W.O.W. Grant Awards Announced

The Women of Worth 2021 grant awards have been announced. The following five local nonprofit groups will each receive a $1,000 award for projects that benefit the women and/or children of Blackford County.

  • IU Health Blackford will receive a grant to provide free mammogram screenings to women without financial resources who are in the at-risk age group, have never had breast cancer, and have not had  mammogram in the past year.
  • Blackford County Schools will be awarded a grant to help in providing scholarships to all K-6 students who wish to attend Camp Invention, the weeklong summer enrichment program that offers science, technology, engineering, and math hands-on activities.
  • Northside Elementary School (K-2) will receive a grant for books on social and emotional growth topics to use specifically with Speech and Language students and equipment of identified students needing movement, light, or sound adaptations that allow them to concentrate more fully on lessons.
  • Helping Hands will use its grant to provide parent handbooks to the parents participating in a 16-week parenting workshop called Parenting in Progress that specifically aims to teach alternatives to neglectful and abusive parenting practices.
  • Blackford Junior Senior High School Agriculture Department will receive a grant to purchase a hydroponic tower, plants, and nutrient supplies for ag students to grow lettuce indoors and learn about this increasingly used method of providing commercial vegetables.

Women of Worth (W.O.W.) is a program of the Blackford County Community Foundation. Members combine their membership donations in order to fund the grants program each fall. Since its inception in 2009, 59 W.O.W. grants have been awarded totaling $42,842.

Foundation Met Lilly Endowment Inc. Fundraising Goal

In October of 2018, Lilly Endowment Inc. challenged every community foundation in Indiana to raise enough donations within 2 years to receive matching dollars worth $500,000 from the Endowment. Most of the Endowment money would go toward the local community foundation’s funds that will be available to award grants for many years into the future (the community funds, also called the unrestricted funds); in fact, the additional funds from both the donors and from Lilly Endowment Inc. will be available forever for making the Foundation’s local grants.

Many thanks go to our donors who are clearly concerned that the work of the Blackford County Community Foundation continue.

2021 Scholarships Awarded to Current College/Vocational Students

Each year the Foundation awards scholarships to Blackford County students already working on college degrees or vocational certificates. This August, 12 students were awarded $17,460 from five different scholarship funds specifically designated for such postsecondary students.

Spencer Blakely was awarded the new Don McAfee Memorial Scholarship and a Richard M. and Ruth L. Flatter Memorial Scholarship. He is a junior studying biochemistry at Ball State University.
Jessica Manley received the Howard and Helen McCollum Family Scholarship and a Richard M. and Ruth L. Flatter Memorial Scholarship as a junior in chemistry and pre-pharmacy at Ball State University.
Shanda Miller was awarded a Floyd E. and Betty J. Huffman Memorial Scholarship and a Richard M. and Ruth L. Flatter Memorial Scholarship. She is a senior in nursing and psychology at Anderson University.
Kyle Price received a Floyd E. and Betty J. Huffman Memorial Scholarship to train as an electrician’s apprentice with Muncie Electrical JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee).
Nick Price was awarded a Richard M. and Ruth L. Flatter Memorial Scholarship. He is a senior studying finance at Western Michigan University.

Seven students were awarded a Voyance and Zella Kegerreis Memorial Scholarship and a Richard M. and Ruth L. Flatter Memorial Scholarship:
Sara Gregory, who is a senior pursuing general studies at Ball State University;
Gabrielle Henderson, a junior in integrative studio practice at IUPUI;
Elizabeth Langdon, a sophomore in nursing at Anderson University;
Scott McCaffery, a junior in computer technology/computer science at Ball State;
Brenner Romine, a junior in social studies education and history at Ball State;
Chloe Whitehurst, a senior in human resource management at Ball State ; and
Molly Wolfe, a sophomore in English at Ball State.

New Disc Golf Park Announced

The City of Hartford City and the Blackford County Community Foundation have partnered to award $30,000 to the Hartford City Parks Department for the installation of a new disc golf course. The Blackford Disc Golf Club is volunteering to provide the manpower to implement the planning and installation of the course.

The new course will be located at the park currently known as the Lions Club Park in Hartford City.

Disc golf is one of the fastest growing additions to community parks. Nearly 2 million Americans already play.

Disc golf is similar to golf except that it is played with frisbee-like discs rather than with a ball and golf clubs. The sport is easy to learn and easy to play for people of all ages and fitness levels.

