Dale and Lisa Caudill have been active community members since moving to Steuben County 30 years ago. From 101 Lakes Angola Kiwanis to the Community Humane Shelter, they have both served in leadership roles that help local nonprofits make a difference. For Lisa, serving on the Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) grants committee provided another opportunity to make a difference. As the grants committee was reviewing applications and learning about upcoming nonprofit projects, she had a “lightbulb moment,” realizing that the community foundation is a way to learn what the nonprofits are needing—from the perspective of an individual who wants to get involved. “Any person who wants to help can start a Donor Advised Fund at SCCF, and it opens up a huge door to the needs in our county. If they think, ‘I don’t know how to help, I don’t know what’s needed,’ then this gives them an answer.” In July of 2019, they established the Dale and Lisa Caudill Community Fund to do just that.
Dale and Lisa both grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended rival high schools. Dale studied marketing management at Central Michigan University and had a long career with Kmart that led the couple to live in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio in both large and small communities. They came to Steuben County when Dale was assigned to open the Angola store in 1988, and he worked there as a manager for 12 years, then was a district manager. Lisa worked in banking for 25 years, then spent her last 5 years at the Steuben County Community Foundation before retiring in 2013.
When they first moved to Steuben County, they visited on a Sunday afternoon in January and saw the roads were deserted. Having grown up in a large metropolitan area, Lisa was afraid Angola was “too small.” As was typical in the retail world, Dale thought they’d be in the community for only three years. But when that first summer rolled around, they saw Steuben County change and began to meet people and get involved. As time went on, Dale began to turn down transfers to other Kmart locations, which was unheard of in those days. They fell in love with the area, and have never regretted their decision to make Steuben County their permanent home.
Dale and Lisa hope to use their Donor Advised Fund to support nonprofits that are providing crucial services and innovative programs for local community members. These funds are often permanently invested, and donor advised fund holders make recommendations for how to utilize the earnings to support community projects. Lisa shared, “We can’t do much about a lot of the world’s big problems. It can feel paralyzing to watch the news and feel helpless, but we’re certainly not helpless when it comes to concerns in Steuben County.”
Individuals can establish donor advised funds through Steuben County Community Foundation to learn about upcoming local initiatives and support projects that benefit the community.