dad’s family is from here. We love it so much! We moved here after college where we raised our 2 daughters. I commuted east for 15 years and never considered moving since I wanted my daughters to live and grow up in a small community like I did. I always felt like we had the best of both worlds. I love the rich history and the small, caring, generous, and safe community. There are great connections that come with a small community. Oftentimes you see many of the same leaders from your community because you’re related to them or you serve on a committee with them. There is nothing quite like taking a drive up Elm Street in October. The leaves are absolutely gorgeous! The noon whistle and subsequent church bells add to Waterman’s character.”
During her nine years of service, Beth served on a variety of Foundation committees including Community Engagement, Community Grants, Executive, Kindergarten Readiness, Land Use, Marketing & Development, and Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP).
When asked about to share details on a favorite committee she served on, Beth came back with, “It’s a tie between YEP and Community Engagement.” She went on to explain that, “My role with YEP began as a Board Advisor for meetings. Since YEP is meant for all high school students in DeKalb County, my goal at first was to recruit students from the high school I went to, Indian Creek High School. It took a couple of tries, but there is now a consistent and great representation there. A favorite time was when I went with a small group of YEP members to a youth leadership conference in Michigan. I hope they gained as much from me as I did from them!”
Another of her favorite committees was Community Engagement. She explained, “Part of the focus of this committee is Kindergarten Readiness. This is something very near and dear to me. Over the years it has evolved in scope and breadth and now includes a diverse group of countywide stakeholders including frontline kindergarten and pre-school teachers. We are thrilled to have launched Basics DeKalb County and to be a leader in our state. This is no short term collaborative or easy fix to this. It’s a movement that is going to take years. I am pleased to continue this work in the future.”
When serving with any organization for nine years, you slowly become a part of the mission and take with you many impactful and insightful moments. A few of Beth’s takeaways include the realization that even though Board members come from different communities with different perspectives, they all share a common responsibility and mission for DeKalb County. Some favorite memories include volunteering at community events during the Foundation’s 25th anniversary year, her many fun and engaging moments with the high school members of YEP, and the amazing friendships she built with fellow Board members and staff.
In a final question, we asked Beth to share any advice she might have for new and future Board members. “Keep your community and county in mind in everything you do,” she said. “Serving as a Board member is not for the faint of heart, but for someone who wants to give their talent, time and treasure. In return you will receive enhanced skills of understanding, community, empathy, and enrichment. Since the Foundation has many roles and areas or service, take time to ask questions and read everything as you prepare for meetings. Take pride in your role on the Board and make sure everyone you know, understands what you are doing for the community and why. I believe giving back to your community is something everyone should play a part in. Explore your charitable interests and support them in any way you can. My husband and I created a Fund when we got married in 2019. Instead of wedding gifts, we asked guests to make a donation to the DB Paying It Forward Fund. This Fund allows us to support our charitable interests in the community. ‘Grow where you were planted’ a wise woman once said.”
Thank you Beth Prestegaard for giving of your time, talent, treasure, and ties to DeKalb County. Your nine-year commitment and pursuit of making positive change is greatly appreciated. You are a true philanthropist and for that, we are grateful!