Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial
The first grants from the Bill Stroecker Foundation mark the start of what should be a long-lasting legacy by the late Fairbanks banker, business leader and sportsman.
Stroecker, who died in 2010 at 90, loved Fairbanks and wanted to see it prosper. He was not a man given to ostentation or extravagance. He walked to work every day.
He was a conservative in politics, as well as in business and personal finance. Stroecker was also a talented musician and outdoorsman who played a major part in the development of Fairbanks.
Over the years, he made it a habit to support local charities of all kinds.
He took steps before his death to provide continued assistance to groups that worked to improve life in Fairbanks, some providing help to the needy and others enriching the cultural life of the community.
He listed about 50 groups in his will, ranging from the Salvation Army and the Fairbanks Arts Association to the Boy Scouts and the Alaska Goldpanners. Most of the groups he named are based in Fairbanks.
Through his generosity, Stroecker has created an enduring legacy for the town he called home. It is up to the trustees he named to administer the foundation to see to it that the maximum benefit goes to the groups and others like them that Stroecker supported.
The Stroecker Foundation plans an interim distribution of $1 million, with about half of that amount to be provided to dozens of charities before the end of the year.
A public acknowledgment and display recognizing Stroecker’s generosity and commitment to Fairbanks is in order.
We’re not sure what form it should take, but here’s an idea: Set aside museum space to create a a display of his large collection of Alaskana, his collection of old currency and other artifacts in an environment that will showcase Fairbanks history and recognize Bill Stroecker’s place in it.