Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 14, 2009

RCCF: Van Hook is role model

Diane Raver

Ripley County Community Foundation supporters gathered together July 8 at South Ripley Elementary School to review the past year and celebrate the future.

Executive director Sally Morris presented William Van Hook, Batesville, with the Executive Director’s Award. He “is a true example of what a board member should be,” she emphasized.

“He and his wife have started three different endowment funds .... He has served on various committees .... (and) he has never missed a board meeting even through some difficult times when his wife became ill and died .... and he had a stroke.”

Program officer Jane Deiwert introduced scholarship winners. “This is the 12th year of the Lilly Endowment Scholarship Program. We have 18 graduates who have made it through the program.”

Gerald Hardesty and Valorie Wagner, both Jac-Cen-Del High School graduates, were the 2009 recipients. Each will receive full tuition to an Indiana college and an $800 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

“This year, we had about 75 applicants .... Every year it seems like we are getting more and more .... It was narrowed down to eight finalists.” Those six 2009 graduates – Tess Kuntz, Oldenburg Academy; Chelsea Durham, South Ripley High School; Audrey Huffmeyer, Jac-Cen-Del High School; Ryan Hartman and Christopher Meyer, Batesville High School; and Clinton Covert, East Central High School – were recognized as Ripley County Community Scholars and were granted $1,000 scholarships.

The program officer read letters of gratitude from the two 2008 Lilly Endowment Scholarship winners, Tyler Giesting and Kellen Stolze, who were unable to attend.

Giesting, a DePauw University sophomore, is a cross country and track team member. He wrote that he is “technically undecided on a major .... I want to make sure I get it right.” This winter, he will spend time studying in Germany.

He realized the “tremendous impact” of receiving the scholarship, “to graduate on my feet in 2012 .... I truly think about this opportunity every day, and it’s not something I take lightly.” Stolze echoed these thoughts in his letter.

Deiwert added, “It’s just really exciting as these kids go off to school .... and rewarding to see them graduate and go out into the world and make a difference.”

The foundation also awarded grants to nonprofit organizations in 2008. Jenny Darnold, grants committee chair, noted, “We had a unique request for an environmental grant .... We don’t get those very often. It included additional funding, which we always like.”

Big Oaks Conservation Society received $10,000 to renovate Old Timbers Lodge on the Jefferson Proving Ground. Society President Jim Leveille gave an overview of the facility’s history and what the money will be used for.

Ed Scherer-Berry, marketing committee chair, explained the Kroger Neighborhood Rewards Promotion. Patrons can purchase a reloadable Kroger gift card from the RCCF.

“You put your grocery money on this card .... We’re not asking you to spend any more than you normally do .... When you use this card to pay for your groceries at Kroger,”

the foundation receives 4 percent of every $5,000 spent.

Cards are available at the office located on the third floor of the Memorial Building on Main Street in Batesville.

Eight new funds were added to the foundation in 2008: William H. “Gus” and Mary Margaret Moorhead Scholarships, Tyson Library Seedling Fund, Historic Hoosier Hills Seedling Fund, Rural Alliance for the Arts/Elsa & Peter Soderberg Scholarship, Doris A. Brelage Memorial Nursing Scholarship, James E. and Ruth M. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund, Jack Kellerman Community Enhancement Fund and Grateful Families Seedling Fund.

Darnold announced, “The board of directors recognizes the importance of giving grants to the community. However, “no small grants are going to be awarded in 2009” and large grant requests will be limited to $2,500. “Priority will be given to grants that will benefit the community by eliminating human suffering.”

An intent to apply form is required and must be returned to the RCCF by Friday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m. Nonprofits interested in applying for these grants can download the form on the Web site ( or call the office at 933-1098.

Diane Raver can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 114; or diane.raver@