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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Six finalists named for philanthropy awards

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Two Putnam County women will be honored for their philanthropic efforts today.

Two winners will be selected from a field of six finalists for the awards, which are administered by the Putnam County Community Foundation. The award ceremony, a women-only brunch, will be held at 10 a.m. today at the DePauw Memorial Student Union Ballroom.

Three finalists were selected in two age divisions, 16-25 and 26 and older. One winner -- an Emerging Woman Philanthropist of the Year and a Woman Philanthropist of the year -- will be chosen from each age division.

Here is a look at the finalists.

Ashlyn Archer

Archer is the current co-chairperson of the Putnam County Youth Philanthropy committee. She was instrumental in conducting an informal needs assessment that helped identify the most pressing needs in the county.

"I'm very excited and honored," she said of her nomination. "It's a big deal. This is a very prestigious award."

Archer credits her parents for her philanthropic spirit.

"They've been working in the community for as long as I can remember," she said. "I was raised around it."

She is active in 4-H, and has served as president of the local Rabbit and Poultry Club for three years. She was also an officer in the 4-H Junior Leaders program.

Archer is vice president of the student council at Greencastle High School, where she is a senior. She is also president of the Key Club.

She has volunteered at the Putnam County Public Library and Wellspring Christian Church nursery, as well as with the Putnam County Teen Court.

Last summer, Archer donated part of the proceeds she garnered from selling her livestock at the Putnam County 4-H Fair auction to the Youth Philanthropy Endowment at the Putnam County Community Foundation.

Kullan Edberg

Edberg is a senior at Greencastle High. She and her brother Pete launched a program to provide free hot lunches for the children from low-income families who were attending a summer program at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

To start the program, Edberg and her brother conducted a survey to find out what the program attendees ate in their homes, how much and how often. Edberg was startled by the lack of nutritious food made available to the children, and she and her brother set about obtaining funding to make sure complete, hot lunches could be served to the program attendees.

Edberg and her brother were recognized by the state for their efforts.

Renee Foltz

Three years ago Foltz, a senior at North Putnam High School, applied for grants and obtained the funding necessary to launch a safe driving educational club at her school. She also established the governance and leadership roles for the club.

Foltz and other club members created a pledge for students to sign -- an agreement that the student signing the pledge will wear his or her seat belt in the car at all times. Awards for students who buckle up were also initiated through the club.

"We went to a conference at another school that had (a safe driving club), and we kind of thought it would be a good idea for us to have one to," Foltz said.

Foltz was also integral in the development of Peer Tutoring and Peer Mediating, an in-school tutoring program at NPHS.

"A lot of people were having trouble passing their classes," Foltz said. "We kind of felt like it was our duty to help if we could."

Foltz serves as presidentof Students Against Drunk Driving. She has volunteered for Riley Children's Hospital and has taken part in program to send food and entertainment to soldiers serving overseas.

"I am extremely honored by this nomination," Foltz said. "Even if I don't win, it was still an honor."

Sally H. Gray

Gray was a judge in Putnam Superior Court for three terms. In that capacity, she realized what a scourge drugs and alcohol are on Putnam County.

To combat the local drug and alcohol problem, Gray founded the Prevention, Intervention and Education (PIE) Coalition. She was also active in the founding of the local Community Corrections Office and Putnam County's Substance Abuse Treatment Program.

"I took office in 1981, and it became very obvious quickly that most of the criminal cases I heard were drug- or alcohol-related," Gray said. "I wasn't seeing hardened dealers; I was seeing people who were going to be right back out on the street. My opinion was that the best thing to do was get them treatment."

Gray worked to get Alcoholics Anonymous and General Equivalency Diploma classes in place at the Putnam County Jail. She established the Judge Sally H. Gray Endowment at the Putnam County Community Foundation, which provides financial support for local substance abuse programs.

"I've had people stop me and tell me I changed their lives," Gray said. "I tell them I didn't do that they changed their lives."

Gray has also won a number of local and state awards for her volunteer efforts in the areas of education, law, public information and mental health.

Currently, Gray is a major supporter of and fundraiser for the Putnam County Museum. She helped the facility obtain its location, and has been on the board for three terms. She has made a commitment to match contributions to the endowment for the museum, which is housed at the Putnam County Community Foundation and now stands at more than $400,000.

"The museum is my third career," Gray said. "I taught economics for 24 years, then I went to law school when I was 42."

Gray said one of the most rewarding things about being involved with the museum is working with others who are as passionate about it as she is.

"Me matching contributions to the endowment was really me thanking the museum for giving me three terms on the board," she said. "I feel like they're doing me a favor."

Kelsey Kauffman

Kauffman has become something of a champion for the poor, minorities and incarcerated.

She is t he founder of the Summer Enrichment Program at Gobin United Methodist Church, which provides healthy meals and activities for the middle school children of struggling families. Every summer, about 60 children are referred to the program from Greencastle schools.

Kauffman also helped establish the Family, Youth and Community Development Center, which provides year-round support, tutoring and activities for families who live on the south side of Greencastle.

She worked with DePauw University's Communication Center and a local access cable channel to get word of community events out to the public. Underprivileged children were hired to work on the television program.

Kauffman has served as president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and also acts as an advocate for prisoners at the Putnamville Correctional Facility.

Elizabeth Shafer

Shafer and her husband Rick decided to make something positive comer from the death of their baby granddaughter, Hope, by founding Hope's Way.

"My granddaughter was born very prematurely," Shafer said. "Because we couldn't hold her and love her, we decided we would honor her in some other way."

Hope's Way is a retreat for special needs children, located at the Shafers' home. The third Saturday of each month from April to October, special needs children and their families can participate in activities such as horseback riding, hayrides and picnics. Volunteers also prepare homemade meals.

Twenty-six acres of the couple's property is devoted to Hope's Way.

"We've always had a heart for children," Shafer said. "We run (Hope's Way) with just donations and what we put into it ourselves. It's free for the people who come here that's one of the things we're very, very proud of."

Shafer was honored by the nomination for the philanthropy award.

"I had no idea anyone would nominate me," she said. "When you do things like this, awards aren't the reason why."

Shafer is very active at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. She hosts a radio show each Sunday on radio station 94.3 WREB FM, Greencastle, called "Because You are Special." The program focuses on Putnam County people and activities.

Sponsors for award ceremony are Autumn Glen, Hayes, Murphy, Sharp & Brackney, and Wabash Capital. Tickets were sold for the event, and the community foundation will award 100 percent of sales funds to a charity, which will be selected by the attendees.

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I have had the honor of spending time with Kullan Edberg while she was on spring break last year in Vero Beach. I was impressed then, still more impressed reading her accomplishments and work for others. I agree with bondsman, this list is of extraordinary work, and you all should be proud. And Kullan, I'm so proud of you!

-- Posted by diaspora on Sat, May 10, 2008, at 7:57 AM

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