I don't know how often I have said to someone, “There are many great happenings in our local community, but there is one in particular I think you would be hard pressed to find in another smaller community, the Hawcreek-Flat-Rock Area Endowment through the Heritage Fund. It is an amazing story!”

Since 2004, the endowment board has awarded $225,000 through 145 grants. Of course, the idea started well before 2004. An article entitled “From the Memory of Bud Herron” provides interesting insight:

“In early 2002, an initial list of community leaders met for breakfast at the Hope United Methodist Church. After a series of these meetings, the community leaders, not only embraced the idea but began hammering out the details of how to make it a reality. Eventually, an interim corps of officers, led by Tom Miller, took the reins and launched the endowment. In the final analysis, it was the hard work of Tom Miller, John Norman, Bill Lentz, Shirley Robertson, Gordon Elsbury, Don Dillman and Julie Glick-all with the assistance, hard work and wisdom of Beth Parkhurst of Heritage Fund-that made it happen.”

Recently, I attended a local endowment dinner and meeting at WILLow LeaVes, sponsored by Stewart Seed Company. I saw some of those same people Bud mentioned with some unfortunately no longer with us. However, as typical with Hope, I saw others who have stepped up. It was a delightful evening. Adam Miller, former 5th grade student and now advisory board member who was a Hauser student representative, welcomed all. His dad, Tom Miller, long time member of the advisory board, did an invocation followed by an excellent dinner by the staff of WILLow LeaVes.

Then, there was a video presentation produced by Hauser students sharing results of grants to Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation. Afterward, Bill Lentz, former advisory board member, spoke about the importance of the right environment for seed growth. Tim Andrews, an avid supporter of the endowment since its inception, followed Bill and stressed that his caring for our community will never cease even when many miles away from his former home in St. Louis Crossing.

Adam returned to the forefront to make one final and extremely important announcement. In 2019, we were able to distribute around $37,000 grant awards. The Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment Fund is closing in on one million dollars with the never ending support of the Heritage Fund and our local community. And, once the fund is at $975,000, Tim Andrews, will make yet another generous donation of $25,000 pushing the fund to the milestone of $1 million dollars. The advisory board will then be able to award an impressive $50,000 in grants toward helping not-for-profit entities.

Most recently, Adam shared two other active matches in 2020 as the fund has now surpassed $900,000. Through the Sharon Risk Stark Community Impact Fund, there is an 1:1 match up to $24,500 which actually started November 15th, 2019. And, Anonymous Community Members are making a 1:1 match up to $15,000 starting January 1st. Adam once again stressed appreciation for the involvement of many over the years including Sherry Stark, the previous Heritage Fund President/CEO, and Tracy Souza, the present Heritage Fund President/CEO, and their committee members.

Undoubtedly, the words by the HCFR Endowment logo of the flourishing apple tree ring true, “When nurtured, the seeds of one apple can produce an orchard.”

Gifts can be sent to:
Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment Fund
Post Office Box 202
Hope, IN 47246