Thanking the Baums
School, community come together to express appreciation for the family's generosity over the years
Hastings Area Schools will host an open house Monday to thank Larry and Earlene Baum for their continuing support of the district. The reception will take place from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the Hastings Middle School Commons, 232 W. Grand St., Hastings.
For many years, the Baums have picked up the tab for Hastings athletes, ensuring that students do not have to pay to play middle school and high school sports. At $60,000 to $70,000 each year for the past 14 years, that ongoing contribution amounts to about $900,000.
The family has contributed more than $1 million for the football stadium and artificial turf, bleachers, fieldhouse, entryway and allowed for recent improvements at the stadium. Theater and music programs have benefited; most recently with the addition of a $100,000 Steinway grand piano at the Performing Arts Center. The culinary arts program is another benefactor.
In the community, the Baums and their family foundation have provided a dialysis treatment center and incoming surgical center at Spectrum Health Pennock.
The City of Hastings has been the recipient of the Thornapple Plaza downtown. The outdoor concert venue can seat 700, and the Baum Family Foundation continues to support summer concerts and enable improvements, such as a laser light system and a movie screen.
A financial infusion from the Baum family sparked residential development in downtown Hastings. And a new building at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners has enhanced the GarageWorks program for area students.
The school district is hosting the open house, but school officials invite others from the community to stop in and show their appreciation.