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HCCF celebrates 20 years of giving

HCCF celebrates 20 years of giving
HCCF celebrates 20 years of giving
Steve Gilliland, Harrison County Community Foundation president and CEO, details a glimpse of the Foundation's philanthropic history Thursday night at The Showroom at Horseshoe Southern Indiana celebrating nearly 20 years of existence. Photo by Ross Schulz

Hundreds of philanthropically-focused community members joined Harrison County Community Foundation board members, former board members and other representatives Thursday evening for a night of celebration at The Showroom of Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Bridgeport.
The event, dubbed ‘Celebrating 20 years and change,’ was a kick-off for the Foundation’s upcoming 20th year of existence.
The board of directors used the platform to announce a major change in the operation of the Foundation, initiating an open grant process, meaning there will no longer be deadlines for grant applications beginning in 2016.
Foundation president and CEO Steve Gilliland later said the change was made to eliminate the last-minute rush to get grant applications completed. The Foundation will have 120 days to respond to applications.
‘It’ll give us the opportunity to really work with that organization,’ he said.
The Foundation also will provide a 2-to-1 grant match for the following endowment funds beginning next year through 2020: Dare to Care, Harrison County Community Services, YMCA of Harrison County, Hayswood Theatre and Hoosier Hills PACT.
By 2018, any organization looking to receive funding from the Foundation will be required to have two of its board members participate in board governance training classes, funded through Leadership Harrison County.
‘We also plan to bring extra-special entertainment in conjunction with the fair (next year for Indiana’s bicentennial celebration),’ Kevin Burch, vice chair of the board, said. ‘Be watching for that announcement.’
Harrison County native Keith Kaiser, of WDRB in the Morning, was the emcee.
Kaiser said he enjoyed his childhood growing up in Harrison County and probably played on every baseball diamond in the county and in every basketball gymnasium.
‘And the two football fields,’ he said.
Gilliland then spoke of the Foundation’s beginning in 1996 as a slide show of photographs highlighting the organization’s accomplishments played on the wall behind him.
A few of the projects depicted included the South Harrison Community Center, Comfort House, Harrison County Animal Control Facility, The Salvation Army Thrift Store, 4-H Show Barn at the Harrison County Fairgrounds, Posey House, Corydon Central High School kitchen, Boys & Girls Club of Harrison-Crawford Counties and the Lanesville High School track.
The full slide show was only just a glimpse of everything the Foundation has played a part in funding, Gilliland said.
‘It’s really incredible what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 19 years,’ he said.
The Foundation has more than $164 million in total assets and has given $75 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations, agencies and schools.
The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Clifford C. Kuhn, known as the laugh doctor.
Kuhn is a physician, medical school professor, humorist, professional speaker and personal coach who helps individuals and groups enhance performance, productivity and health by connecting more effectively with humor.
Kuhn said what he does now ‘ and what has taken him all over the world doing ‘ can be traced back to Harrison County by way of the late Lisa Shuck.
At the age of 15, she was given only months to live after a cancer diagnosis.
‘For the next two years, I had the privilege of learning from her,’ Kuhn said. ‘Sometimes I didn’t know who was treating who.’
Kuhn said his work is a tribute to her.
Lisa’s mother, Estelle, was in the audience and received an ovation from the attendees.
Kuhn said being a part of a community is not a spectator sport.
‘When we give, we are getting,’ he said.
Steve Haffner, mentalist and corporate entertainer, roamed the room before the buffet dinner providing a ‘blend of comedy and psychological wizardry’ to the guests.
Magician Richard Darshwood and pianist Aaron Guernsey also entertained.
Speakers besides Kuhn, Kaiser, Burch and Gilliland included Susan Pierson, a HCCF board member; Chad Coffman, board chair; and Kim Harmon, HCCF director of development.
‘We’re really looking forward to the next 20 years,’ Coffman said.
The Foundation allowed each attendee to play the part of a board member by giving $20 from its unrestricted fund for each person to donate to the endowment fund of their choice.
Each table also was tasked with dividing $1,000 to be placed in one or many nonprofit endowment funds.
In 1996, the HCCF was created with an agreement between the Caesars Riverboat Casino and Harrison County to provide $5 million start the Foundation. Its mission is to be a public foundation established for the receipt of donations and the distribution of income from permanent endowment funds for the philanthropic purposes of Harrison County.
For more information or to donate to an endowment, visit the Foundation’s website,