Author Archives: Leanna

The Outtakes – Merry Christmas!

When the office contains three people you try your very best to take that picture-perfect Christmas photo. Well, let’s just say we rotated spots, didn’t know what to do with our hands, and ended up in a different location…. enjoy our bloopers!

Community Foundation Awards $93,384 to area nonprofits

Community Foundation hosted a reception on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to recognize recipients of the $93,384 awarded from its Fall Community Impact Grants Cycle.

More than 25 nonprofit executives and representatives gathered along with Community Foundation board members, volunteers, and staff to celebrate.

The Community Foundation awarded grants to sixteen nonprofit organizations during the fall grant cycle. Each nonprofit organization shared a brief presentation about their upcoming project and the mission of their organization.

The Community Impact Grants are made possible by the generosity of donors who give to the unrestricted and field of interest funds at the Foundation.

For over 30 years, the Community Foundation has remained committed to its mission of “inspiring and sustaining generosity, leadership and service in LaGrange County.” The Community Impact Grant Program supports grants in six interest areas: arts and culture, health and human services, recreation, environment, community development and education.

Through our grantmaking program we are able to ensure a lasting legacy for our funders who have made a long-term commitment to support positive growth of our nonprofit community in LaGrange County. We are honored to support many deserving nonprofit organizations who are improving the quality of life in our community and helping meet critical and unmet community needs.

Octavia Yoder, Executive Director

The 2022 Fall Community Impact Grant recipients include:

  • Agape Child Care Ministry, Agape Professional Development and Cleaning Support, $10,000;
  • Agape Missions of LaGrange County, Agape House Ministry Recovery, $10,000;
  • Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Client Advocate and Client Services Program for LaGrange County, $3,500;
  • Clothes & Food Basket of LaGrange County, Hungry No More, $7,500;
  • Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana Inc, LaGrange County Farm Wagon Mobile Pantry Program, $2,000;
  • Community Improvement League of South Milford Indiana, resurrecting/rebuilding the military memorial monument, $10,000;
  • Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center, Inc., Amish Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Education, $2,809;
  • Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, “Meat” The Need, $2,000;
  • Junior Achievement of LaGrange County, Elementary Programs, $3,000;
  • LaGrange County Soil & Water Conservation District, SWCD Conservation Drone Program, $8,000;
  • LaGrange Night to Shine, Night to Shine, LaGrange County, $5,000;
  • Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House, Overnight Accommodations for LaGrange Families $2,000;
  • Purdue Extension LaGrange 4-H Youth Development, Youth Programming with the Blender/Spin-Art Bike, $3,075.00;
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana, Ronald McDonald House Programs for LaGrange County Families, $2,000;
  • Shore Church FBO Shipshewana Ministerial Association, Shipshewana Ministerial Association assistance fund, $2,500; and
  • The ARC of LaGrange County, Arc’s Summer Discovery Program, $20,000.

Each year, the Community Foundation seeks proposals for charitable projects and programs that help local nonprofit organizations provide services in LaGrange County. The Grants Advisory Committee reviews the submitted grant applications and makes recommendations to the Board of the Directors who approve the grant awards.

For more information on Community Impact Grants or to apply visit: Community Impact Grants Information.

Arts Revival

LaGrange County Arts ready to support, promote the local arts community

A new community group hopes to revive the arts in LaGrange County and establish a highly visible arts community.

LaGrange County Arts is a collective of local artists and art appreciators who believe in promoting, presenting, and supporting the literary, musical performance, visual and theatrical arts in LaGrange County.

Led by retired art teacher Mary Woodworth, the fledgling group held its first community event on July 2, an inaugural art show at the LaGrange County courthouse lawn. The event coincided with the unveiling of the Hometown Heroes banner presentation.

The art show featured photographers, painters, writers and performing artists. Bethi Lewis & The Electric Pineapple performed in the gazebo, followed by teen band Portmanteau.

LaGrange County Arts Inaugural Art Show on July 2, 2022 at the LaGrange County Courthouse.
LaGrange County Arts Inaugural Art Show on July 2, 2022 at the LaGrange County Courthouse.
Corn School Face Painting Booth

During the Corn School street festival in October, LaGrange County Arts hosted a children’s Creation Station at the Garage Community Center in LaGrange. During festival hours, children were encouraged to stop in to create works of art and enjoy cider and donuts.

LaGrange County Arts’ teen advisors also coordinated a face painting booth during Corn School and provided face painting for nearly 100 children.

As LaGrange County Arts continues to grow, the group plans on hosting more art shows and events with educational opportunities. Their goal is expand their events and increase awareness of the arts within LaGrange County.

LaGrange County Arts is fiscally sponsored by the LaGrange County Community Foundation. Donations to support the promotion of the arts in LaGrange County is tax-deductible. To donate to LaGrange County Arts, checks must be out to the LaGrange County Community Foundation, with “LaGrange County Arts” in the memo line.

For more information on LaGrange County Arts, visit the group’s Facebook page.

