Starke County Community Foundation

Starke, Fulton and Miami County Community Foundations comprise the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, Inc. This arrangement allows us to do more for our individual counties by being more cost effective, as well as getting a greater return on our investments. Collectively the counties hold assets in excess of 31 million dollars, and have distributed over 18 million dollars via grants and scholarships since inception.  

The NICF is the legal entity through which each of the counties' Community Foundations operates. Each of the three counties sends representatives to serve on the NICF board and finance committee.

2016 NICF Board of Directors
President: Jennifer Gappa, Starke 
Vice President: Evan Gottschalk, Fulton 
Secretary: Judy Climie, Fulton
Treasurer: Gene Miles, Miami

Starke County Representatives:   Suzy Bishop, Jennifer Gappa, Brad Lawrence, Gene Ladd, Cheryl Orkis

Fulton County Representatives:   Judy Climie, Larry Cunningham, Jeff Finke, Evan Gottschalk, Kirk Robinson

Miami County Representatives:   Dick Hammond, Tom McKaig, Gene Miles, Marcia Minard, Jim Yates

Like many of the Community Foundations of Indiana, ours were made possible by Lilly Endowment, Inc.'s GIFT (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) Initiative. Currently Lilly Endowment, Inc. is no longer offering matching grants to the communities. Instead, they have begun a new initiative that challenges the Community Foundations throughout the state to raise funds for sustainability. The Sustained Resource Development Initiative has inspired Community Foundations to seek funding for their own operating endowments—thus allowing them to maintain a local presence and to continue to serve their communities.

While the Community Foundations were created through matching grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc. we are not an affiliate of that organization.

Starke County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Finalists

posted Oct 14, 2017, 9:49 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Daniel Darda
Elizabeth McEntee

Business management, animation, and biology are just a few of the challenging academic paths this year’s five Lilly Scholarship finalists plan to pursue upon graduation.

The five finalists were chosen from a field of twenty-nine applicants. Applicants must live in Starke County and attend a public Indiana High School. Of the finalists, one will be chosen as the 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar for Starke County.

Congratulations to these outstanding students on this great achievement:

  • Daniel Darda, son of Daniel and Laura Darda, is a Knox High School student who plans to study animation.
  • Elizabeth McEntee, daughter of Alan and Connie McEntee, is a Knox High School student who plans to study neurobiology.
  • Ashley Rearden, daughter of Larry and Treasure Rearden, is a North Judson-San Pierre High School student who plans to study business management.
  • Cody Rieckhoff, son of Robert and Marcy Rieckhoff, is a Culver Community High School student who plans to study criminal justice.
  • Cassandra Waletzko, daughter of Anthony and Laura Waletzko, is a Knox High School student who is considering an education path in biology and forensic science.

Our other scholarship applications will be available by December 2017.

Ashley Rearden
Cody Rieckhoff
Cassandra Waletzko


QUESTIONS?  Contact the Northern Indiana Community Foundation scholarship coordinator at 574-223-2227 or

Starke County Community Foundation Announces 2017 Grant Opportunities Without Deadlines

posted Aug 22, 2017, 8:44 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Grant Packet contains the applications for the Community Education Grants, Maude Brown and Henry F. Schricker Endowment, Robert 'Boom Boom' Baker Alternative Agriculture Grant, Community Support Grants, and James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy Award

 Starke County Community Foundation Grant packet

 Starke County Community Foundation Grant packet

The Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) is offering many granting opportunities for charitable organizations in 2017. In an effort to be make grant dollars more accessible to community projects, the Community Foundation has removed deadlines from their application. Applications may be submitted throughout the year.

Applications for the entire year are available online or at the SCCF office in the North Judson-San Pierre Middle School building at 950 W. Campbell Drive in North Judson.

Grant applications without deadlines are described below and applications can be found in the Starke County Community Foundation Grant packet.

Community Education Grants are for schools or teachers in the Knox, North Judson-San Pierre, and Oregon-Davis School systems. The maximum amount that can be requested is $500.00 for each school system.

