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By JoAnna Ness, Aug 20 2018 02:00PM

On a recent sunny day, crews from Gene Stratton-Porter (GSP) and Blue Heron Ministries trekked out to the Hemingway Wetlands where GSP is in the process of returning reclaimed farmlands to their natural grasses. Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) was able to gather these groups together thanks to a generous gift from Cheryl Taylor and through the fund she established at SCCF in honor of her husband’s 30 years of service to the DNR and his passion for conservation. The Ralph and Cheryl Taylor Conservation Fund was established as a surprise for him in 2003, and after his passing in 2009, Cheryl has ensured that his legacy lives on through projects like this one.

For this project, Blue Heron Ministries planted two grass-like plants around the islands in the wetland area to keep geese from climbing onto the land, reducing the likelihood they will nest there and spread disease. The two plants are sedges and bulrush, which are native to the area and grow in wetlands. Currently, there is a fence around many of the islands in the wetland area. Once the new plants have grown up, they will form a natural fence that replaces the current structure.

Cheryl’s gift to SCCF was at the center of this collaborative effort, with the Nature Conservancy donating the plants, Blue Heron Ministries installing the plants, and the community around Gene Stratton-Porter benefitting from the conservation of their wetlands. The grant request was part of a State Museum initiative to restore lands in Indiana to the way they were in the 1800s.

By JoAnna Ness, Aug 14 2018 02:47PM

Entering her senior year at Fremont High School, Autumn Godwin has a lot on her plate. In addition to applying at colleges, playing softball, attending meetings for National Honors Society and Student Council, and helping with Boomerang Backpack, she’s taken on the challenge of serving as President of Forever Improving Steuben County Together—better known as FIST. This is SCCF’s youth philanthropy group. Once a month, about five students from each of the Steuben County schools ranging from 8th grade to seniors will sit in a board room and review grant requests, discuss community needs, and identify ways to give back. Although the youth are supported by three school volunteers and SCCF’s Youth Philanthropy Coordinator, Susie Nafziger, FIST is entirely student led. Autumn will work with her executive team to set each meeting’s agenda, reach out to nonprofits for service opportunities, and determine where their pool of grant dollars can make the biggest community impact.

In the past, FIST has worked with elementary school classrooms to share the concepts of philanthropy—time, talent, and treasure—and give them a taste of grantmaking. FIST members have also visited with residents at Cameron Woods who would never have heard about the group otherwise, bridging generational gaps and building connections in the community.

By JoAnna Ness, Aug 14 2018 02:22PM

A public park is a great place to gather people and enjoy sunshine, green trees, and a fun playground. However, the restrooms at the Friendship Playground made the overall experience a little smellier than was ideal. Recently, Angola Parks & Recreation was able to make some big improvements thanks in part to a fund created at the Steuben County Community Foundation in 1997 by the Angola Parks & Recreation Board. The Angola Parks & Recreation Capital Improvement Fund was established to support the inevitable capital improvements that are needed at any parks department. Over time, with accrued interest and donations from community members, the fund has grown significantly. The Parks & Recreation Department was able to use over $10,000 from the fund to offset the cost of sewer work and construction of brand new restrooms. Now, they are proud to offer new, clean restrooms that improve safety and make visiting the park a more enjoyable experience. For community members and families who recently enjoyed the annual July 4th celebration and fireworks show or chose to spend their Saturday on the monkey bars, the new restrooms are a great improvement.

“With the help of the Steuben County Community Foundation, we had the ability to provide residents with the restrooms compatible with that of a City Park.”

–Matt Hanna, Superintendent of Angola Parks & Recreation

By JoAnna Ness, Aug 1 2018 05:00PM

Steuben County women will soon have a new option for receiving free healthcare. With support of a grant for $12,000 from the Women’s Fund of Steuben County Community Foundation, Cameron Hospital is opening the Women's Health STI Clinic on August 1st. Women will be able to receive free, confidential testing, with treatment available through the clinic for women who receive a positive test result and their partners. Additional information on safe sex, the impact of STIs, and counseling will be available through the clinic as well.

Susan Allshouse, a member of the Women’s Fund of Steuben County Community Foundation, shared her excitement for the community impact this program will create. “I am very happy that this clinic will be available to all women to allow them to seek help when they may not have otherwise. I particularly hope that this will help stop or to some degree alleviate the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially among college students and other young adults who may be too scared to seek help otherwise.”

The Women’s Fund is pleased to support this community program and address an important health concern for Steuben County women. The clinic will be located at the Urgent Care of Cameron Hospital building at 1381 Maumee Street in Angola (next to the Dairy Queen). Clinic parking and entrance are at the back of the building.

By JoAnna Ness, Jun 26 2018 01:00PM

Ramona Holsinger was a celebrated figure of Steuben County, who made the world a little brighter every day of her 102 years. When she passed away on June 13, 2017, Ramona made a final demonstration of her generosity by gifting her estate to the Steuben County Community Foundation for the creation of the Ramona Holsinger Physical Education Scholarship fund. Ramona’s incredible gift of over $212,000 will establish a permanently endowed fund at SCCF. Starting spring of 2019, annual earnings from the fund will support students pursuing a career in the field of physical education.

Ramona was born June 1, 1915 in Muncie, Indiana. She attended Ball State University for her bachelor’s degree, and later received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her passion in life was teaching, and Ramona dedicated over 35 years of her life to educating students in South Bend. For many years, Ramona was a frequent visitor to Steuben County after her parents bought a resort on Hogback Lake. When she retired, she decided to move to the community full time and became deeply involved in the Steuben County Council on Aging. Ramona was a strong advocate for the organization. She served in many positions on the board and as a volunteer, and she was still dancing at their fundraising events at the age of 101.

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