By Liz Shepherd
WINONA LAKE — Suzie Light, former Kosciusko County Community Foundation executive director and CEO, was recognized for her 27 years of service to the community at a retirement party held Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Dozens attended the party in Winona Heritage Room to give Light their best wishes; video messages from local community members to Light were also played during the ceremony.
The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of a bronze relief sculpture created in Light’s honor. KCCF’s Board of Directors commissioned the sculpture from Indiana artist Steve Shelby. Light is a lover of the art, particularly artwork intended for public display. The piece is titled “Lighting the Way” and is described in a plaque as celebrating Light’s extraordinary contributions to the community and her intrinsic ability to unleash the power of philanthropy.
A ceremony will be held in a few weeks for the “Lighting the Way” sculpture, which will be mounted outside of the KCCF offices. Light was also given a miniature version of the sculpture as a brooch.
“Her accomplishments are impressive, but more exceptional than her accomplishments is her ability to connect to people, whether that’s a donor of $1 million or a student who has received a scholarship award,” said KCCF Board President Sally Mahnken.
In August 1993, Light joined KCCF as the assistant director and was promoted to executive director in January 1995. Under Light’s leadership, the Community Foundation’s assets grew from $400,000 to over $60 million. The Community Foundation now awards more than $3 million in grants annually, which is almost eight times greater than the total asset size of the foundation when she started.
Light stepped down from her position on March 1, and acted as CEO mentor for Stephanie Overbey, who was named as Light’s successor. Light retired on June 30 of this year.
“It’s been my pleasure and privilege to serve under Suzie’s leadership for 20 years,” said Overbey. “Thank you for all that you have taught me about philanthropy, service and leadership. I am forever grateful to now serve in this position that you have led so well and I hope to make you proud.”
“This is a great community and you all make it that way,” said Light to the crowd. “Thank you all so much.”