Program instills power in students


GREENFIELD — When students first joined the Hancock County Community Foundation Youth Board, many had no knowledge of fundraising or what an endowment was all about.

Now, the teens, who represent each of the county high schools, are deep into the program and in the midst of a major fundraising effort.

For the fourth year in a row, the community foundation is working with area students on the youth board, helping them to raise money for grants to be put to use right away in the classroom. They’re also raising funds for their district’s endowments.

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“The purpose behind the youth board is not only for those students to have a better understanding of philanthropy but also to share that with their peers,” foundation youth board coordinator Michelle Leonard said. “We think it’s important for the students to be vested.”

For each dollar the students raise, the foundation will match with $1.50 up to $7,500 though Feb. 28.

A grant from a Lilly Endowment coupled with funds from the foundation has made it possible for donations to be made to each district.

Foundation officials have tasked each district’s youth board with the responsibility of organizing events to help raise money.

All four school districts are asking for donations online at until the end of February. They’re also each hosting special fundraising events.

The students at Greenfield-Central plan to have a fundraiser during a home basketball game Feb. 7.

“We’re going to pass a bucket around to raise money,” Greenfield-Central senior Erin Kile said.

They plan to put information cards into programs and also have a free-throw-shooting contest, with all proceeds going to the cause.

Sophomore Maddie Wise said the goal is to raise $5,000.

“This is really neat,” freshman Alexi Zell said. “Not everybody gets the opportunity to help their school.”

The community foundation supports the fundraising in coordination with the county’s birthday celebration March 1.

At Eastern Hancock, the Royals are raising funds for their education foundation during senior/cheer night at a basketball game Feb. 20.

“We’ll be making announcements at the game and passing out our cards,” senior Macy Fout said.

They also set the goal of raising $5,000.

“I think it’s kind of cool because when you raise $5,000, you’re raising it for your school,” sophomore Chadsey Matlock said.

The students said learning about the fundraising process has been eye-opening.

“I had no idea about any of this kind of stuff until I got involved in the program,” junior Courtney King said.

“It’s a little tough at times, but it is fun to do,” freshman Karter Petry said.

Mt. Vernon students plan to have each school in the district raise $1,000 in hopes of getting $5,000 total for classroom grants and the Mt. Vernon Education Foundation.

“During the four years we’ve been involved in this, the kids have gotten more into it,” Mt. Vernon sponsor Derek Shelton said. “This exposes our foundation and the kids to things they are not used to being involved in.”

Mt. Vernon senior Hannah Jones said they wanted to create a competition within their schools.

“We’re also going to hang up our posters in area businesses in Fortville and McCordsville,” she said.

Students at New Palestine High School are also on board, hoping to raise $5,000, with at least $1,000 of that coming from a Foundation Feast this evening at the high school.

A spaghetti dinner on homecoming night is sure to bring in participants, the students say.

“This is my fourth year doing this, but it’s the first time we’ve had to really take a lot of action in doing something like hosting a banquet,” senior Matt Kreutzer said.

The students say learning about the business aspect of the fundraising event through the community foundation has been rewarding.

“The first year I did this, I didn’t really understand what was going on,” Kreutzer said. “But now I realize it is an awesome organization bringing the different schools together… They also taught me what an endowment was. I didn’t know before.”

The foundation has helped the youth board by investing funds for marketing tools for each school group.

Business cards and fliers were made to showcase what each district is doing to raise money.

Community foundation officials say they’re pleased to be able to donate to county schools while also teaching them about philanthropic endeavors.

“It’s very rewarding because our youth is our future,” Leonard said.

“It’s important for them to understand that giving back to your own community is a necessity for it to grow.”

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All county schools will be accepting donations for their districts fundraising efforts from now until Feb. 28. Donate online at and look for the “donate to your school foundation” tab. 

Southern Hancock:

When: Friday, Jan. 30

Where: NPHS

Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

What: Foundation Feast spaghetti dinner

Costs: $10 adults, $5 students


When: Saturday, Feb. 7

What: Celebrate Hancock County Basketball Night; free throw-shooting event, freewill donations accepted

Where: Greenfield-Central High School.

Mt. Vernon:

When: Fundraising begins Sunday and will continue through the month

What: Each school in district will try to raise $1,000 through free-will donations.

Eastern Hancock:

When: Friday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.

What: Donations collected

Where: Eastern Hancock High School during senior/cheer night. Free-will donations accepted.