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News & Events


Northern Indiana Community Foundation Welcomes Summer Interns!

Left to right: Sara Collazo Romay, Jessica Jachim, Kenzie Collins, Andrea Baker

This summer, the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF) received funding from the Lilly Endowment to hire interns seeking to gain experience with the Starke, Fulton, and Miami County Community Foundations. Jessica Jachim, Andrea Baker, Kenzie Collins, and Sara Collazo Romay have been selected to serve as the interns for the NICF this summer.

Jessica has worked as an intern for the NICF since the summer of 2013. This summer, she is serving as the Management Intern. Baker, Collins, and Collazo are working as the Office/Communications interns.

Jessica graduated from North Judson-San Pierre High School. She is the 2011 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and is a Senior at Valparaiso University, where she is double-majoring in Elementary Education and English. She hopes to return to the area as an elementary teacher, and she also plans to be a writer.

"I'm very thankful to be returning as an intern for the Northern Indiana Community Foundation," said Jachim. "I've learned so much about the amazing impact that community foundations have on Indiana, and it's such a great opportunity to be a part of that."

Collins graduated from Rochester Community High School in 2012. She is now a Junior at the University of Indianapolis, where she is majoring in English Education. She intends to become a high school English teacher in the Indianapolis area.

"I'm really excited for this wonderful opportunity," said Collins. "It makes me really happy to be able to hold such an important role in the community in which I grew up, and I can't wait to see what will come out of this new internship."

Baker is also a Rochester Community High School graduate. After graduation in 2013, Baker began her studies at Taylor University, where she will begin her sophomore year in the fall as a Public Relations major. In the future, she hopes to represent an organization that shares her passions and values.

"I am looking forward to applying what I have been learning about communication and business through the several opportunities that the Northern Indiana Community Foundation has presented me with," said Baker.

Collazo went to Rochester High School during her Junior year, and she graduated from Salesianos in A Coruna, Spain, her hometown. She then went on to Manchester University, and she will be transferring to Purdue University as a Junior in the fall, where she will major in Marketing. She hopes to work as a brand marketer for a fashion company upon graduation.

"I am so grateful for the opportunity the Community Foundation has offered me," said Collazo. "Their work and upbeat energy are a great inspiration. I am looking forward to learning more about the beautiful community I live in."

Throughout the summer, the interns will help to plan events, interview donors and write their families' stories, write press releases, attend various meetings and events, and help with office tasks.

“Our internship program has been successful in the past, and we're grateful that Lilly is continuing to provide the funding," said Jay Albright, Executive Director of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation.  “I'm confident that these four interns will continue to strengthen our intern program and enhance our office staff."

For more information, contact the Northern Indiana Community Foundation toll free at 877-432-6423, or at 574-223-2227.

In Remembrance of Jim Hardesty

June 6, 2014 - James Hardesty, a life-long farmer and resident of Hamlet as well as a world-traveler and an exceptionally generous citizen of Starke County, passed away on Saturday, May 24, 2014. He was 92 years old.

Jim served in the Army during World War II after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. Upon returning to the United States, he continued farming and giving back to the community, beginning a legacy that would impact Starke County beyond measure.

He was a founder of the Starke County Community Foundation, and fellow-founder Barbara McLaughlin said, "Without Jim Hardesty, there would be no Community Foundation." Jim established the Ancilla College Endowment in 1997 and the Hardesty Memorial Endowment in 2005 at the Community Foundation.

Near the end of his life, he chose to anonymously donate $1 million to Ancilla College and another $1 million to his endowment fund at the Community Foundation, increasing the value of the fund to more than $2 million. His fund alone will generate more than $80,000 in grant money each year forever. Investment returns will continue the growth of the fund, and therefore increase the grant dollars that will support Jim’s favorite charitable organizations in perpetuity.

In total, Jim’s lifetime of gifts are the largest from a single donor in any of the three counties that the Northern Indiana Community Foundation serves.

