2021 Scholarship Awards Announced

Blackford County Community Foundation awarded 71 scholarships to local high school graduates in May. The scholarships totaled $80,000. Find a list of the recipients here.

Post-Secondary Scholarships Due June 3

The Blackford County Community Foundation offers scholarships to students who are pursuing either an academic degree or a vocational/technical degree or certification beyond high school graduation. Most often the applicants are students in their second year of post-high school study or beyond. For the first time this year, the application is online.  The Foundation will still accept any application submitted on a paper application form that an applicant may have downloaded before the change to an online format.

Community Grant Applications Deadline July 1

Applications for community grants are now available and will be accepted through July 1. The completed application will be reviewed by the Foundation staff and may be returned to the applicant for further explanation or clarification. Revisions will need to be completed in order for the application to be considered for funding. The application is online at Grant Information & Application. 

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.

New Grants Total $72,300

The spring cycle of grants from the Blackford County Community Foundation totaled over $72,000. The grants will support 8 local nonprofits and community projects. Several of the grants support initiatives providing extra learning opportunities for the youth of Blackford County.

  • $5,000 to Blackford County Schools to help reduce the student fees for K-6th grade students wishing to attend Camp Invention in June 2021. The grant comes from the Betty L. and Robert W. Renner Community Fund and the Paul L. Roderick Memorial Fund.
  • $5,000 to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide free books to Blackford County children ages 0 – 5 years. Funding from the CAPE Fund.
  • $19,250 to Arts Place, Inc. to support the MusicWorks program at the Blackford Arts Center. Grant from the Opal Greenlee Memorial Fund.

Improving local parks has been a focus of Blackford County and the Foundation in order to increase recreational opportunities. Three grants support local parks.

  • $15,000 to the Hartford City Parks Department for a new disc golf course. Funds largely come from a GIFT VII grant to BCCF in 2020.
  • $10,000 to the Hartford City Parks Department for improvements to the skate park located in Hartford City on South Monroe Street.
  • $5,250 to the Hartford City Public Library for the outdoor classroom construction at the Nature Play Area park east of the library. The funding is from the CAPE Fund.

Two additional grants were awarded.

  • $6,000 to the Blackford County Civil War Reenactment Club for the 2021 Civil War Days in October. Funds for the grant are from the Joanne and Nolan Willman Unrestricted Fund.
  • $7,800 to the Montpelier Civic Center for additional exercise equipment. The award is made from the Dorothy Gadbury Fund.

The next round of grants will be awarded in September. The process begins by July 1. Details concerning the application process are available here.

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.

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 ewitt@blackfordcounty.org for more information.