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McCook Community Foundation awards $37,000 in gifts

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Those gathered for a picture during Friday's McCook Community Foundation Fund Celebration of giving include, from left Dawn Garcia, McCook Public Schools; Betty Jorgensen, Tri Valley Health Foundation; Brendon Lenhart, McCook Community College; Colinda Nappa, Hillcrest Nursing Home; Crystal Evans, McCook Community College; Jerry Beckenhauer, Hillcrest Nursing Home Foundation; Norma Stevens, McCook Community College Foundation; Marilyn Anderson, Memorial United Methodist Church; Brenda Ruff, Lutheran Family Services; Mallory Koepke, Youth Change Reaction; Chris Berry, Lutheran Family Services; Jody Crocker, McCook Public Library; Ken Foster, McCook Community College Foundation; Teri Shipshock, Community Hospital Health Foundation; Ray Walter, McCook Art Guild; Mike Gonzales, YMCA; Bob Hardy, McCook Pantry.
McCook Community Foundation Fund Chair Leigh Ann Miller told those gathered at Friday's Celebration of Caring that the Community Foundation Fund has awarded gifts totaling over $160,000 since its inception.

The gifts started in 2003, when around $2,000 was awarded and has grown annually to almost $37,000 that was awarded Friday afternoon.

From the McCook Community Foundation Fund Unrestricted Endowment, $3,000 was awarded to McCook Community College for a field trip to be used in the fund raising course, and $2,219 was awarded to Community Hospital for a laser drive extinguisher program. Community Hospital Health Foundation Director Teri Shipshock told the audience that the gift from McCook Community Foundation Fund was truly a collaboration throughout McCook citing cooperation from businesses, the hospital, the fire department and MCFF to raise funds for training equipment that will be used to benefit schools, nursing homes, businesses and the hospital.

From the C.T. and Helen Jewell Family Endowment, $1,000 was awarded to Heritage Hills Golf Course to be used for youth programs.

Almost $19,000 was awarded from the Andy and Geri Anderson Endowment. MCFF Advisory Committee Vice Chair Dale Dueland told the audience that the Andersons were interested in investing in people and improving the quality of life for the residents of the community.

Awards from the Anderson Endowment were made to McCook Public Library for reading areas for youth and adults ($5,000); McCook Art Guild for youth programs and unrestricted gifts ($5,000); Lutheran Family Services for Western Nebraska Juvenile Diversion ($2,500); YMCA for senior exercise and health programs ($2,500); Methodist Church Community Supper for the community garden project ($1,000); Southwest Nebraska Leadership Institute for scholarships for youth participants ($868); and Youth Change Reaction for the youth philanthropy program ($2,000).

Don Harpst told those gathered that his mother, Merle Jane Harpst, worked hard her entire life and passed away two months after her retirement from Cambridge Memorial Hospital, denying her the enjoyment of the fruits of her labor. Harpst said that he and his wife, Alice, wanted to be able to experience the pleasure of giving away a part of their hard-earned estate, so they set up the endowment fund through the McCook Community Foundation Fund.

The Don and Alice Harpst Endowment Fund provides funding for the benefit of three organizations. Hillcrest Nursing Home Foundation and Cambridge/Tri-Valley Health Systems each received $789 from the earnings on the endowment, and the McCook Pantry received $394.

MCFF has other directed-grant funds specifying that the earnings from the funds be used for the benefit of specific community entities and projects. Those include Community Hospital Health Foundation ($358); McCook Educational Foundation Endowment ($2,902); Memorial United Methodist Church Endowment ($421); Hillcrest Nursing Home Foundation ($1,132); McCook College Foundation (1,486); and the Myron Mingo Memorial Scholarship Account for a McCook Community College Men's Basketball player ($810).

Myron Mingo was a MCC basketball player who was shot and killed in 2008 in Marksville, Louisiana. Mingo's death had a huge impact on the coaching staff and his teammates. According to Men's Basketball Coach Brandon Lenhart, the MCC Men's basketball program is about family and sticking together through thick and thin. Lenhart said the funds would be used to help a sophomore player complete his second year of education at MCC.

Youth Change Reaction, the youth philanthropy group at McCook High School, awarded a grant of $500 to the McCook High School for use in a water quality improvement program. According to school nurse Dawn Garcia, the water purification system will help to improve the taste of the water in the school and will encourage students to drink more water, preventing dehydration.

The MCFF also drew for the winner of their Random Acts of Kindness Award, which gave a $250 gift to the qualified charity of the nominator's choice. The winner of the award was the McCook Toy Box. An anonymous person nominated Mayor Dennis Berry because he paid the $400 deposit needed to hold the annual coat closet and Toy Box giveaway.

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