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K21 Health Foundation Celebrates 20 Years with Big Announcements

Thursday, September 12, 2019
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K21 Health Foundation celebrated its 20-year anniversary with a community event held at the Winona Lake Heritage Room. The evening brought together many community leaders, representatives of local non-profit organizations, and both current and former members of K21’s Board of Directors.

K21 began operating in Kosciusko County in February of 1999, following the sale of Kosciusko Community Hospital to a for-profit health system. The approximate $63 million in proceeds from the sale created a permanent endowment that became K21 Health Foundation. Under the initial direction of Willis E. Alt, Jr., and a seventeen member Board of Directors, K21’s mission was formed and implemented, which was to positively affect the health and well-being of residents of Kosciusko County, honoring the intent of the original donors to KCH.

Following Mr. Alt’s retirement in 2006, the board hired K21’s current President & CEO, Rich Haddad, who has led the foundation for the past thirteen years. In the foundation’s twenty years of grantmaking, K21 has awarded more than $52 million to non-profit organizations, school systems and municipalities whose programs and services address the health and wellness needs of Kosciusko County residents. During the event, Mr. Haddad revealed three separate projects that K21 is committed to in the near future.

The first was the establishment of a permanent home for K21 Health Foundation. Just recently K21 purchased the property located at 1101 Park Avenue in Winona Lake. Following a complete remodel, K21’s staff plans to begin operating out of the building in late spring 2020. “K21 has rented and borrowed for 20 years, and it was important to the board to establish a permanent home to convey to our community that K21 is here to stay,” shared Haddad.  He added, “It’s also big enough to share, with nonprofits being able to hold board or other meetings they might have.”

The second announcement was a committed pledge of up to $1 million for the construction of an ice rink/pavilion in Kosciusko County. “There are limitless activities in the warmer months in our community; however, our residents tend to hibernate in the winter, with limited options for activity,” stated Haddad. Although the location of the ice rink has yet to be determined, Haddad challenged the community to move this forward and work together to form a plan of action to see this long-standing desire for the community realized.

The final investment revealed by K21 was a $1.8 million commitment that will be available to nine of the smaller communities (outside the Warsaw/Winona Lake central region) in Kosciusko County. Claypool, Etna Green, Leesburg, Mentone, Milford, North Webster, Pierceton, Silver Lake, and Syracuse, will each have the opportunity to receive up to $200,000 for projects that will focus on health and wellness opportunities in their specific communities.  

“It is understandable that many services and amenities reside in the central region of our county, it just logistically makes sense. That being said, K21 Health Foundation is a countywide funder, and we care about every person living in Kosciusko County. The Board of Directors wanted to make a clear and significant declaration to that truth, and to recognize that each community has unique needs that can be supported. We are excited to work with each community’s leadership to make that happen,” Haddad explained.

The event concluded with an appreciation to all that have been involved in health and wellness improvement, and an encouragement to continue to advance healthy lives for themselves and for their community.

K21 Health Foundation exists for the benefit of Kosciusko County residents to ensure health care services are provided, and to advance prevention and healthy living.  For more information about the K21 Health Foundation, call (574) 269-5188 or visit www.k21foundation.org.

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