|Dr. Ira R. Kauffman
Practiced in State Center from 1901-1932
|Photo courtesy of State Center Historical Society.|
Dr. Kauffman moved to California in 1935 where he died in 1953. At that time, an article appeared in the local newspaper announcing Dr. Kauffman’s intention of not forgetting the town where he had earned his living and had made a difference in the lives of so many families. His will left a life estate to his wife and to his daughter, and upon their deaths, the estate would become the property of State Center. In 1991, State Center inherited $975,646. His will suggested establishment of a city park. As State Center already had a park, and because there was a clause in the will with an alternative, the city fathers and interested citizens met to begin discussion of what could be done with this gift.
Approval was given for the first money to be used in 1993 for playground equipment at both the City Park and the West Marshall Elementary School grounds. A large number of volunteers turned out to put this equipment together and to put it into place. The playground at the school is named after Dr. Kauffman and is still in use, as is the equipment at the City Park.
In 1997, the Kauffman Trust was established. Under this Trust, any State Center non-profit entity can apply for the annual grants. Monies from the Trust cannot be used for any of the City of State Center projects that are the normal responsibility of city government and the tax payers. The income cannot be used to fund the day-to-day operating expenses of the City or for capital improvements for the City.
The State Center city council members and the Mayor serve as Trustees and they name a Selection Committee from community members representing a cross section of gender, age and backgrounds. These people can serve three 3-year terms. The Selection Committee consists of five residents plus the Mayor and one other Trustee. The Selection Committee has served since 1997.
Once the Selection Committee has recommended their choices, the Trustees give final approval. The Trustees have the right to deny the Selection Committee’s choice(s) with a 4-1 vote.
Since 1997 through 2006, $329,807.39 has been awarded. The money has gone for additional playground equipment at both the West Marshall Elementary School and City Park. Other playground equipment has been added to the Gutekunst Public Library grounds and Brookside Park, home of the State Center Little League. Among other benefactors are the West Marshall Schools, State Center Fire Fighters, EMT & Police Departments, Boy Scouts, Rose Garden, State Center Historical Society, American Legion, State Center Main Street and State Center Manor. All ages and walks of life have been represented.
The Trust is now worth over one million dollars ($1,000,000) and allows for growth, with the idea that the worth of the Trust will always keep up with inflation.
We all have to be very thankful for Dr. Kauffman’s generosity. Without this wonderful gift, there would be a number of things that would not have been done in State Center. Many more projects will be accomplished in the coming years, thanks to Dr. Kauffman.