Formal Affair: Foundation celebrates community’s generosity at 30th anniversary gala


A crowd of 200 people attended the Hancock County Community Foundation’s 30th anniversary gala on Friday, Nov. 11 at Daniel’s Vineyard in McCordsville. Foundation leaders made a number of announcements, including an upcoming name change and the launching of a new website, in addition to sharing the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised to support the community throughout the past year.

McCORDSVILLE – The Hancock County Community Foundation celebrated a major milestone at its 30th anniversary gala on Friday, Nov. 11.

Two hundred people gathered at Daniel’s Vineyard in McCordsville to commemorate the occasion, with a formal evening of dinner and dancing.

Foundation president and CEO Mary Gibble shared a number of big announcements throughout the night, including totals raised from the foundation’s recent Match Day event, plans for the foundation’s current office space and the gifting of a bronze statue to be placed on the City of Greenfield’s future literary trail.

Gibble said the gala was the culmination of the foundation’s “Thank You Tour” that took center stage throughout the past year, during which staff and board members made a series of stops throughout the county thanking individuals and businesses for their support.

“Each and every action, event, scholarship and grant was delivered with sincere appreciation for the privilege of serving this wonderful community,” said Gibble, who has served as the foundation’s president since 2006.

She anticipates the coming year will be one of continued growth and prosperity for the foundation, which will launch a new name, website and logo on Jan. 1, when the Hancock County Community Foundation will transition its name to the Community Foundation of Hancock County.

The foundation’s Match Day success took center stage at the gala, where it was announced that $724,496 was raised for the endowments of 14 local nonprofits, all within a 30-hour period Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Community members donated over $525,000 to the endowment funds, said Gibble, which the foundation proportionally matched up to $150,000. The foundation also surprised the 14 Match Day participants with an additional $3,500 grant each.

Gibble also announced the designation of the Irene Walrod Curry Women’s Fund Endowment in the amount of $335,000. The endowment was established this year to benefit the Women’s Resource Center, an organization launched in 2014 by the Community Foundation’s giving circle to support women and help families achieve self-sufficiency.

The foundation also announced the gift of a $100,000 bronze statue that will be placed along Greenfield’s future Riley Literary Trail, scheduled for completion sometime next year.

Gibble said the statue is intended to be a symbol of the community’s generosity in supporting the local Imagination Library program, which was created by philanthropist superstar Dolly Parton and the Dolly Parton Foundation.

To sustain the free program, which provides a volume of 60 age-appropriate books delivered monthly to the homes of enrolled children, the Hancock County Community Foundation raised enough funds to create a $2 million dollar endowment that now covers 100 percent of the program cost.

Today an average of 2,500 Hancock County children benefit from the program, Gibble said.

Greenfield parks director Ellen Kuker expressed her gratitude on behalf of the parks department for the generous gift, which she said will be a perfect addition to the future literary trail.

“Public art can really take a good community to a great community, and this public art gift from the Hancock County Community Foundation does just that,” she said. “Their proposed piece of art is thoughtful in design and really captures the essence of the importance of reading. What an amazing installation this art will be on the literary trail.”

Those attending the gala also heard plans for the community foundation’s new home at 971 W. U.S. 40, as well as plans for the foundation’s current office space at 312 E. Main St., which will be repurposed into a nonprofit center called the Circle of Care.

“The synergy created will allow nonprofits to communicate effectively regarding shared clients, not only increasing access to services, but also supporting them in achieving goals and success,” Gibble shared.

To support the initiative, the foundation announced it would be donating the property — valued at $550,000 — to Circle of Care.

All in all, Gibble said it was a great night to celebrate the foundation’s past accomplishments and future goals with the community.

It was over 30 years ago that Tom Miller, Bert Curry, Ron Pritzke and a handful of other local leaders collaborated to create the Hancock County Community Foundation, which now manages funds that distribute roughly $2 million a year.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years,” Miller said at the start of this year, as the foundation’s year-long anniversary celebration was just getting underway.

Miller looks back fondly on those early days of forming the foundation. “It was a very exciting time, and a lot of work went into it. It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever worked on in my life,” he said.

Curry is proud of all the foundation has accomplished over the past three decades.

“It’s very exciting to have seen it grow over the past 30 years,” he said at the start of this year.

Gibble said strategic thinking, integrity and strong values have been key in moving the foundation in a positive direction since its inception.

“The wonderful announcements provided at the gala were made possible by Community Foundation servants and a generous community,” she said. “What an honor to serve the people of Hancock County for 30 years.”