Monthly Archives: December 2019

Kurtis Davis named 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar

Kurtis Davis, a senior at Westview Jr.-Sr. High School, has been named the recipient of the LaGrange County Community Foundation’s 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Davis will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the accredited public or private college or university in Indiana of his choice, along with an annual $900 stipend for books and required equipment.

Davis is the son of Kenneth and Sherrie Davis of LaGrange. A two-sport student athlete in tennis and baseball, Davis maintains a 4.06 grade-point average. He plans to pursue a chemistry or chemical engineering degree at Bethel University or Indiana Wesleyan University.

Davis serves on National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook and the Junior Plus mentoring program. He has participated in a Tech Fest Competition.

This year, 16 applicants participated in LaGrange County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship selection process. The foundation’s Lilly Scholarship Advisory Committee narrowed the field to five finalists based upon criteria that included scholastic profile, leadership, school activities, community service, work history, essays and interview performance.

The committee’s recommendations were forwarded to Independent Colleges of Indiana, the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, for final review and selection of the recipient.

Other finalists included: Ana Wahll and Ryker Bond of Lakeland High School and Chelsea Weaver and Skyler Hawk of Westview Jr.-Sr. High School. Each of the finalists will receive a $1,000 four-year renewable scholarship from the Lambright Leadership Scholarship Fund established by Kevin and Carrie Lambright in 2013.

Since 1998, a total of 39 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships, including Davis’s have been awarded in LaGrange County. The total amount awarded to local LaGrange County students through this opportunity exceeds $3 million.

The scholarships are a result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative whose primary purposes are to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, and nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. This year, 143 scholarships were awarded statewide; the number awarded is based on the number of full-time residents. LaGrange County was offered one award in 2019. There have been more than 4,769 scholarships awarded statewide since the beginning of the program. 

$126,836 in Community Impact Grants Awarded in 2019

LCCF presents members of the LaGrange County Trails, Inc. board with a $25,000 check at the site of the trail bed that is proposed for development in Topeka. From Left, LaGrange County Community Foundation Executive Director Octavia Yoder, LaGrange County Trails President Jeff Wingstrom, LaGrange County Trails Vice President Sherryl Rhinesmith and LaGrange County Trails Treasurer Beth Sherman.

The LaGrange County Community Foundation awarded Community Impact Grants totaling $126,836 in 2019 to 18 projects and programs benefiting LaGrange County.

Through Community Impact Grants, the foundation aims to support nonprofit needs and provide innovative programs and services in LaGrange County.

LaGrange County Trails, Inc., of Topeka was among the 18 organizations who received funding. The Community Foundation awarded LaGrange County Trails $25,000 for The Hawpatch Trail, a proposed 17-mile trail that will stretch from Millersburg to Wolcottville, connecting three counties. The grant will support the early stages of developing the Hawpatch Trail in Topeka through legal fees, title research, surveying and appraisals.

Founded in 2019, LaGrange County Trails, Inc. is committed to creating hiking and biking trails for LaGrange County and to encourage safe, active, outdoor experiences.

The Town of LaGrange received $20,000 to support an inclusive park and splash pad in the heart of downtown LaGrange. The grant will support phase one of the new park, a splash pad accessible for all ages and abilities. The next phase will consist of an inclusive play area and a pavilion. Phase one will break ground spring of 2020. The Town of LaGrange Park Committee will fundraise to complete all phases. Located near the existing bathrooms this inclusive park and splash pad will serve all families of LaGrange County.

“I am so excited that the new town park is coming to fruition. We really want a space that provides play opportunities for all kids and is unique enough to bring in visitors from surrounding towns,” said Brittany Cowley, Town of LaGrange Park Committee Member.  

Each year, the Community Foundation accepts proposals for charitable projects and programs that help local nonprofit organizations provide services to LaGrange County families and individuals. The Grants Advisory Committee reviewed the submitted grant applications and made recommendations to the Board of the Directors who approved the grant awards. The grants are made possible through the generosity of donors who have supported the unrestricted and field of interest charitable funds at the Foundation. 

The 2019 Community Impact Grant awards include:

 In 2020, applications for Community Impact Grants will be accepted on April 1 and Sept. 3. To learn more, visit

LaGrange County Park employees replace the boardwalk at Pine Knob County Park. LCCF grant will support the continuation of the boardwalk at Duff Lake Fen.

The LaGrange County Community Foundation’s mission is to inspire and sustain generosity, leadership and service. Founded in 1991, the Community Foundation connects people to charitable causes and provides resources to nonprofits to make a lasting and sustainable impact.