There are two Field of Interest grant opportunities, one for Indiana history and one for alternative agriculture projects. The Maude Brown and Henry F. Schricker Endowment provides support to all Starke County fourth-grade or above students for projects regarding Indiana history and social studies. The Robert 'Boom Boom' Baker Alternative Agriculture Grant awards dollars to programs or projects that encourage or support alternative agriculture within Starke County.

This is the third year of the James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy Award. This special recognition alternates between highlighting the achievements of an outstanding individual philanthropist and an effective and worthwhile organization that makes an impact in the community. The 2017 award will be given to an individual.

Also available are Community Support Grants, which assist organizations seeking grants in the range of several hundred to several thousand dollars. These grants are designed to be awarded to many organizations and provide support throughout the community.

“We are excited to offer different types of grants that have no application deadline,” said Sarah Origer, SCCF Director of Development. “We typically award grants in November. This new system is designed to be more convenient for those who need funding earlier in the year,” Origer added.

If you have questions about a grant, or would like to talk about a funding idea, contact Corinne Becknell Lucas, NICF Associate Director toll free at 877-432-6423, by email, or Sarah Origer, SCCF, Director of Development at 772-3665, or

North Judson-San Pierre High School Memorial Committee Fund

posted Aug 4, 2017, 1:39 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Old North Judon-San Pierre High School
Proposed North Judon-San Pierre High School Memorial

The members of the North Judson-San Pierre High School Class of 1970 have established a fund with the Northern Indiana Community Foundation with plans to build a monument to the historic North Judson-San Pierre High School. The NJ-SP High School Memorial Committee hopes to commemorate the NJ-SP High School by constructing a monument on the site of the former high school on Keller Avenue.

The Committee members recognize that NJ-SP High School was and continues to be a cornerstone for thousands of lives. The school itself served as the sight for countless celebrations and milestones for members of the community. The NJ-SP HS Memorial Committee recognizes that teachers, administrators, and staff of the NJ-SP High School helped to make thousands of graduates who they are today. They hope that by building this monument, the history of the historic NJ-SP High School will not fade away with time as former graduates pass away.

Through the generosity of First Farmer’s Bank and Trust, the NJ-SP HS Memorial Committee and the Town of North Judson have acquired a portion of property on the site of the historic school that will be used as the site of the monument. After much thought and discussion, in addition to input from a professional landscape designer, the group has created a design that mimics the front entrance of the original school building.

The group also noted that an unopened time capsule and the cornerstone of the historic building have been preserved and will be incorporated in design of the monument. When the monument is dedicated, the Committee hopes to open the original time capsule. In addition, the committee hopes to install a new time capsule in the memorial to commemorate a new era.

During construction, some original bricks will be used in addition to the new bricks for the project which were generously donated by Norwayne Lumber. The cost of this project is estimated to be approximately $25,000-$30,000. The Committee recently received a grant of $2,000 for the project from the Community Foundation.

The committee and members of the North Judson-San Pierre High School Memorial Fund hope that graduates will take time to review the plan and consider helping to make the proposed monument a reality. This monument will serve as a reminder that the historic NJ-SP High School will forever be in the hearts of its students. If you have questions about the project, please contact Committee Chair Marshall Field at 765-490-0772.

Community Foundation Awards $6,700 in Grants So Far This Year

posted Apr 28, 2017, 2:50 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated May 24, 2017, 12:33 PM ]

Linda Lewandowski, Kid's Closet Exec. Dir and Sarah Origer.

The Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) has awarded $6,700 in grants so far in 2017. This is the first year that the SCCF has removed deadlines for many of its grant applications.

A Community Support Grant of $5,000 was awarded to Kids’ Closet for its new outreach facility. The building will house both Kids’ Closet and the Food Pantry, two organizations that work to provide services for Starke County residents. In 2016 alone, Kids’ Closet served more than 900 children, and the Food Pantry served more than 1,800 individuals. Due to the increasing need for services, both organizations will greatly benefit from a new facility in which supplies can be stored, organized, and distributed.

Starke County Community Corrections also received a Community Support Grant. This $1,200 grant will provide nutritional food for families attending the Family Seminar at the Regional Therapeutic Community in the Starke County Justice Center. The seminars provide the opportunity for offenders to have interactions with loved ones, which provides social support as they complete the addiction and recovery program. During the seminars, loved ones also engage in helpful workshops.

