2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars and Guy D. Gundlach Memorial Scholars

(PHOTO) Community Foundation staff and Scholarship Committee members have surprised the three Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients at their high school.  Pictured is Ana Martinez, NorthWood recipient, hugging her school counselor after being surprised in a morning class.

The Lilly Endowment, Inc. and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County are proud to honor nine outstanding students in Elkhart County.

Three students from Elkhart County will receive Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships (LECS) entitling them to full tuition, fees and $900 a year for required books and equipment to any accredited Indiana college or university of their choice. The selected students are: Lizbeth Celis, Concord; Tessa Clark, Bethany Christian; and Ana Martinez, NorthWood.

The Community Foundation is also proud to award the Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship to the following six students: Matthew Decloedt, Jimtown; Meghan Knoff, Elkhart Central; Melanie Miller, Fairfield; Diego Reynoso, Elkhart Memorial; Sara Taft, Goshen; and Megan Wallace, Northridge. Each of these students will receive $5,000 per year for four years to any accredited Indiana college or university. This memorial scholarship is only one of the many positive initiatives established due to Mr. Gundlach’s gift in 2011. Since the inception of the scholarship, 24 Elkhart County students have received this $20,000 award.  Over the next decade, it is anticipated that over sixty students in our community will be presented the Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship.

Commenting on the awards, Community Foundation Scholarship Chair, Gordon Moore, noted that the Community Foundation administers over 80 funds. “In fiscal year 2016, the awards totaled more than $1.7 million benefiting hundreds of students from Elkhart County who are currently pursuing higher education. Consequently, these scholarships make a considerable impact, not only in the lives of these students and their families, but also on the educational and economic future of our county.”


Each of the eligible high schools in Elkhart County selects one nominee evaluated on the basis of academic performance (including grades and course load), extra-curricular and civic involvement, work experience, career goals, unusual circumstances, interview and an essay.

“After the Community Foundation scholarship committee received the nominee applications, names were removed from the application and the applications were scored (excluding the essays) by the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee and staff,” Amanda Jamison, Community Foundation Program Officer, explains. “The ‘blind’ essays were then scored by Goshen College professors, the scores tallied and the field narrowed to the top five nominees. The finalists’ names were submitted to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for final review and selection of the final three recipients.” ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.


The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a Bachelor’s degree. The program, now in its 20th year, has awarded 79 LECS to students in Elkhart County and 4,340 state-wide, thus far providing more than $352 million dollars in tuition scholarships since inception.