Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund

For: William (Will) Kellerman
Madison, WI
Organizer: Craig J. (C.J.) Klaas
Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund (William (Will) Kellerman)
$182,878
of $250,000 goal.
Raised by 953 donors
73% Complete

The Story

Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund

"Because every kid needs an opportunity."


34 Purpose   

The Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund ("Opportunity 34") is intended to give kids a chance at furthering their education beyond high school. This scholarship seeks to help kids who, to this point in their life, maybe haven’t had the support system — relationships, financial or family support — that so many college-bound kids benefit from. Will Kellerman gravitated to kids like this. He wanted them to feel like they had a chance, like they were a part of a team. “Opportunity 34” gets its name from Will’s jersey number and his own opportunities. Tragically, Will passed away in a car accident on November 4, 2017, at the age of 21. But his purpose will live on.  


34 Process   

Students at Verona High School (boys or girls) who play basketball for at least one year are eligible for a financial scholarship. The school will administer a simple application process. Applicants will be evaluated by a team consisting of school coaches and administrators. Opportunity 34 will be managed by Klaas Financial Asset Advisors in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Will’s parents, Kristin & Brian Kellerman, will administer the fund allocation to scholarship recipients after being notified by the school.  


34 Perseverance   

Will’s perseverance was impressive, but it sometimes paled in comparison to the difficulties his friends and teammates were facing. His recognition of what others were dealing with became ingrained in his character. Our goal for Opportunity 34 is for it live on for many years to honor Will’s memory and his perseverance. This scholarship fund will be sustained long term by investing donations, then awarding the proceeds as financial scholarships. “Will never gave up.” That mentality drives Will’s parents now, and inspires this scholarship program for kids who need a lift. “He had opportunities,” Kristin said, “and every kid needs those opportunities.” In that way, Will has never really left the court.


Donations to the "Opportunity 34 Scholarship Fund" can be made online through the YouCaring website or by check. Checks can be made payable to Brian and/or Kristin Kellerman with "Opportunity 34" in the memo line and mailed to:  

566 East View Road, Verona, WI 53593


Story Links:

Channel 3000 News & Video: 

http://www.channel3000.com/news/family-launches-scholarship-in-honor-of-21-year-old-verona-man-killed-in-crash/652693638

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/traffic/2017/11/05/1-dead-after-rollover-crash-town-verona/833797001/

Verona Press:

http://www.unifiednewsgroup.com/grief-becomes-hope/article_cbb1270e-8505-5497-a69e-94c3e7e22588.html

Visitation and Service Details-Gunderson Funeral & Cremation Care:

http://www.gundersonfh.com/obituaries/William-J-Kellerman?obId=2697891#/obituaryInfo

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 29, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on December 29, 2017

The holiday season was a busy one for Opportunity 34.  

  • As a result of the truly unbelievable generosity and continued support by of people like you, we are working on the final details surrounding the first award of scholarship(s).  Stay tuned for the details to be announced after the New Year!
  • We have formally filed our application to the IRS for 501(3)c status and have formed a Board of Directors.  We should have notice of approval in 4 - 6 months.
  • Friday, January 19th is Opportunity 34 Night at the Verona Area High School basketball game vs. Beloit Memorial to honor Will and have some Will-inspired fun.  
  • Additionally, we have raised the fundraising goal to $250k to provide each scholarship recipient with funds not only for their first year of college, but potentially each year he/she is in good standing at their institution.
  • First and foremost, we are committed to kids in Verona.  We are also aware that Will's friendships knew no territories.  We would like to see the Opportunity 34 Foundation do the same.  

Since it's creation 2 months ago, Opportunity 34 has exceeded our expectations and has been a source of tremendous healing.  We intend to "pay it forward" as well as continue to fine-tune and shape the vision to give opportunities to as many kids as we can.Thank you again for your thoughts, prayers, and support.  Will is giving all of you a standing ovation.  


Posted on December 13, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on December 13, 2017

SAVE THE DATE : Opportunity 34 Night at Verona Area High School

Friday, January 19th at 7:30pm during the Verona vs Beloit Memorial boys basketball game.

Festivities in the works:

  • Three-Point Contest during half-time
    • $1 shot 
    • Matching donation for 3-pointers made
    • "Style Points" for best rainbow arc.
  • Make It Rain t-shirts on sale for $10
  • Post-game reception at a local establishment
  • 50% of game ticket proceeds to be donated to Opportunity 34

We thank VAHS, the Athletic Department and the Wildcat basketball program for their generosity and efforts to help raise awareness of Opportunity 34 and Will Kellerman.  

It is our hope that we can award multiple scholarships to students not only for the 1st year, but for each year they are in good standing at a 2 or 4 year college.





Posted on November 18, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on November 18, 2017

Kristin and Brian Kellerman are deeply moved and humbled by the outpouring of support as they begin the grief process over the loss of their son Will.  Tears of gratitude have flowed many times this week and they know there is no way they can adequately express their thanks.

Because of your generosity, the initial $75k dream was reached in less than a week.  Today, the fund shot past $100k in a manner reminiscent of Will’s rainbow 3-pointer.  

Given the size of the scholarship fund and it’s potential, Kristin and Brian are now working behind the scenes to make this a living legacy by establishing the Opportunity 34 Foundation. They will be meeting with established legal, tax and investment professionals; all who have offered their services pro bono.  They look forward to updating you on their progress.

An idea that was born from the depths of their despair has blossomed into something you gave life to.  

Every kid needs an opportunity.  

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