A $500 community education grant was given to the North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School’s Girls on the Run program. Girls on the Run is a youth development program that integrates education and physical fitness. It also seeks to inspire third, fourth, and fifth grade girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. The girls meet after school for ten weeks, and they will complete a community impact project at the end of the course.

SCCF grant applications are available and will be accepted throughout the year. For more information, contact SCCF Director of Development Sarah Origer at or by calling 574-772-3665.


Volume 19 - Leaving a Legacy

posted Dec 6, 2016, 4:13 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Over the past twenty years, the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) has provided an opportunity for individuals to leave a legacy in their communities. This legacy reflects the individuals’ spirit of giving and their passion for causes and charitable organizations in Starke County. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “What a man does for himself dies with him. What a man does for his community lives long after he’s gone.”

Many generous individuals have left bequests to the SCCF and have therefore left something that will live on forever, endlessly impacting the community and enhancing the quality of life in Starke County. Contributions to the SCCF are immeasurable.

Planned giving can enable donors to make more significant gifts to yield the biggest impact on the community. Planned gifts can be made in many different ways.

Giving to the SCCF through a will is one of the easiest ways to make a gift. Donors may also name the SCCF as the beneficiary of IRA assets, which allows the donor to avoid estate and income taxes. The SCCF keeps 100 percent of the IRA assets and applies them to the charitable purpose or organization the donor chooses.  Life insurance is another great way to make a charitable gift to the SCCF. The donor can deduct the replacement value of the policy, and some donors can increase the size of their gift by purchasing a life insurance policy and naming the SCCF as owner and beneficiary.

Finally, donors can make a planned gift through a Charitable Remainder Trust, Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT), Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT), or Charitable Lead Trust (CLT). These types of gifts allow a donor to irrevocably transfer assets into a trust which pays income to the donor or other beneficiaries during their lifetimes. The remainder then goes to a qualified nonprofit of the donor’s choice or to the donor’s named beneficiaries.

It is never too early to think about planned giving. This is an opportunity for donors to know that their dollars will never be spent but will instead generate income forever to provide sustainability for organizations the donor cares about or to provide assistance for the various needs of the community.

The SCCF honors the legacies that have been established with the SCCF so far. As we have discussed throughout this series, gifts to the SCCF have made such a tremendous impact on Starke County already, and they will continue to do so forever! Through our pillars of giving, we are sure to touch every area of need in Starke County. Our various types of funds enable donors to fulfill their individual charitable wishes. 

The past twenty years have yielded remarkable results. In total, the SCCF has awarded $3,003,539.20 in grants to charitable organizations, $2,887,305 in scholarships, and has established 121 funds. We are so thankful to our donors and supporters, as well as to the charitable organizations and individuals in Starke County who have put their grant and scholarship dollars to great use. 

We hope that you will consider making a planned gift to the SCCF in order to become a part of something strong, immeasurable, and ever-lasting— an organization which will honor your legacy and ensure that your contribution will forever enhance the quality of life in Starke County.

Volume 18 - Giving Tuesday

posted Nov 26, 2016, 8:52 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

This week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. In addition to enjoying the warm comforts of Thanksgiving dinner and quality time with friends and family, you may also be planning a Black Friday trip, or planning to support a local business on Small Business Saturday, or to make an online purchase on Cyber Monday.

You may have heard of a more recent addition to this week of events—Giving Tuesday. In order to extend the spirit of giving thanks and supporting our local communities, New York’s 92nd Street Y, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, founded #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a tag used on social media in order for individuals, families, nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, and corporations to share with one another how they’re making a difference on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and also to encourage the donation of time, resources, and talents to address local need. #GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of the generosity of people around the world to bring real change in their communities. 2016 will be the 5th year of this movement.

#GivingTuesday is a global initiative. In 2016, more than 700,000 people raised $116,000,000 online in more than 70 countries!

This year, we are celebrating Giving Tuesday with a county-wide event. We hope that you will considering taking part in the #GivingTuesday initiative by joining us in our efforts to make a huge impact on Starke County!

