Mary Hesch: A Local Hero’s Journey of Giving

Nov 17, 2023 | News & Events

Mary Hesch’s story in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is not just about owning a business; it’s about her deep commitment to her community. Her extraordinary effort to walk 1,475 miles from Wisconsin to Texas was a powerful way to honor her mother and bring attention to Pulmonary Fibrosis, raising $40,000 for the cause.

A Significant Gift for Music Education

Mary didn’t stop there. This year, her Pay It Forward Fund donated $10,000 to the Stevens Point Area Public School District (SPAPSD) Music Program. This money will help buy more musical instruments for SPAPSD, making music education more accessible to band and orchestra students. Mary believes in the power of music and its ability to offer emotional healing and spiritual connection. She sees music as a universal language that can benefit young people throughout their lives.

“We would love to acquire more instruments for the district to be able to rent affordably to families with financial hardship. This incredibly generous donation will go a long way to help our students realize their musical talents, thereby elevating their learning in the broader school community. Mary Hesch has a heart for music and our students,” shared Kurt Van Tiem, the SPAPSD Instrumental Music Teacher and District Music Coordinator.

The Importance of Giving Tuesday

Mary has been deeply moved by acts of generosity during her walk for Pulmonary Fibrosis, especially a significant donation she received on Giving Tuesday. This experience showed her the power of this global day of giving, inspiring her to spread its importance far and wide. 

This commitment to giving back is a family tradition–Mary recalls her father instilling the practice of community reinvestment among her siblings. Annually, her family’s businesses have each contributed $10,000 to a pooled fund that went towards supporting important local causes. This practice of community support is a cornerstone of her family’s values. This year, the Mary Hesch Pay It Forward Fund continues the legacy her father and family started. 

Partnering with the Community Foundation

When it came to managing her charitable work, Mary chose the Community Foundation for its ease and strong community ties. Staff were able to provide the community insights and connections to help inform Mary’s giving decisions. Within a month of working together, the Community Foundation was able to turn Mary’s giving ideas into reality–and bring her into a network of other likeminded philanthropists at the Gala of Gratitude.

“I thought of creating my own foundation, but in my research, I found it to be a lot of work. Meanwhile, the Community Foundation website was informative and easy to navigate. I reached out to Jenny with an email on a Sunday. She replied first thing Monday morning. We met the very next day on Tuesday. That is impressive service, dedication and commitment!”

– Mary Hesch 

Looking Ahead

Mary’s goal is clear: to raise the profile of Giving Tuesday and encourage more people to give back. Her personal journey is a reminder of how much one person can achieve with dedication and a desire to help others.

Join Mary in her mission to make a difference. Whether it’s through adding your own contributions to the Mary Hesch Pay It Forward Fund, giving to another fund of your choice, or a simple act of kindness, we all have the power to contribute positively to our communities.

For more information on how you can get involved, get in touch with us at or 715-342-4454. Let’s work together to expand the compassion, connection, and commitment of our community. 

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