Three local organizations receive donations from the “Al’s Musky Challenge” fundraiser

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:05 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - 2023 marks the fifth annual “Al’s Musky Challenge,” an event raising money to benefit organizations that support coulee region youths. It was quite a successful summer out on the water for Al Louis, a La Crosse Rotarian who’s made it a tradition to hop in his boat to give back to his community.

“Today we had a rotary meeting and one of the rotary fundraisers is ‘Al’s Musky Challenge’, where Al Louis goes out and fishes for Muskie and gets donations in order to provide donations to organizations that serve kids in our community,” says School District of La Crosse superintendent, Aaron Engel.

This year netted 86 fish and $120,000. Louis has given half of the money to 3 local organizations. The School District of La Crosse received $15,000.

“We received this grant in partnership with the lacrosse public education foundation. This money will go to ensure that students have access to field trips and don’t have to pay for that cost,” says Engel.

Hope Restores is another organization who received $15,000.

“It will go towards our girls group in our entrepreneurship program that we’re starting. So our girls staff meet everyone’s, say, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hope Restores. If there is a teen girl of color who needs any extra support, we always have that group open to them. We try to strive to do new experiences, giving the girls different opportunities that they haven’t had before and meeting new people. That’s what we’re going to do with some of the funds as well as with our entrepreneurship program,” says Black Student Leaders vice president, Mia Simone Davis.

The good fight community center received $30,000...Assistant director Amanda Worman Holmgaard says the money will help pay off bus debts.

“We have a transportation program for our kids. We this year we will give 882 rides. We pick up from three local schools and we drop kids off at home after our program every evening, Monday through Friday. So this money is going to be used to pay off the the loan on that bus. And any remaining money will go directly back into our programs that directly benefit the youth,” says Worman Holmgaard.

The other half of the $120,000 will go to an endowment fund at the La Crosse Community Foundation to benefit youth programs for years to come.

Louis had a record-setting year on the waters of Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota, catching a new personal record of 86 muskies, beating last year’s record of 54.