A legacy of giving -- Mary Allison Children's Trust continues to aid students

Saturday, September 24, 2011
Attending the recent Mary Allison Children's Trust Fund luncheon at the Ivy Gallery in the Area 30 Career Center were (front, from left): Jennifer Jackson, First National Bank, trustee; Brad Hayes, Fillmore School; Corey Brackney, Reelsville School; Lucy Wieland, board member; (middle row) Ginger Scott, board member; JoAnn Linn, trust partner; Gwen Morris; Deer Meadow School; Carol Emery, board member; John Strube, Tzouanakis School; Debbie Steffy, Central Elementary; Brent McClogin, Tri-County Bank, trust patron; P. T. Wilson, Gobin Church, trust patron; (back row) Jim Poor, honorary board member; Dan TeGrotenhuis, board member; Christie Schmeckebier, Cloverdale Elementary; Scott Spencer, Roachdale Elementary; Jim Jackson, board member; Joe Ferguson, board member; and Don Edwards, Wabash Capital, trust patron.

Every year each of the nine Putnam County elementary schools receives a sum of $1,000 from the Mary Allison Children's Trust Fund.

Teachers and counselors at each school determine how the money is spent. And, it can be used for any purpose as long as it benefits the students of their school.

"This fund provides financial assistance toward health care, education and welfare for underprivileged children in Putnam County when all other resources have been exhausted," board president Jim Jackson said.

"There is nothing but good news in this room today," he told the group of school officials and board members gathered at Area 30 Career Center's Ivy Gallery to kick off another year of partnership.

It was there that the real stories of what the trust fund means were told by those who lived the experience.

Roachdale Elementary Principal Scott Spencer tells of a family having just moved to the school area and having their home burn down.

"The next day the mother came to enroll her child and asked if there was any help available to them," Spencer. said "Thanks to the Mary Allison Children's Trust we were able to help them."

Fillmore Elementary School Principal Brad Hayes believes it is the flexibility of the funds that makes this program so successful. His school has already been able to help a family get its electricity turned on.

That flexibility of funds is what Christy Schmeckebier of Cloverdale Elementary counted on to help a family who lost their furnace during the ice storm last winter.

She says their facility was also able to help a student with an unusual disease requiring very specific medication.

"The school was able to use funds from Mary Allison to help that family purchase some of the medication at a time when they really needed the help," Schmeckebier said.

"It's so great to have these funds to go to," added Deer Meadow Principal Gwen Morris.

Students and their families have received help getting glasses, medicine, clothing, food and numerous other items throughout the years.

Board member and former principal at Tzouanakis Intermediate School Dan TeGrotenhuis told the group how much he likes the story of the legacy of the trust.

"I'm sure they never imagined how much good and kind support would come from this great legacy. I tell the children that this makes a difference in lives," TeGrotenhuis said.

The Mary Allison Children's Trust came about from the sale of the Mary Allison Children's Home in mid-1980 to a non-profit organization.

The orphan home was originally created by Mary Allison following the deaths of her grandchild and daughter in 1887 and 1888. During that era, children who had no home were usually sent to work on the County Farm.

As a memorial to her daughter, Mary Allison created a corporation to manage "The Putnam County Orphans' Home," which opened with seven children living in it.

The institution was housed in several locations over time eventually ending up in 1922 in the old Lockridge home on West Columbia Street in Greencastle. It soon became known as the Allison Home.

After decades of housing needy children, the home finally closed in 1992. Although the residence no longer houses children, the legacy of the Mary Allison's trust continues to this day through the current program of providing each elementary school with funds to help children in need.

Money is raised through contributions and an annual golf outing. Wabash Capital and First National Bank are the financial overseers of the trust. They sponsored the annual lunch, which brings together the distributors of the funds with contributors and board members to share experiences.

Members of the Mary Allison Children's Trust board are Jim Jackson, Joe Ferguson, Carol Emery, Ginger Scott, Lucy Wieland, Darren Hughes, Mike Goss, Matt Headley and Donna Houser.

Contributions to the Mary Allison Children's Trust can be mailed to Treasurer Ginger Scott at P.O. Box 369, Greencastle, IN 46135.

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