On August 2, 1968, under the sponsorship of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Warsaw Community Foundation began with assets of $871. Its founders envisioned the Community Foundation as a place to hold and grow funds that would benefit the community and its residents, forever.
Fifty years later, and renamed Kosciusko County Community Foundation, the Community Foundation now has over 350 permanently endowed funds created and named by donors to accomplish their charitable dreams. The Community Foundation’s assets have grown from $871 in 1968 to over $57 million. Annually, grants of nearly $2.5 million are made for a broad range of charitable needs including: human services, arts and culture, recreation, the environment, health, civic projects and education.
Over the years, in addition to more traditional gifts like cash, stocks or life insurance, donors have given interesting gifts like buildings, cows, and soybeans. The Community Foundation has used all of those gifts to make the difference donors wanted to make.
A few of the Community Foundation’s better known endowment funds include:
- The Good Samaritan Fund, established by Mrs. Ethel Vandermark to help local children in medical crisis. To date, that fund has awarded over $568,000 in grants.
- The KC Riley Kids Fund, established by business partners Alan Alderfer and Mike Bergen to help local children access medical care at Riley Children’s Hospital and to support the hospital. To date, that fund has awarded over $389,000 in grants.
- The Kosciusko REMC Operation Round Up Fund, which takes the extra cents that Kosciusko REMC customers round up on their bills each month to meet community needs. To date, that fund has awarded over $1 million in grants.
- Kosciusko Endowment Youth Services (KEYS) Fund, which awards educational grants to teachers throughout Kosciusko County at the recommendation of the Community Foundation’s youth philanthropy group. To date, that fund has awarded nearly $426,000 in grants.
- Many scholarship funds, which together award approximately half a million dollars each year.
Over the next year, the Community Foundation wishes to celebrate its 50th anniversary with all of the donors, volunteers, nonprofit partners and community members who have helped accomplish its mission to “make donor dreams shine for the good of our community.”
“We will be hosting a number of community events throughout the county in the coming year,” said Suzie Light, Community Foundation CEO. “It’s our hope that people of all ages and from every town take part in the celebration because the Kosciusko County Community Foundation really is your community foundation.”
Those interested in learning more about the Community Foundation’s celebration events are encouraged to check event listings on the Foundation’s website at www.kcfoundation.org.