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.

2021 Scholarship Applications Now Available

Students in the Class of 2021 can apply for any scholarship available through the Blackford County Community Foundation by filling out one application. That application is online here or in the Guidance Office at Blackford Junior-Senior High School. Applications are due March 11, 2021, at the BJSHS Guidance Office or at the office of the Foundation.

Students who live in Blackford County but attend a high school other than Blackford Junior-Senior High School are also invited to apply. Contact the Foundation at 765-348-3411 or at for more information.

2020 W.O.W. Grants Awarded

The Women of Worth voted to award five local nonprofits with grants this year. Each organization will receive $500 to help support a program in this community that enhances the lives of local women and children.

  1. Community and Family Services for its Silver Lining store. The funds will help replenish the childcare supplies and equipment in the store. Families earn Silver Lining coupons by attending wellness doctor/dentist appointments for their children and for participating in childhood educational experiences (public library storytime, Early Head Start, parent-teacher conferences, etc.). Those coupons can be exchanged for supplies one Saturday per month. About ten families participate each month.
  2. Blackford County Arts Center for its 2021 Arts in the Parks program. The art classes led by local artists will take place at parks in Hartford City and Montpelier. The program typically reaches 150-250 students each summer.
  3. Carey Services’ Early Head Start program for learning equipment for its outdoor learning center. The equipment will be a flower chalkboard to work on creativity and fine motor skills and a traffic sign to teach sign recognition and safety. Early Head Start usually serves 30 students (up to age 3) at any one time and has a waiting list.
  4. Purdue University Extension and Blackford County 4-H for supplies to local 4-Hers to construct and plant planters at the Nature Play Area east of the Hartford City Public Library.
  5. The Hartford City Arts Council for helping to support local live music, arts, and cultural events.


Three Projects Awarded Grants

Three local nonprofit organizations were awarded grants in the second round of awards for 2020.

The 2021 Arts in the Parks program was awarded $5,000. The program usually has three kinds of art experiences for children ages 6-12 in the community at local parks in the summer, including camps, traditional classes, and a community project.

Community and Family Services received a grant for $1,500 for its Silver Lining program. Silver Lining is an opportunity store that provides equipment and supplies for families raising young children. Families pay for the items with coupons they have earned from attending their children’s wellness appointments with health care providers and attending good parenting workshops and other child-centered services. The store is open one Saturday each month in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church in Hartford City.

Hartford City Public Library and the Hartford City Urban Forest Greenscape Commission  was awarded $7,550 to continue improving the Nature Play Area east of the Hartford City Public Library. This new work includes some electrical infrastructure and more activity areas and safety features.

The Foundation is especially pleased to support these fine projects in Blackford County.

17 College Students Awarded Scholarships

Seventeen local Blackford County students enrolled in colleges and universities across Indiana were eligible for scholarships from funds at the Foundation for the 2020-2021 school year.

One of the issues for students returning to college after finishing their freshman year is their lack of access to local scholarships. Most scholarships are awarded for only one year. The Foundation has noticed that community need and has been working for several years to provide more scholarships for college upper classmen.

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.

Scholarships Awarded to Class of 2020

Sixty-seven scholarships were awarded to 39 local Blackford County graduates at the end of May. The scholarships totaled $64,200. Winners are listed here.

These scholarships are provided through the generosity of the county’s residents, both past and present. Nearly 50 local families and civic organizations have established scholarships over the past twenty years that support students at colleges and vocational schools around the country. These scholarships are an avenue for families and civic groups to support local young people. In many cases, these scholarships also honor the memories of well-known community leaders and repected famil members. The Foundat is privieged to help Blackford County encourage its graduating seniors in pursuing their educational goals.

2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Lilly Endowment Inc. will award one full-tuition scholarship to a Blackford County graduating senior from the Class of 2021. That scholarship will apply at any Indiana college or university for all four years of an undergraduate course of study. In addition, a annual $900 stipend for books is provided.

The application for the scholarship is now available at this website and is due either at the Blackford Junior Senior High School Guidance Office or the Blackford County Community Foundation Office on September 11, 2020. The winner will be announced in December.