With the help of grants and many generous neighbors, Holy Wisdom Monastery is nearing its fundraising goal to cover the purchase cost of 52 acres.

Holy Wisdom’s December newsletter notes that the campaign broke the $1.4 million mark on its way to the $1.9 million goal.

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman, Holy Wisdom’s director of development, lists a number of grants received, including one from the Alliant Energy Foundation.

Articles in The Waunakee Tribune and other publications have also “inspired a few neighbors to drop by and learn more, as well as make contributions to support the project,” Sweitzer-Beckman said.

An Advent-to-Easter Challenge with the Sunday Assembly committee resulted in gifts totaling $101,868, as well, the newsletter notes.

The Benedictine sisters purchased the land just to the south of the Monastery at Hwy M. for prairie restoration and to protect Lake Mendota. With the Community of Bishop’s Bay housing development under way, it’s anticipated that 750 acres of homes to the north and west will eventually surround the monastery.

An anonymous donor contributed $1 million toward the purchase of the 52 acres to the south in September 2012. Holy Wisdom paid $1.7 million for the land. The cost of the prairie restoration is estimated at $200,000.

A local collector of prairie seed has come forth, donating 65 species of seed to help restore the prairie.

“This will greatly reduce the need for us to manually collect seed or spend resources purchasing needed native seed,” Sweitzer-Beckman noted in the newsletter.

More fundraisers are planned in 2014 to raise the remaining funds. Holy Wisdom Monastery’s Prairie Rhapsody concert on June 19 will feature Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, and all proceeds from the event will benefit the prairie project.

Other grants have come from American Printing Company, Bank of American Foundation, John C. Bock Foundation, Consulting for Non-profits, Herbert H. Kohl Charities, High Wind Association Foundation, Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, Middleton Community Endowment, Monona State Bank and US Fish & Wildlife.

The Town of Westport Board has indicated it will make a contribution as well, according to Tom Wilson, town administrator.

For more information about the capital campaign, visit benedictinewomen.org/ wisdom-prairieproject.

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