LEFT: Tom McColley and Anne moved away from Hot Springs in 1991. This photo of the two of them was taken in 2000 when they lived in Colorado.
RIGHT: During a presentation held at the Mueller Civic Center last month, members of the McColley Vision Fund awarded checks to representatives of the Hot Springs Ministerial Association and The Scout Center. In the photo on top right, John Pence (The Scout Center Board President) accepts their check. Pictured on bottom right is JR Huddleston (McColley’s Vision Fund Representative), David Cook (VP HSMA), Dustin Kleinsasser (McColley’s Vision Fund President), Kay Birkholt (Manager, HSMA Food Pantry).
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – For nearly 40 years, Tom and Anne McColley called Hot Springs, South Dakota, their home.
And now thanks to their love of the community, the Hot Springs Ministerial Association (HSMA) and The Scout Center will be able to achieve some of their financial goals, which may not have been possible previously. The two organizations were recently awarded the first-ever grants from the Tom E. and Anne McColley Vision Fund for Hot Springs.
During the McColley’s time in Hot Springs, from 1953 to 1991, the couple raised three daughters and a son and were also a significant part of the business community – most notably as owner/operators of numerous business ventures which are still thriving today, including McColley’s Funeral Home (now Chamberlain McColley’s), the Century House (now Evans Apartments) and the Inn by the River motel (now America’s Best Value Inn by the River).
The couple retired and moved to Arvada, Colo., in 1991 and then spent the next 15 years traveling the world while visiting all seven continents. In 2008, Anne passed away at the age of 63.
In 2011, Tom moved into a retirement home in Denver but later purchased a condo in Brighton, Mich., in 2017, where he still lives today with his daughter Mitzi. The two of them live about 15 minutes from Tom’s son Tom A. and his wife Cindy. The McColley’s other children include Pamela Hewitt and her husband Lawrence who currently reside west of Hot Springs, and the youngest daughter Lesley who lives with her husband Nick near Denver, Colo.
In order to give back to the community that his family still calls home, Tom created the McColley Vision Fund for Hot Springs with the goal of providing grants to help fund projects in that would normally not been funded through city-budgeted efforts.
“Many persons made their income in Hot Springs and at retirement moved away to spend it. That’s what we did,” stated Tom during a 2021 interview, when he was 95 years old. “Now, I want to give some back to Hot Springs in a manner that will help future generations. This is possible with donations through the perpetual trust of South Dakota Community Foundation, specifically for the city of Hot Springs.”
Beth Massa with the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) said the McColley Vision Fund for Hot Springs had its beginnings a few years ago when Tom first posed his ideas for it to the City of Hot Springs and the Foundation. It was then established in 2020 as a perpetual fund, which means it will never go away and is guaranteed to last forever with the requirement that only 4.5 percent of the balance can be awarded annually for grants.
In that regard, Massa said the fund is similar to the First Interstate Fall River Area Foundation, which SDCF also manages and helps distribute grant monies to area non-profits, but is different from many of the funds her organization manages due to how the money is awarded.
“The distribution goes to the City of Hot Springs, and from what I understand, will have its own line item in their budget,” said Massa, who then explained that a volunteer board – separate from the government entity – will make the decision in how the funds are spent.
After an application process which wrapped up earlier this year, the board of the McColley Vision Fund – whose members were appointed by the City of Hot Springs – awarded $2,000 to The Scout Center and also $1,060 to the HSMA.
According to Dustin Kleinsasser, one of the Vision Fund board members, The Scout Center Board is in the process of completing much needed renovations to the Scout Center Building. Some of the items that are being repaired are HVAC, Electrical, Paint, Floors, Fire Panel, etc. The award from the McColley’s Vision Fund will be used to help complete these renovations. They want to make the Scout Center Building into a safe and inviting place to be used more as a community center for the surrounding area. Many different organizations could utilize this new community center; such as The Girl Scouts, The Cub Scouts, Local Elks Lodge #380, and other community clubs and groups as an affordable option for meetings. The Scout Center organization’s primary focus is on children and veterans – ensuring they have a safe alcohol-free zone to meet.
Kleinsasser said the HSMA recently purchased the Food Pantry building and has a vision to expand services and outreach in the community. Their first initiative would be to purchase and install two computers in an existing conference room to enable individuals to apply for jobs and access state and federal benefit websites. The award from the McColley’s Vision Fund will help assist with this purchase.