$1.5 million donated to Bayfield-area nonprofits

The Mary H. Rice Foundation entrusts AICB Community Funds to carry out philanthropic legacy

BAYFIELD—The Mary H. Rice Foundation today announced a $1.5 million gift to the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay Area Community Funds to be used for nonprofit work that will enhance the lives of people in the region.

It is the final grant from the Mary H. Rice Foundation made in honor and celebration of the late Mary Rice, longtime local businesswoman and community benefactor. The $1.5 million will be used to establish the Mary H. Rice Community Funds intended to extend Mary’s generous spirit and love for her community into the future.

The Mary H. Rice Community Funds will be made up of three funds associated with the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay Area Community Funds, affiliates of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. The gift will support nonprofit work serving residents in Ashland and Bayfield Counties, including the Gaa-Miskwaabikaang/Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Mashkiiziibii/Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“We are grateful to the Mary H. Rice Foundation, and especially Mary’s daughters, Katherine and Molly, who suggested the contribution in honor of their mother’s indefatigable spirit and generosity,” said Jane Vogt, chair of the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay Area Community Funds and a board member of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. “Mary’s legacy will enhance our communities,

Mary Rice died in 2020 at age 80. She spent the last 40 years of her life starting and operating businesses and strengthening the communities of Bayfield and Madeline Island, as well as the surrounding region. She was known as the “Queen of Bayfield,” and two of her best-known businesses
were popular restaurants, Maggie’s in Bayfield and Wild Rice just south of Bayfield. She also was involved with Big Top Chautauqua, the Madeline Island Music Camp, CORE Community Resources,

Northland College and the Madeline Island Ferry Line.
“This legacy gift honors the sweeping impact of a legendary woman,” said Shaun Floerke, president and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. “These nonprofits do critical work building and sustaining community in the region that Mary Rice loved and where she dedicated so much of her life.”

Each of the three new funds created by the Mary H. Rice Foundation has a specific focus: The Mary H. Rice Designated Fund will provide modest annual operating support for seven select organizations in the region. These organizations will receive yearly grants to continue their work serving
youth, arts, culture and those in need.

“New Day Advocacy Center is fortunate to be closely connected with Mary H. Rice and her generous spirit, and we hope to continue our work together far into the future,” said Lyle Poppe, executive director of Ashland-based nonprofit, which provides shelter and services to survivors of family violence and sexual abuse. New Day is one of the seven that will receive annual funding.

The Mary H. Rice Community Innovation Fund is open to applications from nonprofits in the Bayfield and Apostle Islands area, starting in 2024. Fund guidelines are consistent with Rice’s spirit and love for community and are intended to benefit residents in the Chequamegon Bay area. The Mary H. Rice Scholarship Fund for Native Students supports students from six regional tribal nations as they pursue post-secondary education. Scholarships are for enrolled members of the Bad River, Red Cliff, Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage and Leech Lake bands. Entrusting the Mary H. Rice Foundation funds to local control is intentional. Daughters Katherine (Rice) Hayes and Molly Rice are proud to support their mother’s legacy and love of community by suggesting that the Mary H. Rice Foundation funds be gifted to Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay Area Community Funds.

“Those closest to the community recognize local needs and dreams, much as Mary Rice did over her 40 years living in Chequamegon Bay area,” Floerke said. “Our region and our country have been through a lot in the last two years. Mary’s legacy helped the community through it. Her example will continue to lead us and make us proud.”

To learn more about the fund and Rice’s legacy, and to give to the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay Area Community Funds visit dsacommunityfoundation.com/AICB.

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