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.

Darke County Foundation Donors

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
Darke County Foundation HOPE Marlin Brumbaugh

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.

Board May 2019.jpg

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: John Marchal, Jr., Jim Detling, Terri Flood, Nathan Hosek, 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, Midmark Corp.

Caroline Schmidt - Attorney, Garbig & Schmidt

Jean Young - Community Leader

Kent A. Zechar - Managing Partner, Zechar-Bailey Funeral Homes


Christy Prakel - Executive Director

Beth Serraino, Finance Manager