We invite you to kick off your holiday and end-of-year giving by coming out to learn about how Starke County charitable organizations have been impacted by dollars given to the SCCF. Remember that every contribution to the SCCF is endowed, so in 100 years from now, the funds raised on Giving Tuesday will still be there, generating income to address the charitable needs in Starke County.

The power of combining our efforts on Giving Tuesday, along with the power of endowed funds with the SCCF, make it possible for every act of kindness, small and large, to be amplified significantly throughout Starke County.

In honor of this special day and of our 20th Anniversary, the SCCF is holding an Open House on Nov. 29 at our new office in the former NJ-SP Middle School from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. We hope you will come celebrate with us and enjoy some holiday treats!

So share #GivingTuesday on social media, encourage your friends and family to join the effort, and extend the spirit of thankfulness and giving back throughout the week. Together, we can make a huge difference in our community!

Join us next week for the final article of our 20th Anniversary Series!

Volume 17 - Field of Interest Funds and Special Funds

posted Nov 16, 2016, 2:48 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Some of our most unique funds are our field of interest funds. These funds have specific criteria and support areas of need which the donor is passionate about. During our yearly grant cycle, charitable organizations can apply for our community grants, which are unrestricted, but if they meet the criteria, they may also apply for a grant from one of our field of interest funds.

In 2012, Starke United decided to become a fund under the SCCF in order to operate more efficiently and cost effectively. The SCCF then became a member of Indiana Association of United Ways and began administering contributions of the Starke United Fund. 

Volume 16 - Reaching Every Area of Need

posted Nov 16, 2016, 1:35 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Community funds, also known as unrestricted funds, are different than every type of fund we’ve talked about so far. Unlike other funds we’ve discussed, when donors establish community funds, they allow the Board of Directors the opportunity to assess the greatest needs of the community and assist the community’s individual programs. The Board of Directors, therefore, chooses how this money is spent each year based on community need.

Community funds allow for the greatest flexibility when donating charitable gifts. These funds will continue to benefit the community forever, so in 100 years from now, whatever the charitable needs may be in Starke County, our community funds will be there to support them.

One of our earliest community funds, the Schuyler Family Endowment Fund, was established in 1998 by SCCF founder Arlowa Vorm. Arlowa was a part of the athletically and musically talented Schuyler family. Arlowa’s mother was born in North Judson, and her father moved there when he was very young. They were married in 1917 and had a 200-acre farm in North Judson. 

After Arlowa passed away, her husband, Fred Vorm, created another community fund, the Arlowa S. Vorm Memorial Fund in her memory. Arlowa and Fred grew up together in North Judson and were married in 1947 on Arlowa’s birthday. They were married for an incredible 56 years! Arlowa was community-minded and is remembered for her passion for service. She was a founding member of the SCCF and helped to establish both the North Judson Town Park and Norwayne Field.

The Schuyler Family.  Arlowa (Schuyler) Vorm is the middle girl in the back row.

Another early SCCF community fund is the Ann R. and Orville Nichols Memorial Fund. It was created by Orville in memory of Ann, and it provides support to Starke County through the SCCF unrestricted fund. Due to its flexibility of giving, it has awarded grants to many different charitable organizations and programs, such as Shakespeare for Starke County Schools, Community Services of Starke County, the Starke County Youth Club, Inc., and the Salvation Army.

While there are many early community funds, the SCCF also has many new ones, such as the Gail and Mildred Schoch Memorial Fund, which was created in 2014 by Warren and Sherry Burch. Since 2014, there have been 13 new community funds established with the SCCF!
Community funds are appealing to donors because they offer so much flexibility of giving. While we may not know the future needs of Starke County, we can be sure that our community funds will always be there to address those needs.

Next week’s article will finish up our discussion about different types of funds, and then we will move on to our final two articles in the series!

Volume 15 - Fulfilling Charitable Wishes

posted Nov 3, 2016, 9:52 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

While agency funds are set up by the agencies which those funds support, and donor-advised funds allow the donor to choose which organization they support each year, designated funds are a bit different. These funds still support charitable organizations of the donor’s choice, but rather than varying year-to-year which agencies they support, designated funds support the same charities forever!

When donors are really passionate about a cause, designated funds offer them reassurance that the organization they care about will have reliable income. Oftentimes, donors take advantage of the benefits of designated funds in order to support their church.