"To say that Jim Hardesty was a vital contributor to the Starke County Community Foundation is a vast understatement," said Sarah Origer, Director of Development for the SCCF. "No words can express the immeasurable impact that Jim Hardesty's legacy will have on our community in the years to come."

A five-year-old Jim Hardesty feeding turkeys and chickens on his parents’ farm.

Jim was born in Hamlet farm on January 29, 1922 to Raymond and Anna Hardesty. Until the very last few months of his life, he continued to live on the farm that his grandfather bought in 1895. He believed that he and his brother were probably both born there in the house where he lived. In a time when things were rough, Jim and his brother were raised to know the value of work, feeding chickens and taking care of farm chores. "We were farm kids," Jim recalled in an interview in 2013. "Just little farm kids dressed in overalls."

When serving in the Army overseas, he had many unforgettable experiences and was able to see much of Europe. He returned to Europe several times since then, and the last time was just six or seven years ago.

Upon returning to the United States in 1945, he returned to his family farm and went to work for his dad, eventually taking over the family business. The farm, on which Jim spent his life, as well as his community, were very important and dear to him. Jim was always active in his community. "I thought you had to do something," he said.

Marc Hardy and Jim Hardesty
Marc Hardy of Michiana Public Television WNIT interviews Jim Hardesty  

He served as a leader of the 4-H Blue Ribbon Club. He also served for a long time on the Starke County Co-Op Board and then the State Co-Op Board. He was on the Davis Township Advisory Board for twenty years. His grandfather was among the first directors of the Hamlet State Bank in 1904, which at the time was under a different title and which has since been bought by First Source Bank. Jim also served on the board of First Source for some time.

Jim had many other interests, including traveling and writing. He wrote his family history and his Army story. He also wrote a history of Hamlet and The History of the Starke County Courthouse, which was published in 1997. He was interviewed for the Library of Congress' Oral History Project, and he did several local interviews, such as one about his Army story for WKVI.com and Generations the Magazine.

One story of which he was very fond is the one he wrote about his journey to the Kentucky Derby. He remembered saying, "Jeez... I've been in London, I've been in Paris, I've been in Rome. I've been in Kuala Lumpur and Ogunquit. But I ain't never been to the Derby." Finally, he got his chance, and it was an experience he would never forget.

Perhaps one of Jim's deepest passions, however, was benefitting his beloved community in every way he could. He actively participated in raising funds for the Starke County Community Foundation, and he served on the board from its inception until 2008. He served as the Chairman of the Foundation’s Lilly Scholarship Committee for many years. He also served on the Board of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation for many years, and on its Finance Committee from its inception until 2013. In addition to these contributions of his time, he also established his two permanent endowment funds which will endlessly benefit causes in Starke County that were dear to him.

He was particularly a strong supporter and advocate for Ancilla College. He first became involved with Ancilla when he was invited to a dinner there and was asked if he wanted to become a trustee. He served two terms and later served for additional years. He then became a trustee emeritus for the school. "Ancilla College is certainly one of the most important things we've got going on around this community," Jim said. "I just want them to prosper."

Jim's life of giving has made a significant impact on the community. He hoped that by establishing endowment funds which will benefit Starke County forever, others would be encouraged to establish funds of their own.

"If you can't do a lot," he said, "do what you can do. Don't forget that."

"Not many people in the world would do what Jim did," said Origer. "He worked hard for what he had, he lived modestly, and then he gave it all away. He was truly incredible."



Welcome to Northern Indiana Community Foundation

Since 1993, the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, Inc. (NICF) has brought caring people and charitable endeavors together for the good of the community. The NICF serves the Community Foundations of Starke, Fulton and Miami Counties. This arrangement allows us to maximize our investment benefits and be more cost-efficient. Thus gifts can do more for the counties they are given to.

The NICF is a public trust, a public charity that gives donors flexible and tax-effective ways to ensure their charitable giving. Operating under state and federal laws, we work to build substantial endowment funds for our community through contributions large and small.

Contact the NICF at 574.223.2227 or toll free 877.432.6423