From staff reports
---- — It started out as just an idea by a few local individuals. It grew into a $7 million endowment that’s helped thousands of residents in Miami County over the last 20 years.
The Miami County Community Foundation (MCCF) celebrated its 20th year supporting the community earlier this month, where guests remembered how the foundation has impacted the lives of local residents.
Patrick Close, director of development for the MCCF, welcomed all honored quests to the event. Tom McKaig, MCCF president, was the guest speaker and emcee who shared how hopefulness is an asset the Community Foundation and its donors bring to Miami County.
Memories of the beginnings of the Community Foundation and its journey through the past 20 years were shared by Susan Perkins and Terri Johnson.
Perkins was one of the founding members of the Community Foundation and told how she was approached about joining the first board of directors. She spoke about the joy of raising the funds necessary to establish the organization in Miami County.
Perkins also served as president of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF), the legal entity of the Community Foundation, and has also served as MCCF Service Committee president.
Johnson, associate director of the GIFT program at the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance, shared how the Lilly Endowment began the journey of helping every county in Indiana create a community foundation to help build lasting legacies in Indiana communities.
“With an investment of half a billion dollars to build community foundations in the state, the assets statewide for community foundations are now over two billion dollars,” she said. “That is a good return on investment.”
Two grant recipients were also recognized. The Peru Public Library received $20,000 from the MCCF in 2013. This grant helped purchase new computers and wireless access for the library. Ron Schuckel and Anna Jo McKaig represented the library and spoke of how the Community Foundation has served the library through grants and investing of assets.
Elise Kordis, director of the Miami County Museum, spoke about the grant the museum received in 2013 to purchase display cases for exhibits. This $10,000 grant will help showcase its upcoming exhibit celebrating Miami County agriculture. Currently, the museum is exhibiting the history of local newspapers through the years.
Also recognized were current recipients of the 2013 Community Support Grants. Those recipients were the Heritage Museum Foundation, which received $1,000 to connect to the Nickel Plate Trail extension.
The Miami County Military Rites also received $500 for repairs to its RV that assists at military rite ceremonies.
Ole Olsen Memorial Children’s Theatre Workshop was granted $500 for “Shake it Up With Shakespeare,” the new Peru Skate Park was awarded $1,500 for stone to help start the project, and the United Way of Miami County received $1,500 for Weekend Meal Deal.
Jay Albright, executive director of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, closed the evening with a warm thank-you to the guests. He recognized new donors who started a relationship with the Community Foundation in 2013, and honored those donors who have supported the organization since 1993.
“I plan to make a personal visit to all our current donors in the next year,” he said. “Patrick and I have been making calls, and those who support the foundation should expect to see me in the next few months. We want to personally thank everyone who has invested in the Community Foundation and hope that they will continue to give in the future.”
Peru Mayor Jim Walker also proclaimed the month of November as Miami County Community Foundation Awareness Month.