Trees For Tomorrow (TFT), an environmental education center in Eagle River, raised almost $140,000 during its “TFT4All” annual giving campaign at the end of 2021 thanks to more than 150 donors.

The focus of this fundraiser was to ensure that all people have access to a safe and positive learning experience at TFT, regardless of the ability to pay full tuition fees. Funds raised during this campaign will directly support the center’s education programs and will provide reduced program fees for more than 5,000 students in 2022.

“A key part of the success of this campaign was a matching gift of $12,000 provided by George Stepien, a long-time donor, volunteer and program alumni,” said Trees For Tomorrow Executive Director Cheryl Todea. “For decades, Stepien and his late wife, Eleanor, participated in many TFT programs as volunteers on many occasions. The lobby in the TFT Education Hall was dedicated to the Stepiens in 2017 and to this day, George carries a student thank-you letter with him to remind him of the importance and impact of supporting environmental education to students.”

In addition to Stepien’s matching gift, donations came from alumni, volunteers, local businesses, foundations, sponsors, and other supporters in the amount of $10 up to $50,000. Todea reflected on the campaign, stating that “Every single donation that came in November and December helped us exceed our goal by seven-fold!”

The center’s largest donation in the amount of $50,000 came from the Forest Industry Safety and Training Association based out of Rhinelander.

Several other local organizations and businesses supported the campaign including Nelson’s Ace Hardware, The Hiker Box, Eagle River Light & Water Department, Klessig Tree Service, and IncredibleBank, all of Eagle River. In addition, A Wanna Services Inc., Walmart, and Bikes-N-Boards of Rhinelander, along with Zelazoski Wood Products Inc. in Antigo contributed to the TFT4All campaign.

More than 100 individuals also supported the fundraiser including several Trees For Tomorrow alumni from its almost 80-year legacy of providing quality nature and outdoor recreation activities in the North Woods, Todea added.

Trees For Tomorrow is an accredited nonprofit environmental education center that operates year-round and relies on donations, program fees, and volunteers to help meet its mission of teaching the science of nature to students of all ages.

To give a donation, learn more about the programs, or to explore volunteer opportunities with the center, visit treesfortomorrow.com or call (715) 479-6456. The campus includes national forest property under permit from the USDA Forest Service.