Dr. Herb Price, who recently received businessman of the year, was master of ceremonies for the evening and introduced each speaker. Each speaker covered five-year increments.
Kroeger spoke of 1993 to 1998. He referred to himself as having a Forrest Gump moment, where he was in the right place at the right time. Kroeger received a press release about creating a community foundation and recalled going to Dick Cassidy and telling him they needed to start one.
Shortly after, a local community foundation was created and was first known as the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, covering Cass, Fulton, Miami and eventunally Starke and Pulaski counties.
Lisa Terry, former executive director, spoke of the second five years of the foundation’s history. Terry said it was important they celebrate the people who “rolled up their sleeves” and got people involved.
“The footwork, passion, planning and volunteering were all done by you or by someone you know,” Terry said.
Elizabeth Billman, former board of directors, spoke of the years 2003 to 2007, years of growth and attainment of sustainability. She spoke of Terry leaving and Crispen coming in.
“Lisa [Terry] was what we need to get started and Deanna [Crispen] moved the foundation to the next level and continues to move us forward,” Billman said.
Randy Head spoke of the last years, 2008 to 2012, which saw a troubled economy, and of how the community foundation continued to move forward.
Head also recalled receiving generous gifts at the foundation and being able to give gifts away more than once a year in the grant cycle. The foundation also began the GLOVE program and purchased a mobile community stage.
“It’s been an honor to serve,” Head said. “We’re going to continue to pass our legacy to the next generation.”
There were several smiles and laughter as attendees recalled stories of the foundation from the past 20 years. Crispen ended the dinner by thanking people for coming and asking them to sign a timeline banner before they left.
“It was a job I took until I figured out what I wanted to do,” Crispen said. “I’ve now been here nine years.”
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her: @PharosAES.