LaGrange County Arts showcases its parade float during the Corn School street festival in LaGrange.

Fall Community Impact Grants Now Available

The LaGrange County Community Foundation is now accepting applications to its Community Impact Grants program.

Community Impact Grants are available to nonprofit organizations serving LaGrange County. These grants are made possible through the generosity of donors who have supported the unrestricted and field of interest charitable funds at the Foundation.

Community Impact Grant applications will be due September 1. The Community Foundation seeks proposals for innovative or creative projects with significant impact in LaGrange County.

Nonprofit organizations serving LaGrange County are eligible to apply in six areas: arts & culture, recreation, health and human services, community development, education and environment. Previous Community Impact Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 per award.  

To submit an application visit >>

All applications are due September 1, 2022.

Please contact Leanna Martin at or call 260-463-4363 for questions or more information.

Community Foundation Awards $47,500 in Community Impact Grants

The LaGrange County Community Foundation awarded $47,500 to four nonprofit organizations during its 2022 Spring Community Impact Grants cycle.

The grants will address community needs in education and health and human services. One of the grants will support the development of the Community Health Clinic in Shipshewana. The Community Health Clinic is a nonprofit healthcare facility that focuses on research and specialized care for individuals with rare genetic conditions.

Pictures above left to right: Jared Beasley, Executive Director of the Community Health Clinic; Octavia Yoder, Executive Director of the LaGrange County Community Foundation; Dr. Zineb Ammous, Clinical Geneticist and Medical Director of the Community Health Clinic.

We are excited to support the Community Health Clinic’s new facility. The expanded clinic will help their organization provide better services to their patients and continue to serve the community with comprehensive medical genetics care. All of the nonprofits are providing important services and programs to the LaGrange County community. We are thrilled to support their efforts as they seek to improve the quality of life and help meet critical community needs.

Octavia Yoder, Executive Director of LaGrange County Community Foundation

The 2022 Spring Community Impact Grant recipients include:

  • Community Health Clinic, Community Health Clinic Building, $40,000.
  • RespectTeam, RespectTeam programming for LaGrange County, $3,000.
  • McMillen Health, Preventative Health Education for LaGrange County youth, $2,500.
  • LaGrange County Miracle Tree, Turn Up for Teens, $2,000.

Each year, the Community Foundation seeks proposals for charitable projects and programs that help local nonprofit organizations provide services in LaGrange County. The Grants Advisory Committee reviews the submitted grant applications and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors who approve the grant awards.

The Community Impact Grants are made possible by the generosity of donors who give to the unrestricted and field of interest funds at the Foundation.

Meet Chelsea Weaver our Summer Intern

Hello! I’m Chelsea Weaver, and I’ve been a resident of LaGrange County for twenty years. I graduated from Westview High School in 2020. I studied Elementary Education at Trine University for two semesters before transferring to Western Governors University. I anticipate graduating in November of 2022.

Since Western Governors University is an online school, I had the opportunity to work at Shipshewana Scott Elementary as an intervention assistant. There, I was able to see how my coursework plays out in a real setting. When I am not focusing on my studies or working, I enjoy walking my corgi, molding pottery on my pottery wheel, and hanging out with my friends and family.

I look forward to learning how LaGrange County Community Foundation works with organizations to impact the future of LaGrange County!

Community Foundation awards $99,500 to graduating seniors

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Community Scholarship Program, which aims to support the educational aspirations of students in LaGrange County.

Through the program, the Community Foundation awarded $99,500 in scholarships to 23 graduating seniors.

The Community Scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors who are pursuing higher education at an accredited university, college, or trade school. The program has grown to 45 donor-created scholarship funds, each with its own unique criteria. Funds are created by individuals, families and businesses and are managed by the Community Foundation.

The scholarship funds support a variety of career paths such as education, agriculture, health, science, nursing, and more.    

Scholarship recipients, listed by schools, are as follows:

Lakeland High School scholarship recipients

  • Brooklynn Olinger – Allread Rife Family Scholarship; Bruce Brown Memorial Scholarship; Lakeland High School Scholarship and Mary McGawn Memorial Teaching Scholarship.
  • Cole Schiffli – Chase Scott Memorial Football Scholarship; and Joseph Willard Memorial Scholarship.
  • Isabella Rasler – Schlemmer Scholarship.
  • Jason McBride Jr. – Terry Schmidt Memorial Basketball Scholarship.
  • Keylee Fleeman – Brian Evans Memorial Scholarship and Craig & Ronda Neff Memorial Scholarship.
  • Lucile Cook – Mattea Holton Memorial Scholarship and The Bulldog Spirit Scholarship.
  • Madi Targgart – Judy Gage-Keenan Memorial Scholarship and Waddell Memorial Scholarship.
  • Pilar Canedo – Olivia Bay Lemings Memorial Basketball Scholarship and the Paul & Marian Krebs Memorial Scholarship.

