Making a difference: New year, new scholarship

By Mary Gibble

What an honor it is to work with caring people who wish to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Hancock County Community Foundation scholarship endowment funds are one of the many ways donors can give back in a big way. Thanks to Susan Hensley, the foundation is ringing in 2017 with a new scholarship for nursing students.

Hensley wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember.

“My mother had been in nursing school, and I used to dress up in her uniform,” Hensley recalls, though her mother married and never finished nursing school. “She had a pretty cape that was red on the inside. I used to dress up in it for Halloween. I think that had something to do with me becoming a nurse.”

In 2016, Hensley created the Hensley-Warwick Scholarship through the Hancock County Community Foundation for students pursuing a four-year nursing degree. With the scholarship name, she honors her late husband, William Hensley, and her parents, Gene and Betty Warwick.

“I think it’s important to volunteer or be involved somehow,” Hensley says. “It’s good to have a background in giving back. That’s what I did. That shaped my life in a very positive way.”

Hensley’s love for learning and serving others influenced her to create a scholarship opportunity to enable others to do the same. The Hensley-Warwick Scholarship will be granted for the first time in 2017. Selection will be based on financial need, volunteer service in a nursing or care-giving capacity, and healthy living through participation in exercise and sporting activities. Applications for 2017 scholarships will close on Feb. 1. Interested students can apply at

The Hancock County Community Foundation currently oversees about 90 scholarship funds to grant more than $250,000 to college-bound students in 2017. Each fund has its own identity with different criteria to benefit students from all walks of life. For example, the Bob Tracy Business Scholarship is for a Greenfield-Central High School graduating student planning to attend the Kelley School of Business. The Ann Waitt Memorial 4-H Scholarship is for a student completing their final year of 4-H activity. The Christine Schaefer Theatre Scholarship is for a student planning to study theatre.

After high school, Hensley attended the Indiana University School of Nursing. Upon graduating she accepted a job with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis and spent five years working in mental health at that facility.

Hensley went back to school at IU to specialize in mental health nursing. After additional training, she began working in the Community Health Network, where she spent more than 40 years. At the Indianapolis campus, she held a variety of responsibilities including overseeing the crisis team.

She met her husband, a Greenfield native, and learned she could move with him and work locally at Gallahue Mental Health Services. She served as a clinical nurse specialist in the outpatient department and got licensed to perform patient evaluations and prescribe medication.

She retired partially in 2011, continuing to work part time until 2013 when she fully retired.

Like Hensley’s fund, a scholarship fund is one way you can make an impact on Hancock County’s educational attainment in a way that is personally significant. If you’re interested in establishing a new scholarship fund or donating to an existing fund, the Hancock County Community Foundation can help you match your charitable dollars with criteria that is meaningful to you.

Mary Gibble is the president of the Hancock County Community Foundation. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield