Efforts to create an organization of Tippecanoe Valley alumni have recently evolved into a grant-making Community Foundation model. To be specific, the Valley Community Foundation is a fund within the Northern Indiana Community Foundation in Rochester. And at 7 PM on Tuesday, May 7, representatives and guests of the fund will meet at the Akron Community Center to make a first round of community development grants.
Late last fall, TVSC superintendent Brett Boggs and then-NICF director Terri Walgamuth Johnson (’79) convened a group of Valley graduates to visualize what kind of local projects and organizations could benefit if a private foundation existed solely for the purpose of promoting charitable causes in Akron, Mentone, and the communities and countryside served by the Tippecanoe Valley schools. This group became the advisory board for a dedicated fund within the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, and on Tuesday will meet with several dozen other Valley graduates of every generation to hear presentations from five different local causes, and make up to $2500 in grants.
The charitable projects that will share their stories are the Akron Youth League, for upgrades and lights on baseball fields that would extend more play and practice time; the TVSC Literacy Framework Committee for a “Little Free Libraries” project; the Prill School Museum for bringing Pioneer Day activities to Akron and Mentone 4th graders; the school corporation’s “Boomerang Backpack” program, and the Helping Hands food bank. Participants in the May 7 meeting award each of these programs at least $100, and will distribute an additional $2000 among them.
At the May 7 meeting, participants will also discuss the idea of creating a “Giving Circle,” through which all graduates and friends of Tippecanoe Valley schools are invited to make annual charitable contributions to this fund, so that in future years grants of many times this size can be made. Participants will also discuss ways to communicate with far-flung Valley alumni, including revitalizing this blog (perhaps using student interns), and using social media to locate and build a “mailing” list.
Gifts of any amount to the Valley Community Foundation are fully tax-deductible. All donors at the $120 level (a convenient $10/month online option is available!) will be invited to participate in future grant-making events, but smaller donations are welcomed. Contributions can be made online at www.nicf.org/donate (just enter "Valley Fund" in the comment section) or mailed to NICF at 715 Main St., Rochester, IN 46975, attn. Brian Johnson.
To reserve your spot at the May 7 meeting, call 574-353-7031, ext. 2203 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 2.
Members of the advisory board for the Valley Community Foundation are: Anna Higgins, Nolan Sponseller, Jayme Parker, Shelly Engle, Micah Lukens, Darren Parker, Cami Shriver, Stephanie Bibler, and Aaron Norris; and Terri Johnson, Brett Boggs, Ron Newlin, Kirk Doerhmann, and Brian Johnson, ex officio.