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By JoAnna Ness, Jun 26 2018 02:16PM

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.

In addition to volunteering, Ramona loved to celebrate life. She had a birthday party each year and invited many friends and community members to share in the festivities. For Ramona’s 100th birthday, she was presented with a cake appropriately lit with 100 candles. “It looked like a fireball!” said Danette Kammeyer, who was Ramona’s friend and the Community Manager at Terrace Ridge Apartments where she lived. In addition to practicing calisthenics every morning, Ramona loved to watch the news and stayed on top of everything from politics to the latest vitamin craze shared on Dr. Oz. She loved to learn, reading poetry, novels, and the bible. Her lifetime of accomplishments was visible on a wall full of awards and accolades, culminating in a surprise gift of a key to the city presented by her friend, Mayor Richard Hickman.

Ramona became acquainted with Mayor Richard Hickman at the Steuben Council on Aging events and as a guest at her birthday party each year. “She always wanted to have a dance with the mayor. Anytime there was something at Terrace Ridge she invited me, and we became friends,” said Mayor Hickman. When he learned that Ramona had left her estate to the community, he was not surprised by the generous gift and remarked, “She’s going to be educating even after she’s gone.”

In a testament to her passion for teaching and connecting with youth, Ramona’s estate gift was advised through a former student who she knew for over 50 years. Retired Angola attorney and longtime friend, Tom Wilson, said “People who knew Ramona all had a good story about her.” Tom met Ramona as a 5th grade student and described her as a “great gal, but there was no nonsense for Miss Holsinger!”

With her bright personality, Ramona is remembered fondly by many in the community. She decided to leave her legacy in Steuben County, which had truly become her home in retirement. She knew the value of family, and although she was very independent, she created a supportive group around her. “Ramona had the unique ability to create family out of friends. She loved everything there was about teaching,” said Danette Kammeyer. “Ramona was teaching and loved teaching until the day she died. She loved kids, and being able to pass things onto them was special to her,” shared Mayor Hickman. Ramona would want the students who receive her scholarship in the future to fall in love with teaching and to embrace every individual student.

Steuben County Community Foundation is proud to honor her legacy in administering this scholarship, so Ramona Holsinger’s love for teaching can live on in generations to come.

By JoAnna Ness, Jun 12 2018 06:43PM

On Tuesday, June 5th, the Steuben County Community Foundation was filled with smiles as a group of scholarship recipients met with the generous donors supporting their future. The donors shared stories about what had inspired them to create a scholarship at the Community Foundation. In some cases, it was a commitment to pay it forward. Others wanted to honor the inspiring legacy of a loved one. For the donors, it was exciting to see students who had deep passions for something they both valued. Recipients were able to personally thank their donors and talk about their plans for their careers.

One student, Regan Peppler, was able to meet the donors for two of her scholarships. The family who established the Kylee Simons Scholarship was thrilled to have a recipient who is interested in teaching special education. Regan shared her excitement for the award, and said, “It was really cool to meet the person giving this scholarship, and I’m grateful for the money which is helping me achieve my goals.”

L-R: Aimee Simons, Kylee Simons, Regan Peppler, & Nate Simons

By JoAnna Ness, May 30 2018 01:00PM

Steuben County’s youth pod—FIST—celebrated another successful year of philanthropy, grant making, and community service. The 19 youth pod members are students at Fremont Community Schools, Hamilton Community Schools, and MSD of Steuben County, and they range in age from 8th grade to seniors. This year they organized a number of community service events, including a canned food drive that generated 4 truckloads of canned goods, a county-wide bone marrow drive, a day of connecting with seniors at Cameron Woods while making Christmas cards, and presentations to middle school students to define and share the meaning of philanthropy. FIST also awarded 11 grants for a total of $7,485, which supported arts projects in Steuben County schools and other community needs. Over the course of the school year, FIST was able to engage 175 other youth in philanthropic activities. Congratulations to our hard-working youth pod members on a great year!

By JoAnna Ness, May 29 2018 02:00PM

To honor the legacy of their parents after Rita's passing in 2017, a new scholarship has been established at Steuben County Community Foundation by the family of John and Rita Crimmins. The scholarship will support Angola High School graduates who are involved in Health Occupation Education courses and choose to pursue training for important health-related careers in nursing, nursing assistant, or nursing aid fields. John and Rita were active community members for many years, and Rita—a former nurse—created Angola’s vocational education program for health occupations. The John and Rita Crimmins Health Occupations Scholarship will be offered each year starting in Spring 2019. This scholarship will honor the legacy of two committed Angola residents and allow many students to gain valuable training for a fulfilling career of service in healthcare.

By JoAnna Ness, May 21 2018 01:00PM

You may notice a new face around the SCCF office and at community foundation events. JoAnna Ness joined the staff as our new Communications Director. JoAnna grew up nearby in the Ligonier area and graduated from West Noble High School. Her experiences in youth philanthropy led JoAnna to attend IU Bloomington to study Nonprofit Management, and she recently completed her Master of Arts degree in Philanthropic Studies at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She returns to Steuben County after a summer internship with SCCF in 2017—now responsible for sharing donor stories and highlighting the many ways the foundation is making a positive impact in the community.

Feel free to contact JoAnna to share donor stories, or simply to introduce yourself as part of the community!

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