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Starke County


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3rd Annual Starke County Preschool Fair
Tuesday, April 26th, 4:30 - 6:00pm CT

Is your organization in some way involved in the healthy development of preschoolers, toddlers, and infants in our community? Or do you in some way serve the parents or grandparents of young children? If so, please be a vendor at the 3rd Annual Starke County Preschool Fair!

This is a great opportunity for you to meet and mingle with potential clients, members, patients, etc. Parents and grandparents along with their preschoolers, toddlers, and infants are encouraged to attend. An extensive marketing campaign is underway via local radio, the local newspapers, and fliers around the community.

Last year’s Preschool fair featured 30 vendors including preschools, service providers, libraries, medical providers, and much more. This year’s fair will offer a free meal to attendees, face painting for the kids, as well as free car seat inspections, which are being offered by the Starke Hospital.

Find the vendor application here. Please return it by Tuesday, April 19th, and contact Sarah Origer with questions.

Find the event flyer here (large)(small). Spread the word by posting it in your office and sharing it with your clients, students, etc.! We are happy to provide copies. Simply contact Sarah Origer via email or call 574.772.3665.

This year’s Preschool Fair is being organized by the Starke County Early Childhood Advisory Council and is being sponsored by the Starke County Community Foundation, Starke Hospital, and Moving Starke County Forward.

We sincerely appreciate your contributions to the healthy development of preschoolers and their parents in our community, and we hope to see you at the Preschool Fair on April 26th!

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.