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Long-Time Starke County Advocates Honored for Legacy of Giving
2015 James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy recipients.

Mathew and Marilyn Swanson circa 1980.

Knox, Ind. – Marilyn and Mathew Swanson of Bass Lake have been named the first recipients of the James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy Award by the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF).

Marilyn and Mat, who passed away on January 11 of this year, are being honored for their great generosity and many years of commitment to many organizations that serve Starke County. The award will be given to Marilyn during the SCCF’s 2015 Community Impact Reception on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Mat, a noted Starke County banker, was a long-time board member and past President of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF). He was instrumental in helping to choose the very first board members of the SCEDF and began serving on the board himself in 1990.

 SCEDF Executive Director Charles Weaver said, “Mat was a behind-the-scenes person. He recruited many of the initial members of SCEDF but could not be persuaded to join the Board until later.”

Over the years, Mat offered his service and expertise to many other non-profits and organizations. He served as a charter member and Treasurer of the Starke United Board, he was a director of the Starke County Fine Arts Commission, and he served on the Starke County 4-H Livestock Council for many years.

Mat was also active in the Purdue Ag Alumni Association as well as the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and dedicated a great deal of time to Ancilla College; serving on the Board of Directors for nine years and serving on the Ancilla President’s Council.

Marilyn, who had a long tenure as an English teacher at the Knox Community High School, is also very active in Starke County. She has been a member of the Tri Kappa sorority for 53 years and has served in every executive position except treasurer. She also served on the Culver School Board for 10 years representing North Bend Township. She and Mat were both on the Knox School Reorganization Committee for four years each.

Marilyn started the 4-H Horse and Pony Club in Starke County after her children became interested in riding horses; she was a Starke County 4-H Leader for twenty years until she went back to school to earn her Master's degree.

Marilyn has also served on the Starke County Library Board, been very involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and served in a Home Demonstration Club in her township for about ten years.

Mat and Marilyn became involved with the SCCF in 1997. Marilyn remembers telling an SCCF founder, “If you want a good treasurer, you just take my husband under your wing because he’s the best treasurer in the whole world. He’s a treasurer and a half!”

Mat eventually served on the SCCF Service Committee, on the Board of Directors of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF), and on the NICF Finance Committee, and held the title of Member Emeritus. He also served on the Starke County Lilly Endowment Scholarship Committee for 7 years.

In 2003, Mat was honored for his many years of service when he received the Henry F. Schricker Award, which is given for “service before self”. He also earned the Robert E. Hamilton Award, awarded by the SCEDF, for the great contributions Mat made to the development in Starke County as a whole.

Over the years, Mat and Marilyn have given generously to many organizations and causes that better Starke County. Through the Community Foundation, Mat and Marilyn established The Mat and Marilyn Swanson Family Fund in 1998; it was one of the very first funds created at the SCCF. Mat and Marilyn were also instrumental in founding the Ancilla/SCILL Center Fund.

“When you think of people who have made the biggest impact on Starke County’s non-profits, the Swansons are high on that list,” says SCCF Director of Development Sarah Origer. “They’ve just done so much.”

When Mat spoke of his service to the SCEDF and the Community Foundation, he said: “You can see where you’re doing some good in the community, and that’s very satisfying.”

This is the first year the James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy Award is being given and is named in honor of Jim Hardesty, a late founder of the SCCF from Hamlet, Ind., who was one of the SCCF’s most ardent supporters.

For more information about the award, to nominate someone for the award, or for more information about the SCCF’s Community Impact Reception, contact Origer at 574-772-3665 or starke@nicf.org.

Starke County Community Foundation Launches Campaign to Match $500,000 Lilly Endowment Incentive
Will lead to an additional $20,000 annually in community grantmaking dollars.

The Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) is pleased to announce a new matching opportunity. The match is being made possible by the Lilly Endowment Inc., of Indianapolis, Ind., which recently offered the SCCF the opportunity to match up to half a million dollars. This matching program is a part of Phase VI of the Endowment’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) Initiative.

The matching campaign has two goals: The first is to increase the community granting capacity of the SCCF by matching gifts to Starke County’s community funds $1 for $1, up to $250,000. The second goal is to make the SCCF sustainable by making a donation of $1 to the SCCF operational fund for every $2 given to any of the SCCF’s other endowment funds, up to $250,000.

A generous Starke County donor has already made a gift that meets the second goal and fulfills that half of the matching opportunity.

Over the next 18 months, Starke County must raise $250,000 in gifts to existing or new community funds. “This is a rare opportunity to double a gift of any amount to a community fund,” said SCCF President Jennifer Gappa. “We are so pleased and honored to be selected by the Lilly Endowment to participate and build a bright future for Starke County.” The matching opportunity ends March 31, 2016 or sooner if funds are raised earlier.

Community funds are what allow the SCCF to award grants to Starke County’s most deserving projects and programs each fall. “We currently are able to award around $25,000 every fall. If this campaign is successful, we’ll be able to nearly double that number each year forever,” said Sarah Origer, SCCF Director of Development.

Previous grants awarded from community funds include grants to the SCILL Center’s Welding Program, Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, Starke County Youth Club, and support to Starke County library systems, to name just a few. In 2013, dollars from community funds were also used to create the Starke County Preschool Scholarship Program, which provides preschool scholarship to needy children in the county.

Since 1996, more than $1.7 million dollars have been granted to local organization projects through Starke County community funds.

If the campaign is successful, the dollars raised and matched in endowed community funds over the next 18 months of the campaign will translate into grants of nearly $1 million over the next 25 years and grants of more than $2 million over the next 50 years. “This really illustrates the power of building endowments for our community,” said Gappa.

On July 16, the Lilly Endowment announced this sixth phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) Initiative for Indiana Community Foundations. In that announcement, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development Ace Yakey said, “The success of Indiana community foundations over the intervening years has far exceeded the Endowment’s expectations when GIFT began.”

Lilly Endowment launched the GIFT Initiative in 1990 to help Indiana communities build endowments to become self-reliance and better able to support local projects and programs, which improve the life in each county and community in Indiana.

There are 94 community foundations throughout Indiana that make grants to support local charitable organizations in all of Indiana’s 92 counties. Since 1990, the aggregate value of the assets of Indiana community foundations that have regularly participated in GIFT has increased from about $30 million to nearly $2 billion, and those community foundations have paid grants totaling more than $915 million.

The total amount the Lilly Endowment has provided over this time period for asset building grants has been approximately $258 million. “These impressive results would not have been achieved without the imagination, generosity, commitment and leadership of thousands of donors, volunteers and foundation staff members throughout the state. We are amazed at the Hoosier philanthropic spirit,” Yakey said.