Donor Stories


One community.

“On my honor, I will try”

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, Sarah Chappell Leinenbach and Jen Verkamp wanted to continue the Girl Scouts mission in Dubois County – to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character, and make the world a better place. The Dubois County Girl Scout Endowment was established to assist Girl Scouts in: completing Girl Scouting’s Highest Awards: the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, participating in travel and leadership experiences; and engaging in projects to make our community a better place.

Celebrating old Jasper…Preserving family history.

Many people love the city of Jasper, but for the Elliott family, Old Jasper holds irreplaceable memories of their family’s history. From Casper’s father “Pop” Elliott’s involvement with three Jasper factories to his own lumber yard and love of the outdoors, this area of Downtown Jasper has set the scene for much of the Elliott family’s success. His wife, Connie Elliott took pride raising her 12 children across the street from where her grandfather, John Melchior helped to build St. Joseph’s church, again placing Old Jasper deep into the family’s hearts. For three generations, the Elliott family will continue to foster their love of the city through donation to ROJAC because supporting the Redevelopment of Old Jasper doesn’t only assist in enhancing their beloved city, but keeps their family history alive forever.

A Community’s Keepsake, a Guarantee for Greatness

For the Town of Ferdinand, the Forest Park Marching Ranger Band is the definition of greatness. 40 years of superior results in state marching band championships speak for themselves – 33 times the Marching Rangers have placed in the top 10 in the ISSMA State Marching Band Finals, including 9 runner-up finishes and 7 state championships. For the preservation of this valuable asset, an endowment was established. Both as a vehicle for planned giving and a perpetual source of additional funds, the Forest Park Marching Ranger Endowment will supplement and compliment the band’s traditional funding sources. Supporting the Forest Park Marching Ranger Endowment helps perpetuate the “greatness” that has become the heart and soul of a community.

“I’m Just Doing What I Was Taught.”

4 Patti Goepfrich knew when her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration ended, it could be the beginning of something extraordinary. After a big celebration with family and friends, Patti wanted her parents to do something special with the generous gifts of money that they received in honor of their anniversary. Patti worked at the Community Foundation at the time, so she understood endowments. She knew her family could make an impact on the community forever, and do so in the name of her mom and dad. After thinking about the causes that mattered most to them, Joseph and Irene decided to support German heritage projects, and to name the Fairview Cemetery as a beneficiary of their grant each year. The Joseph F. and Irene C. Eckerle and Family Endowment was established in 2003. Since then, Patti and Tom Goepfrich have given each year to their family’s endowment at the Community Foundation. But it doesn’t stop there. Patti and Tom’s loyalty and commitment to the Joseph F. and Irene C. Eckerle and Family Endowment will continue beyond their lifetimes. By naming the endowment in their estate, the fund will receive generous support through a bequest in their will. The Eckerle family believes strongly in giving back. When asked about her motivation for her parents to start the endowment and naming the endowment in her estate, “I’m just doing what I was taught,” Patti says.

Remembering Connie Evans

5 Connie Evans passed away August 22, 2016, at the age of 64. She was a Community Foundation volunteer, donor, Legacy Society member and advocate, but, most importantly, she was our friend. Connie had a dream for financially struggling, future students of Color My World Preschool in Huntingburg. She wanted to ensure financial assistance to those in need, allowing any interested student the irreplaceable opportunity of a preschool education. From this dream, the Color My World Preschool Tuition Endowment was established. Upon her passing, the endowment received a portion of her estate, which means even more children will receive the assistance they need. Connie will be dearly missed but not forgotten.

Two families, Three interests, One legacy.

With a collaboration of interests, and a shared love of family, siblings Stephen, Mike, and Beth believe in supporting arts and culture in Dubois County. After the passing of their father, mother, and uncles in less than 3 years, the Fritch/Jones family wanted to commemorate their loved ones through donations to the local nonprofits that meant most to them. Consolidating two family funds (the Martin J. Fritch Foundation and the Jones Family Endowment) allowed the trio to create the “Fritch/Jones Endowment” and annually provide financial assistance to the Dubois County Museum, the Jasper Arts Center, and Actors Community Theatre, three organizations chosen by the three siblings respectively.

Their fund is unique. It doesn’t designate support to a single specific cause or organization, but reflects the diverse interests of the family as a whole, helping the entire community. For years to come, the Fritch/Jones Family Endowment, commemorating their family name, will support the causes the family feels truly are most important.

Their Son Had a Passion…They Built His Legacy From Scratch.

A legacy doesn’t just happen; it is built and cultivated by passion. After the passing of their son Jason, Mike and Lisa Feldmeyer wanted to keep their son’s memory and reputation as a golf standout of Southridge High school alive. Jason had left behind a legacy of his own. His passion for golf inspired his parents to hold an annual golf scramble in his honor in order to fund a scholarship in his name. The Feldmeyers initially decided to set up a “pass through” fund with the Community Foundation so to give a $500 scholarship for other high school golfers pursuing a degree of higher education.

