The Hawcreek- Flat Rock community endowment fund — established 18 years ago to “do good things” for the communities and institutions of Northeastern Bartholomew County — reached a $1 million balance on Dec. 4. That money is held in trust through Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, with earnings available each year to support worthwhile programs and projects.

“When our fund was established, reaching $1 million seemed like an impossible feat,” said Adam Miller, current chairman of the fund’s local advisory board. “This accomplishment speaks strongly to the love our citizens have for their communities and to the hard work and determination of the many board members and fundraisers through the years.”

While giving great credit to the many small and medium-sized donors who have created the financial base of the fund, Miller highlighted several “hero supporters” who have “been there to push the fund to greater and greater success.” They included:

  • The Heritage Fund, which provides investment management and also has given multiple one-to-one matching grants over the past 10 years to promote community contributions.
  • Tim Andrews, who was born and raised near St. Louis Crossing and now is a business executive and philanthropist in New Jersey. Andrews stepped forward early with annual matching grants of $10,000 for ten years for a $100,000 donation. These early “challenge grants” spurred local giving at a time when the fund was very small. Andrews also stepped up in 2019 with a $25,000 matching grant to be paid, if the community could build the fund to $975,000 by the end of 2021. The community accomplished that match a year ahead of schedule, which led to the Andrews' contribution and the reaching of a million dollar balance.
  • Sherry Stark, retired president of the Heritage Fund, who created a fund to provide matching grants totaling nearly $25,000 in 2020.
  • A group of anonymous community members who provided a $15,000 matching grant in 2020.
  • John Cox, who never lived in Hope, but whose father and uncle ran a meat market on the north side of the town square more than 100 years ago. Cox died in 2011 at Miller’s Merry Manor at the age of 98 and was a friend of the late Robert May, an advisory board member and fund supporter. Cox had no living relatives and sought advice from May as he planned his will. Cox attended Hope and Hauser High School events and was so impressed with the community that he left half of his $340,000 estate to the endowment fund and the other half to the school corporation’s Dollars for Scholars fund.

Each year the Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment awards grants to community programs and projects that benefit the quality of life in the two townships. This year, grants totaled $32,865. Since all donations are “protected forever” by rules that do not allow the principle amount in the fund ever to be used, the amount available for community grants varies according to investment earnings.

“Reaching the million dollar goal is a giant milestone,” said Miller. “It not only speaks to the determination and commitment of the people of our communities, it gives this fund a kind of permanence we only could imagine in the days when such an asset was only a dream.

“Yet, we are not done raising ‘money for the good’ in our community. On to the next milestone. The importance of this investment account for future generations has no limits.”