Monthly Archives: August 2023

Mettert receives 2023 Natalie Kauffman Memorial Nursing Scholarship

LaGrange County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 recipient of the Natalie Kauffman Memorial Nursing Scholarship: Olivia Mettert.

The $1,000 scholarship supports college students and non-traditional students pursuing a degree in nursing. The scholarship is open to students who have graduated from a LaGrange County high school or adults currently working in the healthcare field in LaGrange County. Applicants must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited nursing program to be eligible.

Mettert is a 2020 graduate of Prairie Heights High School, and is entering her senior year of nursing school at Purdue University in West Lafayette.  While at home the last two summers on break, she has worked for Parkview Health in their student nursing program.  Most recently, she worked in the in Infusion Clinic at the Packnett Family Cancer Institute on Parkview’s main campus.

In her scholarship application Mettert wrote: “My hope and reasoning is to be a nurse that provides individualized and compassionate care for all individuals regardless of what their situation may be. By providing this compassionate and individualized care for all patients, their care will not only be optimal, but their lives may be changed by the experience that they have had.”

The scholarship honors Natalie Kauffman, a 2010 Lakeland High School graduate.  Kauffman passed away on October 18, 2013, while a junior in the nursing program at IPFW. She demonstrated love, respect, and compassion for others, and carried the belief that people are on earth to help each other. The Kauffman family established the scholarship to promote those ideals, support aspiring nurses, and continue Natalie’s legacy of helping others.  

Nonprofits share their experiences applying for a Community Impact Grant

We talked to two LaGrange County nonprofits who received a Community Impact Grant in 2022 to hear about their experiences applying for funding and any tips they had to share with fellow nonprofits seeking grant funding.

Purdue Extension: Blender/Spin Art Bike

Purdue Extension of LaGrange County received a Community Impact Grant of $3,075 to purchase a Blender/Spin Art Bike for youth programming. The bike is used to educate children on healthy food choices and the impact on mental and physical health. The bike has a smoothie and blender attachment, allowing students to see create their own smoothies while biking; the bike also also has a spin art attachment and students can create unique works of art.

The Blender/Spin-Art Bike has frequently been on the road since being introduced to LaGrange County. It’s made appearances at several schools, community libraries, camps, and other events, and has been very popular in each location.

Brittany Gilger, LaGrange County’s 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, answered a few questions about the grant process that might be beneficial to future applicants.

How did receiving a Community Impact Grant impact your organization?

Receiving the grant for the Blender/Spin-Art Bike from the Community Foundation helped Purdue Extension and LaGrange 4-H deliver innovative programming to youth and adults in LaGrange County focused on topics such as healthy living and STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Would you encourage others to apply? Did you think the application process was difficult?

I would encourage others to apply for the grant. I think it is a great way to get funds/resources for your organization through a local foundation that wants to serve the community. The grant process was easier than others that I have worked with and the Community Foundation was always available to help answer any questions that I had.

If there was one thing that you could share about your experience applying for the grant what would that be?

The Community Foundation has been a wonderful group to work with. They have made the process simple. I love that they have partnered with us in a shared mission of serving LaGrange County.

Want to experience a Blender/Spin-Art Bike demonstration?

Contact Brittany about the program and schedule a demonstration at your event, school, or youth program. You can reach Brittany at the Purdue Extension office at 260-499-6334 or email her at

Community Health Clinic: Building Project

The Community Health Clinic hosts their official Open House to the public on Saturday, September 9, from 2-6 p.m. in Shipshewana.

The Community Health Clinic in Topeka received a $40,000 Community Impact Grant toward their new facility in Shipshewana, a $4 million project.

Blake Andres, the Director of Development & Planning, recently gave a tour of the facility to a few of the Foundation staff. The 25,000 square-foot facility is almost near completion. The staff is currently moving into the building; some of facility will be furnished over time as the need arises and programming increases.

The staff was impressed by the simple, yet high-tech facility. The Community Health Clinic was conscious of cost and designed the building plan with future growth in mind. With large windows throughout the facility, there is not a bad view of Shipshewana.