What they had not planned for, however, was the support they would receive from their community. The first annual Jason Feldmeyer Memorial Golf Scramble was a complete success, but more so than Mike and Lisa had expected. The Community Foundation was then able to change their fund into an endowment, thus, allowing the Feldmeyers to grant in their son’s name for years to come. The annual Jason Feldmeyer Golf Scramble allows them to grow their endowment with the Foundation, as well as the amount they are able to annually give away. The Jason Feldmeyer Scholarship Endowment was able to award over $13,000 to graduating golfers at Southridge in 2013. Mike and Lisa Feldmeyer didn’t just have a fundraiser to commemorate their son. Through their love and compassion, they were able to build a legacy that will commemorate their Jason forever.

Jasper Lions Club Eye Care Endowment

For one individual, the mission of the Jasper Lions Club was something that mattered. So much so, he wanted to ensure the work continued beyond his own lifetime.

From the generosity of an estate gift, the Jasper Lions Club Eye Care Endowment was established in 2004.

Every year, this endowment helps visually impaired residents of Dubois County.

Providing eye screens for preschool centers, low vision machines for the sight impaired and eye-exams for children and adults that meet income guide lines, this fund continues to change lives.

“I hadn’t read a newspaper in 10 years,” a man wrote, to express his gratitude for the low-vision machine supplied by the Lions Club.

Year after year, Jasper Lions Club Eye Care Endowment gives opportunity and hope to so many in our community.

Because to someone it mattered, a legacy was created.

Huntingburg’s First Town Hall…a Preserved, Historic Treasure.

History is the proof of where we have been and how far we have come. Some of Huntingburg’s history, however, cannot be found in a book or told in a story, but has been built by the hands and hearts of those in the community, past and present.

In 1992, Phyllis Menke and her mother Marian McMurtrie established the Huntingburg Old Town Hall Endowment.

Restoring the building using materials from the Old Huntingburg High School, Phyllis and others went to work, refurbishing the building and reinstating the beautiful history it represents. Now, with the annual support of this endowment, the “Old Town Hall” will remain a historical landmark, forever preserving the memories it holds for its community.

“Orlan “Mockey” Lett couldn’t fulfill his dream during his lifetime….his legacy, however, does.

Education, more specifically obtaining a degree of higher education, was important to Orlan “Mockey” Lett. In 1929, however, Orlan was unable to accept his award of a full scholarship to Purdue University.

In 2009, the Orlan “Mockey” Lett Scholarship Endowment was established by Lett’s Children to commemorate his love for education, and to provide the opportunity for a non-traditional student to receive financial assistance for higher education.

Coach Pat Zehr Died in 2011. This year, she will help send a female athlete to college.

It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.

For female athletes, coaches, and parents of Jasper High School, Coach Pat Zehr paved the way for women’s sports. As Jasper’s first women’s volleyball and track and field coach, Pat led team after team to success. More importantly, Coach Zehr’s positive influence on countless Jasper athletes and passion for competition pushed her school to excellence.

Dr. Nancy E. Otte established the Pat Zehr Memorial Scholarship Fund not only to commemorate Pat’s accomplishments, but to allow a beloved coach’s legacy to continue giving back to Jasper female athletes forever.

A Family’s Love of Farming

For Kathy Fuhs and her family, farming is not simply an occupation, but a way of life. After the passing of her parents, Kathy decided to celebrate their memory through the creation of an endowment with the Community Foundation. Her parents’ love of farming, which had always “put food on the table” for their family, inspired Kathy to set up the Ray and Clarissa Hochgesang Endowment. The fund commemorates their lives by supporting the local food bank, ultimately putting food on the tables of those in need. Now, every year, the family’s legacy will be carried out through contributions to the Community Food bank in Jasper, and countless local families will benefit from this heart-felt contribution.

Daughters Honor Mother Through YoungLife Endowment

“It was always a dream for us,” Stacy Lindauer and Tara Popp said about establishing an endowment for YoungLife. This became possible at the passing of their mother, LaVerne Kieffner, through her estate. Tara and Stacy couldn’t think of a better way to honor their mother’s legacy than by creating a YoungLife endowment in her memory. Both serving as Area Directors, Stacy and Tara have been at the heart of YoungLife from the beginning. Although LaVerne never held a title in the organization, she was always “doing YoungLife,” said daugther, Stacy. YoungLife provides teens with the opportunity to know Christ by helping them grow in their faith. This mattered to LaVerne as she saw firsthand how YoungLife brought teens closer to Christ. “Mom loved God,” her daugthers said. During her lifetime, LaVerne made a deep impact on YoungLife by supporting her daughters, participating in YoungLife events, and even attending YoungLife camp. LaVerne continues to send kids to YoungLife camp and weekly club gathering because of the YoungLife endowment her legacy helped create. Contributing to the endowment will honor LaVerne’s service and provide YoungLife with a lasting source of income each year.