Introducing NICF Board Member Caroline Jones

Introducing NICF Board Member Caroline Jones

Caroline painting outdoors at the Converse Paint Out

The NICF is excited to introduce board member Caroline Jones. Caroline is such a joy to be around. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a pillar of our community! Get to know Caroline:

1. Where did you grow up, and where did you go to school? Also, tell us about your family.

I’m the sixth generation of my family to live in Fulton County; my g-g-g-grandparents received government land grants and came to northeast Fulton County in the 1830s when it was still covered in old-growth forest. I grew up on a farm at the south edge of Rochester; the farm is now a commercial area with a shopping center, restaurants, and motels. Our county has gone through many changes over the years!

I went to Rochester schools and then studied accounting at IUPUI when I lived in Indianapolis.

I have two wonderful and talented daughters: Sally Stephen, who lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Rachel Stephen, who lives in Rochester and works in Warsaw.

Caroline with her daughters, Rachel Stephen and Sally Stephen, and Ollie the Dog

2. What are your hobbies and interests?

I’ve enjoyed renovating my home; finding the 1913 house I’d always wanted brought me back to Rochester after living 21 years in Indianapolis. I love to paint with oils, especially in the outdoors with friends. I like working on my family genealogy and help others with their genealogy, too. I love music and concerts. I enjoy traveling to new places and old, especially if there’s history or music involved!

3. What is your job title and/or what organizations are you involved with in the community?

My job title is ‘Happily Retired’!

For generations, my family has understood the importance of serving our community, and my sister and I learned from our parents at an early age that we should be involved in helping others. I belong to the Fulton County Historical Society Genealogy group and organize the IOOF Cemetery Tour every summer. I’m the Exhibit Coordinator for the Fulton County Library’s Art Gallery space, where we put up new exhibits by local artists about seven times a year. I’ve been active in the Democratic party since I was a teenager, both as a volunteer and as an elected official. I was the first woman ever elected to the Rochester City Council, and served for three terms. I’m now a member of the Rochester Water Works Board.

4. What do you like most about your community?

There are lots of things to like about our community, but where would our community be without our wonderful volunteers? So many Fulton County folks give hours of their time so that other people’s lives can be improved or enriched in some way. Our community is a much better place because of their commitment to others.

Caroline with quilters Kay Horn and Patty Pace at the Fulton County Library Gallery’s quilt exhibit

5. How did you become involved with the Community Foundation?

Not too long after I moved back home to Rochester, Brian Johnson invited me to lunch to talk about the Community Foundation, and the next thing I knew I was on the Fulton County board!

6. What do you like about the Community Foundation? What role do you think it plays in the community?

I’ve always felt that our county’s five libraries are the hub of their towns. There was a time when libraries were quiet places where people came in, borrowed books, and left; but now they are places where people of all ages gather, learn, and enjoy all kinds of events.

If the library is the hub, then I feel that in 25 years the Community Foundation has become the heart and soul of our community and county. Wonderful local people understand the importance of creating funds, leaving legacies, and giving donations to the Foundation. The Foundation is the steward and clearinghouse for the funds; and then it gives out grants and scholarships that have the power to impact individuals’ lives and our local organizations for years to come.

There’s so much to love about our Community Foundation!