SCCF is thankful for Scherf’s $100,000 gift!

07 Feb SCCF is thankful for Scherf’s $100,000 gift!

Jerome “Jerry” Scherf helped kick off the Starke County Community Foundation’s (SCCF) matching opportunity with a gift of $100,000, which will be matched $2 for $1! The matching dollars come from Lilly Endowment Inc., which has provided $500,000 to the Community Foundation to match gifts to community funds $2 for $1 through December of 2020, or until funds are depleted!

The SCCF’s goal is to raise $250,000 to meet the entire $500,000 matching challenge. That means that this matching opportunity can provide $750,000 in community fund dollars, which will be invested and will continue to give and grow every year forever. This would result in $30,000 additional granting dollars in the first year alone! Community funds are those which provide grant dollars for the SCCF’s yearly grant cycle, which includes a grant application with no deadlines and a selection process by the SCCF’s grants committee.

Jerry moved to Starke County with his father, mother, and two brothers, Milton and Maurice, when he was seven years old. He attended Knox High School, graduating in 1951. After graduating high school, Jerry began his career as an entrepreneur. He started his career with buying and selling cars. He later began working in real estate by selling mobile homes and renting out homes.

Jerry started giving back to his community when he decided to start a scholarship fund with the Starke County Community Foundation. Jerry finds “that education is the most important thing to have today” and wanted to help others receive a quality education by starting a scholarship fund. He wanted to do something good with his hard earned dollars and help the community for years to come. “I’m thankful for Starke County because it has allowed me to become successful. I owe it all to Starke County, so I wanted to give back and help.”

After seeing the impact of his fund, he began giving back even more. This led to his $100,000 donation that will become $300,000 thanks to the match from the Endowment. The SCCF is thankful for Jerry’s generosity and leadership as a local philanthropist.

“We’re grateful for this opportunity from the Endowment, and also for Jerry’s decision to leave a legacy through gifts to the Community Foundation,” said Jessica Martinovic, SCCF Director of Development. “Meeting this match will help us to fund charitable causes in Starke County, including helping children in need, funding quality of place efforts, and so much more.”

Martinovic also emphasized that while the SCCF is so appreciative of Jerry’s generous gift, it doesn’t only take large gifts to meet this goal. “As one of our founders, Jim Hardesty, used to say, ‘If you can’t do a lot, do what you can do.’ When we all work together and do what we can, we will accomplish great things for Starke County.”

For more information or to give a gift to be matched $2 for $1, contact the SCCF at 574-772-3665 or