AKRON — Four school and community projects were awarded a total of $4,000 in funding at a Valley Hometown Fund grantmaking event held on March 21.
The Valley Hometown Fund was created by Tippecanoe Valley graduates with the mission of connecting alumni with their schools and hometowns in support of education and community development.
The fund is designed to collect donations and make grants for projects that specifically benefit the students and residents of the Tippecanoe Valley area.
“The whole idea behind this was not for there to be one more thing for the people who live in this community to be paying for, but instead, to give people like me who grew up in this community, love it and don’t live here anymore, one central way to give back,” said Ron Newlin, a 1976 Tippecanoe Valley High School graduate who now lives in Indianapolis.
A request for grant applications was sent out in early January with a March 1 deadline to apply. Groups or organizations charitable in nature were encouraged to apply for a grant.
The Valley Hometown Fund Advisory Board then selected four of the organizations that applied to present their request for funding at the grantmaking event.
After the presentations, alumni in attendance were divided into four groups to decide how much money would be granted to each organization. Each group of alumni had $900 to divide between the projects. One hundred dollars in funding was guaranteed to each organization that presented.
Graduates of Tippecanoe Valley High School, or any of the high schools that preceded it – Akron, Beaver Dam, Burket, Mentone or Talma were invited to be involved in the grantmaking process.
“We hope to make similar grant funding available every year and encourage people to consider applying again next year. This year we simply had more grant applications than funds available for granting,” said Superintendent Brett Boggs.
The Valley Hometown Fund Advisory Board hopes to make the grantmaking event an annual tradition. In previous years, the fund has granted money for events such as Prill School Pioneer Day and the TVHS Special Needs Prom.
“Our hope is to grow this fund in the future so it can become an endowment fund,” said Brian Johnson, director of development for the Fulton County Community Foundation.
All donations made to the Valley Hometown Fund are tax deductible and are made securely through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation.
This year’s recipients of Valley Hometown Fund grants were:
• A group from the Fulton County Leadership Academy was awarded $1,025 in support of their project to build a picnic shelter at Akron’s Cutshall Park
• Akron Fourth Grade Teacher Chris Rassi was awarded $650 to purchase graphic novels for his classroom
• Tippecanoe Valley High School’s T’s Boutique was awarded $950 to purchase a closet organizing system, rolling garment racks, bi-fold doors with mirrors for a changing area, a garment steamer, and an area rug
• The Jack & Jill Preschool was awarded $1,375 to purchase furniture for their new classroom at the Burket Educational Center.