Random Friday Roundup

During my grueling eleven minute commute from my retreat on the hill to town this week, I noticed I was getting uncomfortably warm. Then I realized that I had the heat on full with the temperature at 52 degrees. A feller can’t be sure about what weather will face him of a morning. It’s hard to keep up with this random weather, so it must be time for a random Friday roundup of some of the happenings around Owen County.

One random observation I’ll start with is that we are one lucky community when it comes to great locally owned options for a quick (or a long drawn out one, too) breakfast. In addition to the fast food options, we are blessed with Main Street Coffee, good ol’ Chambers, and our new options at the Spencer Coffee House and Crossroads 46 Diner. Each offers a friendly, local approach that I find comforting. Thanks to the families that put their investments at risk to offer us some wonderful food options. Enjoy your breakfast, Owen County.

Here at your Owen County Community Foundation, we’re staying extremely busy with a random assortment of random activities to help our communities.

Our Scholarship Program is going full bore as our volunteer Scholarship Committee members are picking up their packets of scholarship applications and beginning the difficult process of selecting recipients. We received 60 applications from high school seniors and 17 requests from students already in post-secondary education. Each of our 55 unique scholarship funds has been designed by the donors to reach students in their own way. Some awards are made based on what school a student is attending, others focus on the course of study or career plans, and several base the award on what part of the county the student is from or whether they had an ancestor attend one of the former Owen County high schools lost to consolidation. The selection process is difficult but our volunteers carefully follow, first, the eligibility requirements set up by the donors, and then select based on the criteria the donors requested.

We look forward to awarding the scholarships to help our local students later this spring. We will not be hosting our annual event this March but will be inviting all of the donors and scholarship recipients to attend a reception and awards ceremony on a Sunday afternoon in early May. We’ll be announcing the exact date shortly, so please stay tuned.

Your OCCF is also very busy talking to our donors about a wonderful match offer we received from Lilly Endowment Inc this past year. We are able to offer our donors a $2 for $1 match from the Endowment for unrestricted gifts we receive up until June 30th, 2020. We can also match pledges of gifts that will be completed by the end of 2022, so if you are interested in the possibility of adding the power of this generous match offer to your gift, let us know. We have a chance to earn a total of $500,000 in match plus your gifts, all new assets that will help produce grants to our community forever.

Another annual task we’re working on is computing the payouts from our permanent funds for 2019. Since our investment return was negative in 2018, our total payout will be slightly less than last year. Our focus is on maintaining permanent funds, so we will balance our payouts for grants and scholarships with recent earnings history and the long term viability of each fund. We use the average balance of a fund over several years to determine how much to payout. The 17% gain we had in 2017 helps us continue our support to the community, but as always, we’ll be hoping for a happier year in our portfolio in the coming months.

This week also marked my 17th work anniversary with your OCCF. I love this job and feel so fortunate to be able to work with great people here in Owen County to find ways to keep our community on a positive track. I am so thankful for the wonderful support you have given me in my position.

And thanks for the kind words of commiseration over our household’s recent bout with the flu. Sounds like a lot of folks are also fighting one malady or another. Here’s to your health.

Your Owen County Community Foundation is committed to helping our communities become better places to live, grow, and work. We value our children and want to help them succeed and be safe.

If you would like to know more about how you can work with the local charity to help Owen County, give me a call at 812-829-1725, email me at mark@owencountycf.org, visit us online at www.owencountycf.org, or stop by and visit us in person at our new office on the south side of the Courthouse Square at 60 E. Market Street in Spencer.

Quick reminder that we’ll be celebrating 25 years of service to our community and the support of our generous donors at our office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 16th. Join us and bring an item to donate to Backpack Buddies as an office warming gift.