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Butler County nonprofit receives $3.5M gift, its largest ever

The Open Space Preservation Fund has been established at the Oxford Community Foundation with a gift of $3.5 million. The gift was received though a trust established by Dr. Kenneth M. Buerk, who died in January. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Open Space Preservation Fund has been established at the Oxford Community Foundation with a gift of $3.5 million. The gift was received though a trust established by Dr. Kenneth M. Buerk, who died in January. SUBMITTED PHOTO

In the last 24 years, the Oxford Community Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships and community grants.

The foundation has announced it has received its largest grant in its history that nearly matches what it has awarded since it was established.

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The Open Space Preservation Fund has been established at the foundation with a gift of $3.5 million. The gift was received though a trust established by Dr. Kenneth M. Buerk, who died in January, according to Betsy Hope, executive director of the foundation.

Dr. Buerk had a passion to preserve local agricultural land, water resources and sensitive ecosystems, said his sister-in-law Dr. Ellen P. Buerk.

He had planned the gift with his attorney and Oxford Community Foundation officials in 2011 and wished it to remain anonymous until his passing, Hope said.

She said the fund will support the Three Valley Conservation Trust (T.V.C.T.) and/or other nonprofit organizations with similar goals. These include promoting responsible development while preventing the loss of prime farmland, water resources, and sensitive ecosystems; leading by building partnerships with landowners and local communities that respect property rights and agricultural conservation values; providing tools to help landowners retain control of their land and preserve the rich farm and rural heritage and economy the Oxford region, and negotiating land conservation agreements, she said.

Hope said the fund is not to be used for the purchase of land.

“To keep the beauty of our area intact and safe from excess development is truly a gift to us all,” Hope said.

For more information on the Oxford Community Foundation, go to oxfordfdn.org or call 513-523-0623.