Volume 5 - History of SCCF: Part III

posted Aug 24, 2016, 12:01 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Oct 20, 2017, 10:49 AM ]
Since it started twenty years ago, the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) has changed quite a bit. Many people have served as staff and board members. Each contributed something different to the SCCF and to the community.

Frank Alan was the first President of the SCCF, and Cherry Gumz then served as President until 2006.

Our first paid employee was Corinne Becknell-Lucas, who started part time as the Office Administrator. She has since worn many hats, such as Grants/Scholarship Coordinator, Communications and Marketing Director, and Associate Director of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF) of which Starke County is an affiliate member.

In total, there have been six Lilly Phases. The last one ended just this year. Each time, the community and SCCF board members pulled through and brought the SCCF success.

Over time, we have had many memorable events. In 1999, Peyton Manning visited our NICF office in Rochester to raise money for our Back Home Again in Indiana Fund. He wanted to encourage students to get a college education and come back to work in Indiana.

One popular tradition was our annual “Give Your Heart to Your Community” Radio-Thon with WKVI. People called in to make a pledge to the Community Foundation, and many years this money was matched by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

We also held a “Veteran’s Call-In” to support our Freedom Fund. Community members called WKVI to make a pledge to the SCCF in honor of their own local hero. If they made a larger donation, we even sent Fingerhut Bakery cookies to their veteran or serviceman or woman anywhere in the world. We sent cookies and cards to Afghanistan, to military bases and schools, and across the country too! In November of 2002, the students of NJ-SP honored veterans by putting on an incredible Veteran’s Day Program. During the event, they presented the SCCF with a donation of $800, which the students raised themselves to honor veterans. This money was also matched by the Lilly Endowment.

The Lights of Remembrance event at Hensler’s Nursery was also one to remember. Lights were purchased and hung on a Christmas tree in memory of a loved one.

Each of these heartfelt events supported the community and the individuals living here.

Our impact on the community has continued to grow and grow. In 2006, we celebrated our tenth anniversary. At that time, we had 55 funds, we had nineteen Lilly Endowment Community Scholars, and we’d given over $1,597,000 in grants.

This year, we celebrate 20 years. We now have $8.21 million in assets. In total, we have awarded $6.23 million in grants and scholarships in Starke County. We have 131 funds, and 36 of these are scholarship funds. We have also had 35 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars in Starke County.

In the beginning, people told our founders they wouldn’t raise more than 50 or 100 thousand dollars, at the most. Just look at us now! The hard work of those original founders, as well as the staff, board members, and donors who have since joined in, have grown the community foundation to a thriving organization. The SCCF supports our community now and will continue to do so forever. Never doubt that a small group of determined individuals can make a huge difference. That’s exactly what they did in Starke County.

Join us next week to get a better understanding of how the community foundation works and how we can be sure that it will continue to grow forever.