“Celebrate Home” was the theme for the past fiscal year for Kosciusko County Community Foundation and that theme continued at the conclusion of its 2014 Annual Celebration Luncheon today.
The event ended with a “Kiss Goodnight.” Each guest was asked to provide the board his/her opinion by finishing a sentence: “If I could suggest one thing that would make our home, Kosciusko County, a better place to live, work and play it would be …” to help board and staff make decisions in the coming year.
Guests were asked to choose one organization to support Home for animals or humans, using foundation funds. The list included Fellowship Missions, Habitat for Humanity, Animal Welfare League and Beaman Home.
Jerry Yeager, board president, provided the year in review: 6,000 persons attended the March 23 presentation Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor; $2.6 million in grants were awarded; 200 students received scholarships; nearly $190,000 in medical financial assistance was given; Kosciusko Endowment Youth Services recommended $23,000 in educational grants to help with reading proficiency; over $72,000 was awarded from the Kosciusko REMC Round-Up fund; and donors established 15 new funds. Assets for the foundation the past year reached close to $55 million.
Stephanie Overbey, associate director, reported on two community partners: Agricultural community and Lake Wawasee
The Ag Care fund, Overbey stated, was created to address areas the ag community wanted to make a difference in: feeding the needy, supporting local youth and ag education.
The focus for Lake Wawasee was in preserving and improving lake water quality and have arts and cultural opportunities on the lake. The Lake Wawasee Community Fund was added to existing funds. The foundation sponsored Chautaqua series at Oakwood.
Last year’s Kiss Good Night request focused on education. Dollars were awarded to Project Lead the Way.
An educational grant was also awarded to The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College and Purdue Cooperative Extension.
Suzie Light, executive director, highlighted the future. She took guests back to 1994 noting national and local happenings. But it was also in 1994 everyday people did extra ordinary things. She spoke about Donald and Mildred Frantz and the creation of their discretionary endowment fund and its achievements.
Light spoke of the foundation’s invitation to participate in the Lilly Endowment Inc., Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative or GIFT VI. Locally named “Bring It Home” campaign. The foundation has until March 31, 2016, to reach its $1 million fundraising goal to be matched by The Lilly Endowment.
Newly elected officers announced are: Jerry Yeager, president; Allison McSherry, vice president; Rob Parker, secretary; Steve Snyder, treasurer; Jerry Clevenger, finance investment chair and assistant treasurer; and Suzie Light, executive director.
Retiring board members Zoe Howard, Jim McFadden and Ron Manahan were recognized and presented plaques for their various work for the foundation. New members Dr. Bill Katip, Karen Nelson and Kay Young were introduced.
Professional advisors, members of the philanthropy round table, recognized included Jay Rigdon, Peggy Michael and Rick Morris.