ABOUT DARKE COUNTY FOUNDATION
Through donations by individuals, businesses and charitable organizations, the Darke County Foundation awards scholarships to Darke County students and grants to non-profit organizations that serve Darke County residents. Invested long-term, our funds provide a continuing source of funding for years to come.
Donors may support scholarships or community grants by starting a specialized fund or contributing to an existing fund. Permanent endowments allow donors to create lasting legacies for causes in which they strongly believe. Donors may recommend the purpose for their contributions, or allow the Foundation's board of directors to determine where the funds could best serve Darke County residents.
The Darke County Foundation awarded a grant to the Darke County
Park District to support educational programs for students.
History of the Darke County Foundation
In 1986, Dr. Marlin Thompson, Superintendent of the Darke Co. Office of Education, started the HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) Foundation of Darke County, with the goal of establishing a community foundation. With no start-up money, Dr. Thompson sought enough donations to offer a $200 scholarship the first year. The founder's plan and the Foundation's continuing goal is to improve the quality of life in Darke County while helping donors meet their charitable objectives. The Foundation accomplishes this goal by awarding scholarships to Darke County students and assisting nonprofit organizations in their work to provide valuable services and programs to our community.
The first major gift came in 1987 from Greenville National Bank. Over the next few years, many gifts followed, large and small, that were designated for scholarships and community grants. Individuals, families, businesses and charitable organizations have contributed to the growth of the Foundation.
Dr. Thompson said, "I felt there were a lot of good people in Darke County who might want to leave a gift to the community." He met with members of other community foundations for assistance in getting started and appointed 20 board of trustee members from different areas of Darke County. While Dr. Thompson retired as Superintendent in 1992, he continued to serve as a HOPE trustee and chairperson of the scholarship committee until 2005. Dr. Thompson died in 2010.
In 2014, the HOPE Foundation became the Darke County Foundation to emphasize its association with the entire county and to create a better identity with the area it serves. The mission of the Foundation remains the same, serving as a county-wide resource for charitable giving and offering opportunity and "HOPE" to the residents of Darke County.
Board of Trustees
The Darke County Foundation's 20-member board of trustees works diligently to ensure that each donor’s charitable intent is honored. The members, all from Darke County, bring a broad range of experiences, including law, financial planning, marketing, education, small business ownership and community involvement. Their participation ensures that the Foundation is run efficiently and focused on using resources in the best way possible to enrich the lives of Darke County residents.
Front Row: Ray Laughlin, Kent Zechar, Jean Young, Holly Hill, Tim Booher, Caroline Schmidt, Diane Evans
Back Row: Christy Prakel (Exec. Director), Keith Rawlins, Ryan Cox, Mike Gray, Bill Baumann, Susan Barker, Jonathan Hein, Susan Laux, Dennis Baker, Kent James, Eileen Litchfield, Terry May
Not pictured: Tom Guillozet, John Marchal, Jr., Beth Serraino (Finance Manager)
Dennis Baker - Community Leader
Susan Barker - CFO, Greenville Federal
Bill Baumann - Community Leader
Tim Booher - RJ Warner Insurance
Ryan Cox, Cox Insurance Agencies
Diane Evans, Community Leader
Mike Gray - Superintendent, Darke Co. Educational Service Center
Tom Guillozet - Attorney, Hanes Law Group
Jonathan Hein - Darke County Common Pleas Judge
Holly Hill - Director of Marketing, Brethren Retirement Community
Kent James - President & CEO, Greenville National Bank
Ray Laughlin - CEO (retired), Wayne Hospital
Susan Laux - Mote & Associates
Eileen Litchfield - Community Leader
John Marchal, Jr. - Attorney, Marchal & Marchal
Terry May - President, May Financial Group
Keith Rawlins, Community Leader
Caroline Schmidt - Attorney, Garbig & Schmidt
Jean Young - Executive Director, Family Health, Inc.
Kent A. Zechar - Managing Partner, Zechar-Bailey Funeral Homes
Christy Prakel - Executive Director
Beth Serraino, Finance Manager