30 Reasons to Feel Great about 2021

2021 was another year we couldn’t have predicted. It was certainly filled with ups and downs. But the list you’re about to read is full of two qualities – impact and hope.


In honor of our 30th anniversary in 2021, we thought it would be fun to take a look at 30 highlights of the year, in no particular order. Each supports our three goals – to serve donors, to make grants and to provide leadership. This is the foundation of the Foundation, if you will. But none of it would be possible without you. Thank you.


  1. We celebrated the good work we’ve done together over the last 30 years with #RCCFFlashbackFriday posts, a virtual scavenger hunt of grant-funded projects and an in-person gathering that truly felt like a homecoming.
  2. Wilma Jo Kile established the Ebert H. and Bessie M. Schroeder Fund in memory of her parents to support the REC Center. She told us, “I can think of nothing else that would provide the value-added amenities that a multipurpose community center would provide to the residents of Rush County. My parents always wanted to do what was right, and I want to honor that feeling.”
  3. The First5 Fund was established to support high-quality early learning opportunities for our community’s youngest residents.
  4. The Molly Spaeth Fund for Transformation and Well-Being was established by her family to support projects and programming that improve the social and/or mental well-being and betterment of individuals locally. “Molly was a social worker and had great compassion for at-risk children, teens, adults, and the elderly.  We look forward to witnessing how her fund will support, improve, and transform the physical and mental well-being of Rush County residents,” shared Molly’s sister, Toni Schultz.
  5. The Catherine “Katie” Brashaber Continuing Education Fund was established by Katie’s family in her memory. This scholarship will support a woman who has graduated high school and wishes to receive additional education or certification or may want to return to her previous studies but had to take a pause due to family or personal reasons. Her daughter, Susan, said, “She would be proud to know she is helping a woman realize the potential that lies within her.”
  6. More than $216,000 were awarded in scholarships. A total of 112 awards were made to 61 local students. The average award was $1,930.31.
  7. The Carthage Volunteer Fire Department received a grant for $3,727.95. They purchased additional grain bin rescue tools and training.
  8. The Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department received a grant for $29,009.88 to buy four air packs, which allow firefighters to breathe while in toxic smoke conditions.
  9. The Milroy Economic Development Corporation received a grant for $10,500 to paint a large-scale outdoor mural to include community input and participation.
  10. Girls Inc. of Shelbyville/Shelby County received a grant of $7,500 to provide monthly subscription boxes for 50 Rush County girls ages 6 – 10 to provide fun, educational activities centered on literacy and math.
  11. RCCF donated $10,000 toward Rush County’s year-long bicentennial celebration.
  12. imagine:nation, the arts and cultural council of Rush County, received a grant for $11,200 to create a gallery space and classroom in the Booker T. Washington school building. They also hosted a free Shakespeare in the park performance of Much Ado About Nothing by national touring company in July at Riverside Park, including two page-to-stage workshops for adults and youth with cast members. “I took my girls, ages 4 and 12, and expected them to maybe not enjoy it, but they’re still talking about it! My 12-year-old is interested in more Shakespeare. My 4-year-old re-enacts the scenes from the balcony on our playground. I’d love to see more plays at the amphitheater,” shared one mom.
  13. The Open Resource received a grant for $16,190 to launch their innovative Digital Navigators program. They purchased internet-ready devices to give to program participants. Volunteer instructors offer free classes to teach skills necessary to navigate the online world. “Technology is always changing. People will be left behind. We’re here to make sure that they’re not,” said volunteer, Carole Yeend.
  14. Henry Henley Public Library received a grant for $7,875 to upgrade the electricity and install venting for the restroom and a cleanout for sewage repairs in the coming years.
  15. Community Grants Awards totaled $96,002.83. The funding breakdown illustrates a balanced mix of interests – Public safety: $32,737.83, 34% | Arts & culture: $31,700, 33% | Literacy & education: $31,565, 33%
  16. Kenneth and Charlotte Brashaber Teacher Enhancement Award granted $1,000 to Daniel Riddell, mathematics teacher at Rushville Consolidated High School (RCHS), to use toward obtaining his Master’s Degree in Mathematics at Indiana Wesleyan University.
  17. The Rush County Education Fund granted $172.73 to Amaranta Kemple, Spanish teacher at RCHS, for vocabulary building tools to be used by her students.
  18. The Alex Workman Memorial Fund and Rush County Education Fund combined to fund $7,563 in projects to three elementary schools: Milroy, RES East and RES West. These projects are all designed to help students with social and emotional challenges succeed.
  19. The Helen and Jim Ewing Fund to Help the Elderly and Feed the Hungry granted $12,500 to Gleaners Food Bank to support the two school-based food pantries in Rush County, housed at RCHS and MES.
  20. The Music for Rush County Fund granted $5,982.74 to the Heart of Rushville to help secure a well-known act for the final concert of the Riverside Park Amphitheater to coincide with the Bicentennial celebration to be held in September of 2022.
  21. The Rita Yager Memorial Ag Fund granted $1,007.98 to two projects. The Rushville Animal Shelter purchased a camcorder and camera to assist in documenting any future animal neglect cases. Rush County Farm Bureau will use their award to teach all Rush County 2nd grade students growing sunflowers and their many uses. The book, “Sunflower House” by Eve Bunting will be used to help spark interest in growing their own plants.
  22. The Rush County Youth Athletic Fund granted $359.19 to Eric Wagner, Boys Soccer Coach at RCHS, to assist with the purchase of a Veo camera system. He can record soccer matches for team review and livestream matches.
  23. The Youth in Philanthropy Fund granted $1,200 to RCHS to help continue its popular program to provide approximately 375 healthy breakfast snacks each week.
  24. Donors to RCCF’s CIRCLe Fund awarded a grant of $10,500 to Rushville Public Library’s “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program. This initiative will put new books in the hands of every Rush County child from birth to age five through a partnership between the library, First5 and local childcare and healthcare providers.
  25. Executive Director, Alisa Winters, was selected as one of 24 participants in the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance’s inaugural John Mutz Philanthropic Institute. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about fundraising, board development, the role of philanthropy in public policy, trends in philanthropy, how storytelling and communications can advance philanthropy, and the future of giving. I am grateful for the entire experience and especially look forward to continuing to grow both personally and professionally,” she said.
  26. Work on the REC Center continued behind the scenes.
  27. The Community Based Action Planning (CBAP) initiative launched. Informed with community input, volunteers prioritized projects to include: mental health, local gateway signage, downtown beautification, tourism, post-secondary skill trade education and apprenticeships, parks programming, county-wide land use, blight elimination and internet access. The Rush to Help Action Fund will support these activities with more than $38,000 in your donations and matching dollars.
  28. Local organizations received a total of $233,200.80 in annual support from funds they set up themselves (agency endowment) or were established by a donor (designated purpose).
  29. Our community lost so many good people in 2021, but your memorial gifts transformed your sorrow into an enduring legacy. And when you looked for a meaningful way to celebrate a special occasion or accomplishment or show your appreciation for a loved one, you made a gift in their honor. 1181 tribute gifts totaling $140,901.14 spread your love into Rush County, now and in the future.
  30. Your generosity made #1-29 possible and helped grow RCCF’s assets to $22.5 million to support our community forever and fill it with impact and hope.
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