Door County Living: 2019 Philanthropy Issue

“Upon the subject of education … I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Door County holds a special place in all of our hearts. We all love it here. We love it because of the art, the natural beauty and the history, but we also love it because of the people who inhabit this peninsula – our neighbors, our friends, our community – the people who find a way to collectively take care of each other and this place.

Each year our editorial staff assembles article and topic ideas for how we can best honor our philanthropic community: those who give of themselves to make our home, Door County, a better place.

This year we chose to focus on the people and organizations that educate our community. We tell the stories of those who have inspired our community to do better, to reach higher and to grow.

It is an honor to be surrounded by such generous people. It is also an honor to serve the Door County community. 

Thanks for reading.

David Eliot, Publisher

In this issue

  • Lori Vorpahl: 2018 Volunteer of the Year

    Lori Vorpahl insists that she receives much more than she gives while carrying out her many volunteer duties for several area organizations. Last April, Vorpahl was on the receiving end of one very special thing that she didn’t expect to get: the Volunteer of the Year honor at the Volunteer Center of Door County’s annual […]

  • Leading by Example: Therma-Tron-X

    In November of 2018 Sevastopol School District voters approved a $25 million referendum to reconstruct its aging facility to match one of the top-performing student bodies in the state. The leaders at Therma-Tron-X (TTX) went a step further.  The Sturgeon Bay manufacturing firm — which designs, fabricates and installs industrial custom paint finishing systems — […]

  • Literacy is Focus of Altrusa of Door County

    In all the hubbub of activity at the Dec. 21, 2018, dedication of the 41st Door County Habitat for Humanity home — with new homeowners Jacob and Amanda Purdy throwing open the doors of the new home to the media and the public — the five Purdy children seemed to shut out all the activity […]

  • Connecting and Supporting Our Schools: Alumni Door County

    More than 1,100 high school students are walking the halls of Door County’s schools this year. By the time the lilacs are blooming, about a quarter of them will be preparing to graduate and then begin postsecondary education, join the military or enter the job force. The county’s five districts — from north to south, […]

  • Open Door to Education

    Parochial Schools Run on Volunteers In November of 2018 Door County voters went to the polls and punched ballots with a stunning show of support for education. In referendums for programming and facilities at Southern Door, Sevastopol and Gibraltar, voters approved $46.8 million in referendums, a startling number in a county with just 28,000 residents. […]

  • Leading by Example: Brett and Katy Lecy

    Brett and Katy Lecy lead a daily life that most would consider bananas. As commercial airline pilots, they commute back and forth to Chicago every week, trading off being the at-home parent of three children. But the long drive affords them the lifestyle they want in Door County, a life they opted for instead of […]

  • With Greenhouse, Sturgeon Bay Students Dig Into Food Cycle

    A couple of generations ago, it wasn’t hard to teach Door County students where their food came from. After all, many of them worked on their family’s farm before they arrived at school each day. But as the number of farms on the peninsula has dwindled, so has that connection to the land. Two years […]

  • Mike and Carrol Toneys Give Back to Southern Door

    A perfect retirement: For some it’s a seat on the beach or knocking destinations off the bucket list. Maybe it’s finally building that dream house. But for Mike and Carrol Toneys of Nasewaupee, retirement opened a door to a greater legacy.  “We really needed to do something,” Mike said. “Our kids really got a good […]

  • Foundation Recognizes Students Come With Life

    Removing boundaries to education was the goal of the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Foundation (NWTC) when it was formed in 1970, and that worthy mission has only grown in the intervening years. “If we want more people to be able to graduate and work, financial barriers are the No. 1 reason why we lose them. […]

  • Lolly Ratajczak: Still Becoming

    Lolly Ratajczak’s love affair with Door County began like those of many others — with camping trips to Peninsula and Potawatomi State Parks in the 1950s. It was a modest start to a connection that would create tremendous impact for the community several decades later. In the 1980s, Lolly and her husband, Dave, bought property […]