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Martin Ryan and Richard Sterbenz Bequeath $4 Million to fund scholarships

Marty Ryan (1947 -2010) and Richard Sterbenz (1943- 2016), who resided in Somerset, are remembered for their huge hearts and unique business styles. Following a $4 million bequest, high school students throughout the St. Croix Valley will also remember Ryan and Sterbenz for their wonderful generosity. Through this bequest and their clear philanthropic wishes, the Sterbenz-Ryan Scholarship Fund was recently established at the Hudson Community Foundation, an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation (SCVF).

Ryan and Sterbenz were born in the early 1940's. They grew up in very poor and tough circumstances in Chicago. While they were smart men, both performed poorly in school; Ryan barely graduated from high school, and Sterbenz never did. They eventually moved to Wisconsin where they established Dalson Foods, a global meat-trading business and Richmar Industries; they also owned and operated other businesses including MR Convenience, Rich's Eatery and various real estate developments.

Their past experiences and financial success led them to imagine this scholarship fund to "give kids like them a shot at life that they never had."

The Sterbenz-Ryan Scholarship will be offered to students at over 40 high schools throughout the SCVF's six-county service area. The $1,500 scholarships will be awarded annually to approximately 100 new and returning students attending a two or four-year college or technical college. Because it is an endowed fund, this scholarship will be offered annually — forever. The SCVF recognizes that this scholarship fund will not only provide educational opportunities to thousands of worthy students, but it will also help build and employ a skilled workforce for our valley communities.

Heather Logelin, President of the St. Croix Valley commented, "The Sterbenz-Ryan Scholarship Endowed Fund is truly transformative; Marty and Rich's life stories will surely resonate with students throughout the region as they consider their educational and career opportunities. On behalf of the St. Croix Valley Foundation, and our ten Affiliates, we thank Marty and Rich for their foresight and generosity."

The St. Croix Valley Foundation is a regional philanthropic organization established in 1996. It serves the region through ten local affiliated foundations in Prescott, River Falls, Hudson, Somerset, New Richmond, Amery, and the Northwest Alliance in Wisconsin; and in the Lower St. Croix Valley, Stillwater and the Chisago Lakes Area in Minnesota. The SCVF and its Affiliates help donors improve valley communities by matching their philanthropic interests with area need - placing funding in the most capable hands at the right time, in perpetuity.