The disc golf course will provide low impact exercise as players walk the 18-hole course, an approximate distance of 3 miles. Recent studies show a correlation between playing disc golf and improved mental health.

The $15,000 in funding from the Foundation largely comes from the GIFT VII monies given to the Foundation by Lilly Endowent Inc. in 2020. The funds are to be used to encourage youth and family programming in the community’s parks and greenspaces. The disc golf park will be a new addition to the county that will add additional recreational opportunities for families.

For more information on the Blackford Disc Golf Club, contact Tyler Hunt at thunt@blackfordcounty.com.

Julie Forcum Serves 10 Years

As a ten-year member of the Board of Directors for the Blackford County Community Foundation, Julie Forcum has seen the Foundation double the size of its assets while she served. Forcum brought considerable knowledge and experience to the Board as she had previously served on the board of Jay County’s community foundation, the Portland Foundation. During her time on the Blackford County Community Foundation Board, Forcum worked on the grants committee and often shared her expertise with the investment, publicity, and development committees. She also served as the Board’s secretary for several years.

Her service to this community is much appreciated.

New Dick Peck Scholarship Established

Richard Peck, and his wife, Regina Peck, established the Dick Peck Scholarship to support a student graduating from Blackford County High School. Mr. Peck graduated from Montpelier High School.

The $5,000 scholarship will go to a graduating senior from Blackford High School each year. The student must plan to attend an accredited Indiana college or university, have a GPA between 2.7 and 3.3 (unweighted), and demonstrate financial need.

This scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the spring of 2021. Students making an application for scholarships available through the Blackford County Community Foundation who meet the specific scholarship criteria will be eligible for this award.

Pennington Awarded Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Since eighth grade, Layla Pennington has been determined to excel during her high school years. Her goal? To be named the valedictorian of the Class of 2021. And as her dad said, “She killed it!”

High school has not been all about academics, though. Pennington claims that the best thing she’s done is participating in soccer. The high school team has had a couple of great seasons, and she was the team captain this year as a senior. It’s been an especially good experience in terms of improving her team building skills and her leadership skills. She also served as a referee at several soccer games, including at some of her younger sister’s games. At those games, Pennington found herself turning into the big sis coach who wanted to yell directions at her little sis. She had to steel herself to be the ref.

Pennington’s experiences in National Honor Society have pushed her out of her comfort zone, she said, as she was asked to participate in community service. Last year she tutored a fifth grader for several months.

Pennington plans to study something in the field of medicine, perhaps pharmaceuticals. Her ideal job would be working in a lab and doing medical research. She is currently visiting colleges and making applications as she heads toward making a definite college choice.

Pennington knows she’s arrived at this spot because she worked hard to make it here, and the result is rewarding. She couldn’t be more grateful and thankful for the opportunities that have come her way.

Elks Donate to Cancer Support

Elks Lodge #625 has once again contributed the proceeds from its fall dinner to Cancer Support for Blackford County. The donation of $3,395 came from the Elks’ first ever drive thru dinner fundraiser, which served 144 meals on Saturday, November 14.

The Elks have been fundraising for Cancer Support, making a large contribution each fall, since 2008.

The Cancer Support group consists of local volunteers. The group has been visiting Blackford County cancer patients and dropping off a generous gift bag that includes gas and restaurant gift cards along with other items that help make cancer treatment sessions a bit less stressful for patients. The group has worked with the Foundation since 2007. In a typical year, 45-50 patients receive the totes.

Rapid Relief Fund

In response to local needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis, the Blackford County Community Foundation has established the Rapid Relief Fund. The Foundation will specifically make funds available to organizations that are responding to the needs that are lasting beyond the initial few months of the pandemic. This fund was created as a direct response to the COVID-19 spread but will also be available for use in future emergency situations. These Foundation funds will be granted to local nonprofit organizations rather than directly to individuals. If your organization is affected, please contact the Foundation to discuss how this funding might help.

Donations to this new fund will be matched by GIFT VII Lilly Endowment Inc. dollars. For every $1 contribution to the fund, 50 cents will also be added to the fund. Make online donations here and designate the donation for the Rapid Relief Fund on the PURPOSE line. Or mail a contribution to Blackford County Community Foundation, 121 N. High St., P.O. Box 327, Hartford City, IN 47348.