Try pie apples web

A Sweet Connection

July 6, 2018

Gary and Becky Bertch are known for their generosity. As owners of Bertch Cabinets in Waterloo, the couple has made national news by taking employees on week-long cruises to show their appreciation. So, it’s no surprise the family’s generosity extends to their community.

Each year, Gary and Becky, along with son, Eric, and daughter, Elizabeth, use the Gary, Rebecca, Eric, and Elizabeth Bertch Family Fund with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa to make an impact on local organizations.

In 2017, a perfect series of events happened that helped align the family’s entrepreneurial spirit with their grant decision.

Try Pie, a youth ministry program of Link Christian Community Development that uses employment as an opportunity to engage and equip young women for successful futures, was ready to expand its mission. To accomplish this, the young program decided to open a storefront in downtown Waterloo. The new storefront would support Try Pie’s ability to hire more teens and provide more transferable work experience through expanded hours, direct customer interaction, and student sense of ownership.

They reached out to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa to assist with the project through the establishment of a special project fund.

“The Community Foundation has a larger reach and handles administrative tasks like finance and some marketing. We don’t have the staff or capacity to handle all that on our own,” said Sarah Helleso, Try Pie co-director.

At the same time, the Bertch family was discussing grantmaking options with Community Foundation staff. When they heard Try Pie’s vision, the family knew it was a match. “This project fit our family. Our fund with the Foundation allowed us to help change the lives of these young women, and as business owners, we love this model of empowerment,” said Becky Bertch.

The grant from the Bertch’s met Try Pie’s special campaign goal for the physical storefront and now the organization can focus on their mission with additional funds raised going to support programming.

“We were, and still are, overwhelmed by their generosity,” said Megan Tensen, Try Pie codirector. “We feel encouraged that someone would buy into our vision and that people see the need for an organization like Try Pie. It was very affirming and we are so thankful.”