It was great to see Blake’s enthusiasm and excitement for the project, and to hear how the new facility will elevate the level of care for people with genetic diseases.

Blake shared his thoughts on the grant process and any helpful information he could pass along to potential grantees:

The Community Health Clinic’s new facility features large windows throughout, letting in beautiful natural light and creating a calming atmosphere.

“Since seeing our first patient in 2013, The Community Health Clinic has been operating out of 3600 sq. ft. of leased basement space which in recent years, has become mission limiting. Early in our capital campaign planning for a new facility, we were fortunate to have some helpful conversations with the Foundation. They encouraged us to apply for a Community Impact Grant.

Our successful grant application had a significant impact on the trajectory of our project. Of course the funds were helpful, but of equal importance, engagement with LCCF helped us leverage the interest of other potential contributors.”

Based on his experience, Blake would encourage other community-based organizations to apply. Here are few of this suggestions:

  • Take the time to review the grant guidelines carefully and scrutinize your proposed project to see if your proposed project outcomes match the Foundation’s current priorities.
  • Reach out to the Foundation staff to confirm your organization’s eligibility and answer any questions you may have about the overall granting process.
  • The process is not difficult, but should not be rushed. Communicate with the Foundation team and assemble your draft application materials early in the grant cycle. Give yourself and your work colleagues the time to carefully evaluate your draft narrative and supportive materials.

Lilly Scholar shares wisdom from application process and beyond

Arianna Smith received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in the winter of 2017, during her senior year at Lakeland High School. She recently shared with us some of her experience in applying and what she has been able to accomplish since receiving the Lilly Scholarship.

What did you study in college?

I majored in Computer Science and minored in Law & Society at Purdue University.

How did the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship change your life?

It’s had an unbelievable impact. It gave me the opportunity to attend an amazing college program that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. During my time in college, I made great friends & connections and I had really meaningful personal & professional experiences. I learned so much and I wouldn’t have been able to without the support of the scholarship.

Where did you attend college? What were some highlights from your college experience?

I attended Purdue University in West Lafayette. Some highlights include yearly Friendsgiving (at the dining court or friend’s apartments); taking dance and art classes for fun; mentoring and teaching other students as a lecturer and Teaching Assistant; and meeting people from all kinds of backgrounds.

What are you doing today?

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Computer Science in fall 2022. I now live in Seattle, Washington, where I’m a software engineer at Microsoft. I’m about to have my one-year anniversary at work, and I love my job!

What would you like to tell students who are considering applying for the LECS?

If you’re thinking of it, do it! LECS is an amazing opportunity to grow and experience new things. You can accomplish more than you can imagine with it. LECS also provides you with a community of people that you can look to for support, so if you ever feel unsure, you’ll have that network to lean on.

Arianna Smith grew up in Howe, Ind. She received the LaGrange County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in 2017, and now lives in Seattle, Wash., and works for Microsoft.

When completing the application, what tips would you give to students?

Really think about what you are passionate about and why, and try to communicate that at every stage of the application. Ask your friends, family, teachers, etc. for advice about your application at every stage. It can be intimidating to share with others, but it will be worth it in the end.

How engaged are you in your community today? What do you find important in life?

I’m engaged with my community in Washington through volunteering and mentoring, and I think about my community back home all the time. The support that I received (financial, emotional, mental – all of it!) has allowed me to feel confident in setting and pursuing my goals. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the people in my life who have known and encouraged me, and I feel stronger and more sure of myself when I remember that they believe in me. That community support and encouragement is what I find most important in life, and it’s something that I want to be able to provide to others as well.

Receiving the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship can open doors for students. It’s exciting to see what recipients like Arianna are able to accomplish with the help of the Lilly Scholarship.

Students graduating from a LaGrange County high school with a minimum GPA of 3.75, and plans of attending an Indiana accredited college or university in the fall 2024, are eligible to apply for the Lilly Scholarship.

Specific information about the application requirements are available at Applications are due September 8, 2023.