Working Towards a Brighter Future

Crowd Cheering


A Bit of Background

Here at Rugby First, we know that sometimes all it takes to make a change is a little support. We're working hard to bring opportunity and amenities to the citizens of Rugby and our region. 

We organized as a recognized 501(c)3 non profit organization in 2019 with the goal of planning, organizing, fundraising, and eventually building a mixed use community center in Rugby. We're happy to say that we've found a generous donor who donated land to jump start our efforts and help defray the cost of starting up a venture as large at this. 

In 2019 and beyond we will be planning, organizing, and fundraising to develop this area of land.  We'll be reaching out to area groups, organizations, nonprofits, churches, sports clubs, and any other group(s) or individuals that may be interested in helping plan or use this facility. 

President: Brad Wangler

Vice President: Kyle Nelson

Secretary: Jeff Duchscher

Treasurer: Stephanie Steinke



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With a project like this there are a lot of questions. We'll try to answer your most common ones here. 

1. What is a 501c3?  Being "501(c)(3)" means that a particular nonprofit organization has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization. It means that we can take your donation and you can claim a charitable deduction on your tax return. Consult with your tax adviser on particular aspects of any individual donation. 

2. Why does Rugby need a community center?   Small towns have struggled to gain and retain workers of all ages, but especially young families. The pull of the city and the ease of the highway corridor makes it all too easy to get out of town, meaning that small towns miss out on sales tax revenue when families seek entertainment and amenities out of town or when people choose to just live in a town with amenities and entertainment. 

3. Where are you going to put this anyway?  Rugby First was lucky enough to receive a transformational gift from Gary and Helen Laughridge. The Laughridge's have donated land in the past for the walking path and other projects in town. They believe in the project and the good it could do for town and our region for citizens of all ages. Gary also saw other towns like Stanley, Maddock, and Watford City doing these things and wondered, why not us? The biggest hurdle to a new project is acquiring land, and we are extremely grateful that this hurdle is behind us. 

4. You guys know one building or community center won't fix the problem of rural development and employee retention.      We know! But it can't hurt to invest in our community and ourselves. This project may spur someone else's idea or development, may create its own jobs, or may become part of a broader initiative to work toward rural development. 

5. We already have community buildings. Just use those. We don't need anything new.   True, there are numerous community buildings in Rugby. However, many of those are owned by the city and are in need of serious updates. The city will have to spend taxpayer dollars to update those and decide how and when they want to do that. Other buildings are owned by the county and have issues with accessibility, steps, and size. Many of these buildings have busy schedules already as they are used for sports and other events. We think we need these existing community buildings, and we imagine a new space that has other functions year round. 

6. We're a retirement community. We can't, and shouldn't, invest in something like this since our population doesn't need it. Rugby and Pierce County do have a large aging community. However, it also has a large community of young families and entrepreneurs who have made their homes here in the last decade. A resilient community builds for all segments of their population, present and future. We also intend the community center to have things that can used by all ages, not just young people. 

7. How much of my tax dollars are you going to try to take?  Right now we are seeking no tax money and are in the early . We hope to build this center with donations, grants, and in-kind labor. Tax dollars would have to be allocated by a vote of the city or county, or by a vote of the people. You will know beforehand when and if, we ever request tax payer money, and you will have a chance to voice your opinion. 

8. Ok, so what's in it? At this time we are in the preplanning stages. We have to conduct some studies on the land and with our community to determine the best way forward. 

9. I have a community group, church, or family that might want to use this space.  Of course! Our vision is a space that is open to anyone for use in the community. We would love to have conversations with any community group that would like to have input on any future space so that we can plan accordingly. 

10. I have an idea for a business or amenity that I think Rugby should have, could it be included here?  Possibly, get in touch and we'll discuss if your idea could be a good fit for this space.

11. Ok I'm in. When do we build!?  Building is years away. We have to get through some planning, studies, and fundraising before we can get to the work of building.  

12. I'd like to donate something to the cause.   Great!  You can mail it to us at P.O. Box 231, Rugby, ND 58368. Or you can use the Contact Us form to get in touch and we can arrange a meeting to discuss your donation more.