We Had a Party

A couple of weeks ago, your Owen County Community Foundation threw a party – an education party.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we gathered with our scholarship award recipients, their families, many of the donors who made these awards possible, and many volunteers who carry out the hard work of reviewing the scholarship applications. We hosted high school students from both Cloverdale and Owen Valley High Schools and adult students who are already enrolled in post-secondary course work.

This is the first time your OCCF has undertaken this approach to awarding our scholarships. We wanted to find a way that we could recognize the wonderful work these students have done to prepare for their continuing education and, at the same time, thank the donors who made the donations that founded or added to our scholarship funds. Most of all, we wanted to bring those two groups together.

In my experience with our awards and our donors, there is nothing quite like handing the award envelope to a student who will benefit directly from your generosity. Or in many cases, an award is being given in memory of someone special and the award presentation is an honor to that person. I have also learned that the vast majority of our award recipients really love the chance to thank their beneficiaries face to face. By bringing these folks together, we and our guests were fortunate to watch the interaction and the good feelings being shared right here in our local high school where we hosted the event.

We had some tasty treats after the awards, thanks to Cassie Britton. Also during the reception following the program, we brought in Natalie Norton, a local photographer, to record the happy day and the friendly meetings of donor and scholarship recipient. While enjoying sweet treats or waiting in line for a commemorative photo, donors and scholars were able to chat and discuss the backgrounds of the students and the stories behind the scholarship awards.

The educational achievement stories that came from the combined narrative of the student’s academic plans and the donor’s giving plans were inspirational. None of the stories were more poignant than watching Tina Hall receive the Roma Wilson Scholarship (and a couple more awards). This award was created by the children of Roma Wilson (and expanded by her grandchildren and great grandchildren), a long-time Owen County educator, to help mothers, like Roma, return to school to continue their education and better support their families. Tina will be able to work on her studies in specialized education now with a little less debt hanging over her head. We were so happy for Tina and Roma’s family as their paths met up at our education party.

We also recognized the Owen County Lilly Endowment Community Scholar for 2019, Andrew Mauder. He and the finalists for the award were presented with a plaque to honor their accomplishments. The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECS) is just one of our 58 funds, but since we began presenting the award in 1998 it has become the premier academic award for Owen County graduating seniors. With full tuition for four years at an Indiana college or university and a $900 annual book stipend, the LECS provides a top student with a real lift to their educational plan.

We were also honored to be involved with some special memorial gifts and even a wedding anniversary gift that were made to add to the regular payouts of a couple of our awards. The Roma Wilson Scholarship was increased through a gift in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Proctor. This year’s Educators Philanthropic Investment Chapter (EPIC) Scholarship was also increased with a gift in honor of Ginny and Jim Coppedge’s 50th wedding anniversary and Jim’s many contributions to education in Owen County. We are very pleased to be a part of this generosity.

In total, we awarded over $58,000 (not counting the LECS) in 51 different awards to 32 Owen County students. Award after award presented represented a student working to achieve their educational goals and a donor or group of donors who worked to achieve their philanthropic goals. Both help our community immensely. We are thankful to all who participated and to our two wonderful school systems who support our scholarship program.

We had fun. Our guests had fun. So, plan on joining with us next year because we’ll be partying again in 2020.

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. And we thank our donors and our community for their support.

If you would like to know more about how you can support the scholarship program at your OCCF or maybe you have ideas about promoting education in other ways, contact us. You can email me at mark@owencountycf.org, visit us online at www.owencountycf.org, visit us in person at our office on the south side of the Courthouse Square, 60 E. Market Street, or just give me a call at 812-829-1725.