Prairie Heights High School scholarship recipients

  • Alexandra German – Prairie Heights High School Scholarship.
  • Breanda Sutton – Prairie Heights High School Band Scholarship
  • Colton Penick – Prairie Heights High School Scholarship and the J. O. Mory Company Scholarship.
  • Jaden Soller – Prairie Heights High School Scholarship and the Mory Family Scholarship.
  • Katelyn Eash – The Craig & Ronda Neff Memorial Scholarship; Virgil & Florence Hardin Memorial Scholarship; The HOPE Nursing Scholarship; the Perkins Family Scholarship and the Ray & Ruth Culp Memorial Scholarship.
  • Kirsten Norton – The Beverly Todd Memorial Scholarship.
  • Samarah Orr – The Allread-Rife Family Scholarship, Amanda Crotts Memorial Scholarship and the Prairie Heights High School Scholarship.

Westview High School scholarship recipients

  • Allie Springer – Kerry Wilt-Spradlin Memorial Scholarship.
  • Bohdy Bontrager – Ellsworth Fanning Memorial Scholarship and the Rheinheimer Family Scholarship.
  • Brookelyn Lambright – The Rheinheimer Family Scholarship.
  • Isaac Rogers – Lambright Leadership Scholarship, the Mike Farmwald Scholarship and the George O. Witwer News-Sun Journalism Scholarship.
  • Jackson Minix – Lambright Leadership Scholarship, the Melvin & Marjorie Bricker Memorial Scholarship.
  • Kaylyn Gates – Lambright Leadership Scholarship, the Lyle Smith Scholarship.
  • Lillian Eash – Lambright Leadership Scholarship, Holly Petersen Memorial Science Scholarship, the James Kalb Memorial Scholarship, the Keith & Arline Davis Scholarship, the LIFE Scholarship, the Melvin & Marjorie Bricker Memorial Scholarship and the Ned Stump Memorial Scholarship.
  • Penelope Eash – The Morgan Hunter Memorial Scholarship.

Anyone can give to current scholarship funds. For more information check out the List of Scholarships or call us at 260-463-4363.

Leadership LaGrange County class honors local heroes with banner project

Local heroes will be honored through banners placed throughout the town of Lagrange in a project led by the inaugural 2021 Leadership LaGrange County class. This community action project will build pride by highlighting the contributions of those who have served our country and community.

Leadership LaGrange County is a program of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation. Participants attended leadership sessions aimed to train and prepare them for community engagement, economic development, and economic growth. Upon the completion of the sessions, the group was challenged to brainstorm and implement a community project. LaGrange County Hometown Heroes is supported by a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation.

The LaGrange County Hometown Heroes banner program will make banners available for purchase that honor LaGrange County heroes including current and former military, first responders, law enforcement, and conscientious objectors. The banners will be placed in town and will hang for one year. To honor an individual, applications can be picked up at the Community Foundation, LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, LaGrange Library, LaGrange County Planning Commission, LaGrange County Veterans Affairs Office, American Legion, and the LaGrange Town Hall.

Completed applications along with a $100* fee must be submitted by June 14, 2022, and sent to the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, 304 North Townline Road Suite 2, LaGrange, IN 46761.

For more information email Be sure to follow the story on Facebook at: LaGrange Hometown Heroes.

Want to support the Hometown Heroes program? Gifts to the LaGrange County Hometown Heroes Fund is fully tax-deductible, simply write “Hometown Heroes” in the memo line of your check to the LaGrange County Community Foundation. 

*Please make checks out to LaGrange County Community Foundation with Hometown Heroes Banners in the memo line. The $100 non-refundable fee covers the cost of the banner.

LIFE: Youth Philanthropy in Action

The LIFE program is a youth philanthropy group supported by the LaGrange County Community Foundation. LIFE provides an opportunity for young people to gain experience in community service and charitable giving. The students provide oversight to funds held at the Community Foundation. This school year LIFE offered two grant cycles awarding $11,926 to youth-serving organizations and school projects. For the complete list of LIFE grants click here.

We began our community service projects in November, serving lunch to the elderly at the LaGrange County Council on Aging.

In December students adopted a family for Christmas through LaGrange County Miracle Tree, providing funds from their own pockets as well as Community Foundation funds to support a child in need. In the spirit of Christmas, members also passed out cookies and provided in-person thank you to Sheriff’s department and local police departments.

In March the students attended Dekko Foundation’s Philpressionism, a youth pod retreat, in Kendallville. The retreat lasted two days and was packed full of community service ideas, leadership, and relationship building. They also performed a skit detailing what LIFE is.

As our LIFE program comes to an end for this school year we are headed to Miller’s Merry Manor to clean up their courtyard.

Our last meeting in May will be the retreat, where we will spend some time reflecting, team bonding, and participating in one last community service project, picking up trash along the Pigeon River as we kayak.

As we look ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, we will continue encouraging philanthropy in our community through LaGrange County youth.

For more information about LIFE, please visit,