Author Archives: Leanna

$65,000 in Spring Community Impact Awards

The LaGrange County Community Foundation awarded $65,000 in Community Impact Grants to 12 projects and programs benefiting LaGrange County.
Through its Community Impact Grants program, the Foundation aims to support nonprofit needs and provide innovative programs and services in LaGrange County. The 2021 Community Impact Grant spring awards include:
  • Veterans Headstone Project, American Flag Holder Program 19th-21st Century Military Service Project, $3,500;
  • Lagrange County Habitat for Humanity, A Brush With Kindness, $10,000;
  • Science Central, Science 4U Outreach, Interactive Video Conferencing Programs and study trips, $5,000;
  • McMillen Health, Preventive health education for LaGrange County youth, $5,000;
  • Agape Child Care Ministry, Professional development and classroom materials, $2,500;
  • Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, Meat the Need, $1,500;
  • LaGrange County Miracle Tree, Stock the Storage, $2,000;
  • The Farm Place, Inc., Animal companionship supervised visitation center, $20,000;
  • Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Indiana-Kentucky, Hands-free drinking water fountain, $2,000;
  • Brightpoint, Covering Kids and Families of Brightpoint, $5,000;
  • Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope  House, Overnight accommodations for LaGrange families, $5,000; and
  • Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Client Advocate and Client Services Program for LaGrange County, $3,500.
We will use this generous grant toward the construction of the Animal Companionship Center. Thank you again, we are so very appreciative! Keith James, board 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 reviews the submitted grant applications and makes recommendations to the Board of the Directors who approve the grant awards. For more information on the Community Impact Grant cycle or to apply click here. The Caring Community Fund supports the Community Impact Grants to make a donation click here.

$77,000 in Scholarships to Graduating Seniors

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Community Scholarship Program, which aims to support the educational aspirations of students in LaGrange County.

Eightteen graduating seniors will receive $77,000 in scholarships.

Lakeland Seniors, (left to right) Tatum Retterbush, Madison Keli, Elizabeth Jennings and Catelyn McNamara

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

We look forward to awarding scholarships to high school seniors each year, and it’s exciting to be making these awards in person again. These scholarships recognize the accomplishments the students have achieved in the last four years.

Executive Director, Octavia Yoder

2021 scholarship recipients, listed by schools, are as follows:

Lakeland Jr. Sr. High School scholarship recipients:

  • Catelyn McNamara – Wolcott Mills Bulldog Boosters Scholarship;
  • Elizabeth Jennings – Ray & Ruth Culp Memorial Scholarship, Bruce Brown Memorial Scholarship;
  • Madison Keil – HOPE Nursing Scholarship, Lakeland Scholarship, Judy Gage-Keenan Memorial Scholarship, Olivia Bay Lemings Memorial Scholarship, Paul & Marian Krebs Scholarship, Virgil & Florence Hardin Memorial Scholarship; and
  • Tatum Retterbush – Schlemmer Scholarship, Waddell Memorial Scholarship.

Prairie Heights High School scholarship recipients:

  • Abigail Hantz – Craig D. & Ronda Neff Memorial Scholarship, Ellsworth Fanning Memorial Scholarship, Kevin Lewis Purdue Ag Scholarship, Ned Stump Memorial Scholarship;
  • Amelia Johnston – Craig D. & Ronda Neff Memorial Scholarship, Holly Petersen Memorial Science Scholarship, Joseph Willard Memorial Scholarship, Melvin & Marjorie Bricker Memorial Scholarship, Prairie Heights Scholarship, Lambright Leadership Scholarship;
  • Collin Keeslar – Ellsworth Fanning Memorial Scholarship, LaGrange County Farm Bureau Co-Op Scholarship, Stan Anderson Memorial Golf Scholarship;
  • Haylee Henderson – Holly Petersen Memorial Science Scholarship, Prairie Heights Scholarship;
  • Kiana Allshouse – Peggy Messer Memorial Scholarship;
  • Madelyn Wylie – Amanda Lou Crotts Memorial Scholarship, Beverly Todd Memorial Scholarship, Perkins Family Scholarship, Prairie Heights Band Scholarship, Prairie Heights Scholarship; and
  • Raegan Moore – Prairie Heights Scholarship.

Westview Jr. Sr. High School scholarship recipients:

  • Alexis Miller – Kerry Wilt-Spradlin Memorial Scholarship, Lambright Leadership Scholarship;
  • Ava Miller – Allread-Rife Scholarship, Morgan Hunter Memorial Scholarship;
  • Hallie Mast – Lambright Leadership Scholarship;
  • Nicole Miller – Allread-Rife Scholarship, Farmwald Scholarship, James F. Kalb Memorial Scholarship, Keith & Arline Davis Memorial Scholarship, Melvin & Marjorie Bricker Memorial Scholarship;
  • Nicole Stutzman – Rheinheimer Scholarship;
  • Timothy Brandenberger – Rheinheimer Scholarship; and
  • William Clark – LIFE Scholarship, Lyle Smith Scholarship, Lambright Leadership Scholarship.

If you would like to donate to the Community Scholarship Program:

Summer Intern – Lydia

Hi, I am Lydia Johnston and I grew up right outside of LaGrange with my parents and sister. I graduated from Prairie Heights High School in 2018. This coming fall I will be a senior at Purdue University, studying Agribusiness Management.