In 1998, Judge Marvin and Barbara McLaughlin created the North Judson United Methodist Church Trustees’ Building & Maintenance Fund. This fund helps to provide income for the maintenance of the North Judson United Methodist Church. This is one of the first funds set up with the SCCF! Barbara is an SCCF founder.

The North Judson United Methodist Church provides service to the community through many different ministries, including a food pantry and Kid’s Closet. Kid’s Closet helps to provide necessities, such as clothing and winter boots to children in need.

June Binkley, another SCCF founder, also set up a designated fund with the SCCF. She established the Binkley-Bales-Christoph Endowment Fund in 2003 in support of the Davis Wesleyan Church in Hamlet. This fund is in memory of her parents and family.

Another designated fund with the SCCF is a unique one because it supports three different Starke County agencies. This fund was created by Roger and Sally Ciapara in 2005, and it is called the Rosa of Indiana Fund. This fund supports the Starke County Council on Aging, Society of St. Vincent de Paul in North Judson, and the Starke County Humane Society in carrying out their charitable missions. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in North Judson is an agency in relation to the SS Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church.

Donors choose to set up designated funds when they are passionate about a cause and wish to support that cause forever. In some cases, such as the Rosa of Indiana Fund, the donor may choose more than one agency. These funds may support all of those agencies yearly, or its support may rotate. Either way, designated funds help to fulfill donors’ charitable wishes.

Join us next week to learn about how some donors establish community funds, which touch so many different areas of need in Starke County! 

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in North Judson is supported by a designated fund.

Volume 14 - Starke County Students Reach for the Stars!

posted Oct 26, 2016, 10:21 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Nov 3, 2016, 9:53 AM ]

Education is important for individuals to become contributing members of society. However, a college education is becoming more expensive all the time. Without outside sources, post-secondary education can seem unattainable for high school students. In order to address this problem and to help educate our community’s future workforce, many donors have established scholarship funds with the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF).

SCCF scholarship funds vary in size and criteria. Oftentimes, donors wish to support students who plan to pursue a career in a field that they are passionate about or that they themselves pursued. Other donors support students graduating the high school from which the donor graduated, or students planning to attend the university the donor attended. Each unique scholarship varies by the motivation of the donor who created it. 

The Ed Hasnerl/WKVI Scholarship Fund was established in 1999 by Ed Hasnerl and WKVI to provide scholarships to qualified graduating seniors. Students must be Starke County residents planning to study history, arts, communications, or media-related subjects.

Ed Hasnerl is a well-known resident of Starke County. His unmistakable voice is recognized from his WKVI radio show Talking of Many Things. He has traveled the globe and has owned and co-owned several businesses. He and WKVI wanted to establish their scholarship in order to promote education and to support those seeking jobs in the field of media.

The Nella Kersting Memorial Scholarship Fund supports North Judson-San Pierre High School seniors planning to attend any college, university, trade, or vocational school. This scholarship was created by Sandra Kersting-Rudd in 2007 in memory of her mother, Nella Kersting, who passed away in 2003. 

Nella and her husband, James Kersting, built a successful business together, Kersting’s Cycle Center, and raised a close-knit family. Those who knew Nella remember her as a loving, dedicated, and humble person. Through the Nella Kersting Memorial Scholarship Fund, her family is able to commemorate her and support the community in her honor. 

The Steve L. Toth and Donna M. Toth Family Fund was also created in memory of a loved one. Donna Toth established the fund in 2010 in commemoration of her husband, Steve, who passed away in 2008.

Steve was a hard-working farmer and employee at NIPSCO, and Donna is an SCCF board member and has been very involved in the community. She remembers the wonderful life she and Steve had together. This scholarship supports students graduating from Oregon-Davis High School who have at least a 3.0 GPA, but who are not in the top 5% of their graduating class. 

In total, the SCCF has 36 scholarships funds. Since inception, the SCCF has awarded $2,887,305 in scholarships, including the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, to graduating Starke County seniors. We at the SCCF hope that we are able to help Starke County students obtain post-secondary education or training and that they will return to their communities to help contribute to and improve Starke County.

Next week we’ll be talking about designated funds and how several of these support our local churches.

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