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Community Foundation announces 2018 scholarship recipients

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
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Nineteen students and their families will benefit from scholarships awarded Saturday, April 28, by the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Lilly Endowment, Inc.

The 2018 Lilly Endowment Scholarship, Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship and INSPIRE Scholarship will help students from public and private schools pursue goals and dreams at the college level.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECS)

The LECS is the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree. The program, now in its 21st year, has awarded 82 LECS to students in Elkhart County, totaling more than $20 million dollars in scholarships. Statewide over 4,300 have been awarded, providing nearly $375 million dollars in scholarships across Indiana since the program began in 1998.

Through the Community Foundation, the LECS program, administered by Independent Colleges of Indiana, selects three Elkhart County, first-generation, college bound students each year.  Scholarship recipients will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship toward a baccalaureate degree at any accredited college or university in Indiana.

Recipients include:

  • Steven Fields, Concord
  • Maria Leon Buitrago, Elkhart Central
  • Isaiah Mumaw, Fairfield

Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship

As a complement to the LECS program, the Community Foundation is honored to carry on the legacy of Guy David Gundlach by awarding six Elkhart County, first-generation, college bound students a four-year, $5,000/year scholarship toward a bachelor’s degree. This memorial scholarship is only one of the many positive initiatives established due to Mr. Gundlach’s gift in 2011. Since the inception of the scholarship, 31 Elkhart County students have received this $20,000 award. Over the first decade, more than 60 students in our community will be presented the Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship.

Recipients include:

  • Jason Barahona Rosales, Goshen
  • Julie Burkholder, Jimtown
  • Meagan Irons, Elkhart Memorial
  • Trenton Kercher, Elkhart Christian
  • Destiny Schrock, Clinton Christian
  • Kami Schwartz, NorthWood

INSPIRE Scholarship

The INSPIRE Scholarship is the Community Foundation’s newest scholarship, beginning in 2017, and awards hard-working, community-minded students the opportunity to receive $3,000 per year. Multiple 2- or 4-year scholarships are being awarded each year. To be eligible to renew their scholarship, each of the recipients must complete a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer time per year in Elkhart County.

This year’s 2-year recipients:

  • Violeta Campos, Concord
  • Joshua Cruz, Elkhart Memorial
  • Jennifer Esqueda-Tapia, Goshen
  • Gwendolyn Hardin, Elkhart Central
  • Samuel Taylor, Elkhart Central

This year’s 4-year recipients:

  • Tyler Hahn, NorthWood
  • Jenna Jaskolka, Jimtown
  • Anna Smucker, Bethany Christian
  • Keith Wertman, Northridge
  • Grace Yoder, Fairfield

Awards Brunch

For the second year, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County awarded challenge coins to scholarship recipients. The coins, engraved with the name of the scholar and the year of presentation, are intended to be a lifelong reminder to the recipients of their award. “The challenge to each of these scholars is that they reach their full potential and make a difference in the life of others,” said Gordon Moore of the scholarship committee.

At Saturday’s brunch, Rob Cripe, a member of the Community Foundation’s board of directors and the scholarship committee, thanked the adults who helped the students reach toward their goals and urged the students to look ahead. “We also hope to inspire you to be generous by acknowledging that when your studies are complete, you have an obligation to pay it forward. Think about what you have accomplished, where you are going, and how you will make a difference in the lives of others,” he said.

Keynote speaker Levon Johnson told how his family came to live and contribute in Elkhart. The president of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce told the students, “When you are done with college, we need you back here. We need you to come back to Elkhart County.”

About Community Foundation of Elkhart County

Community Foundation of Elkhart County improves the quality of life in Elkhart County by inspiring generosity.  Since inception in 1989, 100 scholarship funds have been established at the Community Foundation. Approximately $14.2 million in scholarships have been awarded, including $2 million in 2017.  The Community Foundation strives to be a local entity known for inspiring good and impacting success, specifically in educational attainment. 

For more information regarding the Community Foundation, visit or call (574) 295-8761.

Back Row: Anna Smucker, Bethany Christian; Gwendolyn Hardin, Elkhart Central; Samuel Taylor, Elkhart Central; Jenna Jaskolka, Jimtown; Tyler Hahn, NorthWood; Isaiah Mumaw, Fairfield
Middle Row: Keith Wertman, Northridge; Jason Barahona Rosales, Goshen; Julie Burkholder, Jimtown; Destiny Schrock, Clinton Christian; Violeta Campos, Concord
Front Row: Steven Fields, Concord; Kami Schwartz, NorthWood; Meagan Irons, Elkhart Memorial; Maria Leon Buitrago, Elkhart Central; Joshua Cruz, Elkhart Memorial; Grace Yoder, Fairfield

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