While on Purdue’s campus, I enjoy spending time with sisters from Twin Pines Cooperative, attending football and basketball games and playing intramural sports.

During my free time, I enjoy coaching an 8U girls’ softball team, hanging out with friends and family, kayaking the Pigeon River and driving down backroads in my younger sister’s Jeep.

I cannot wait to learn more about the mission and role of the Community Foundation in LaGrange County. I am so excited to be able to work with Octavia, Leanna, and Laurie!

Open House & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On April 30, 2021, we hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to welcome our friends and family to the new facility located at 0045 N 250 W, LaGrange, IN. It was so wonderful to see everyone in person for this momentous occasion.

Left to right, Lynn Weaver, Renee Boots, Neal Wolheter, Octavia Yoder, Trevor Thain, George Brown, Randy Zimmerly, Laurie Sherck, and Leanna Martin.

Guided tours throughout the afternoon showcased the 4,000 square foot facility, which included the state-of-the-art community room. The community room is available for local nonprofits to use free of charge. The new building is easily accessible for all and there is plenty of parking.

Here’s a quick video recap, check it out.

Thank you for joining us on this beautiful day.

In case you are wondering about our previous building, it will remain vacant as the town of LaGrange and the EDC work on a plan to support revitalization in the area.

We have officially moved, our new location is: 0045 N 250 W LaGrange, IN 46761 our phone number has not changed, you may reach us at 260.463.4363. We can NOT wait to show off our new space, join us on April 30.


3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Open House

3:00 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Light refreshments will be served

Hiring – Summer Intern

We are now accepting applications for a marketing intern!

The Community Foundation is offering one paid internship opportunity for students enrolled at any Indiana higher educational institution. This internship is designed to provide meaningful projects and opportunities to help the intern develop work-related skills and assist the Community Foundation on various projects directly related to its mission. The marketing intern will be responsible for assisting with the preparation of news releases for various media outlets and or write draft articles for the Community Foundation’s print, electronic newsletters, blog or annual report. A strong candidate will hold solid communications skills and be able to articulate written content. The hours are full-time with a start date of May 10 through August 13, 2021.

For a complete list of responsibilities, requirements or to submit an application click here.

Ellsworth Fanning Memorial Scholarship

Barbara Fanning, Paul Hostetler, and other donors established the Ellsworth Fanning Memorial Scholarship in October of 1996.

Ellsworth and Edd in 1967 – visit Edd’s Supplies for more info

Ellsworth was a lifelong LaGrange County resident. He attended Brighton High School and earned a degree in agronomy at Purdue University. He taught agriculture at Shipshewana High School.

In 1960, Ellsworth, Ed Swartzendruber and Dick Leckler started Edd’s Supplies, Inc., in Shipshewana.

Ellsworth featured in Custom Applicator, 1983

You must have the right to fail to retain the right to succeed.

Ellsworth Fanning

The scholarship was established to encourage higher education in agriculture and agri-business. Over the course of 24 years, the fund has provided 36 scholarships to help students pursuing their agricultural goals.

To contribute to Ellsworth’s passion for agriculture Click here.

2019 Annual Report – Connections

The 2019 Annual Report is here! Enjoy stories from the past year and see a snapshot of the work and activities we have done within LaGrange County. See highlights of our competitive grant awards, learn about our scholarship recipients and read our financial overview.

Click here to view online

We are happy to mail you a printed copy of the 2019 Annual Report please contact us at 260.463.4363 or email us at

GIFT VII Board Engagement Grant

The LaGrange County Community Foundation has received a $100,000 grant as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) community foundation initiative.

As part of this GIFT VII grant opportunity, each community foundation that achieved 100 percent board member giving during the period from January 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, was eligible to receive an unrestricted grant of $100,000 per county served. This grant is in recognition of the important role that the LaGrange County Community Foundation’s board of directors plays in both leading the foundation and serving communities across LaGrange County.

The unrestricted grant will help fund a portion of the LaGrange County Community Foundation’s new headquarters, which will include an 800-square foot community room that will be available for nonprofit use. It is set to open in late February 2021.  

We are grateful for Lilly Endowment’s continued support. This grant accelerated our board’s initiative and promise to our community. We are excited to provide a community space for our nonprofits.

Octavia Yoder, Executive Director

To learn more about Lilly Endowment Inc. GIFT VII, click here.

Foundation Provides Operating Support to Local Nonprofits

The LaGrange County Community Foundation has awarded $35,500 in COVID-19 Recovery Grants in November to seven programs in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These grants were made possible through the generosity of donors and the United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties.

Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center, Inc. received $11,000 to support the victim assistance program. Established in 1997, Elijah Haven is committed to providing a safe, healing, nurturing environment for all individuals affected by domestic violence and to advocate violence-free living.

This grant will allow Elijah Haven to continue to serve victims of domestic violence by offering services free of charge.  Those services include, but are not limited to, support groups and individual counseling by a licensed therapist, shelter, transportation, food, basic living necessities, etc..  We are so very grateful to the LaGrange County Community Foundation and to the community for the continued support.  We could not continue to do what we do without it.

Kathy Dunafin, Executive Director of Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center, Inc.

The 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Grant awards include:

If you would like to support COVID-19 relief, please click below and be sure to designate your gift to the Good Samaritan Fund.