Donor Stories

29 Oct Guy “David” Gundlach

ETruth - Justin Leighty Sunday, August 26, 2012 Guy David Gundlach was a world traveler and a giver to charities around the world, but he always considered Elkhart his home. That's why, when he died of a heart attack last year at 56, he left nearly everything - a staggering gift of roughly $125 million - to the Elkhart County Community Foundation.
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21 Aug Don Pletcher

Former ECCF Board and Grant Committee Member

His dream? A larger endowment for the Fund for Elkhart County. Elkhart businessman and ECCF former board member Don Pletcher has a passion for the Fund for Elkhart County, the Foundation’s unrestricted endowment fund. “This is what we really need,” Don says with conviction in his voice. “The concept is terrific: Present monies for future needs.”
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21 Aug Dick and Anne Treckelo

Their gift: A traditional IRA

In 2006 and again this year, Indiana residents have the opportunity to gift from their IRAs – while they are living – without having to pay state taxes on that gift, thanks to the federal Pension Reform Act of 2006. If you are over 70 ½ on the date of a gift (distribution) to charity, you may exclude from your gross income up to $100,000 from a traditional or Roth IRA. Distributions can be applied to satisfy a plan owner’s minimum required distribution for the year, but they must be delivered or postmarked to the Elkhart County Community Foundation (or other charity) no later than December 31st, 2007.
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21 Aug Betty Chatten

A Legacy Lives on

A native and current resident of Elkhart, Betty Chatten is following in her father’s footsteps. Her dad, Merrill (Chick) Chatten was the well-known owner and general manager of Elkhart’s Ford dealership from 1938 to 1959. For the benefit of his wife’s and daughter’s future financial security, chick set up an initial charitable trust fund at the First National Bank (now KeyBank) in Elkhart.
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21 Aug Bill Budd

“The Scripture about doing good things quietly fits him,” said friend Jean Daering. “He’s very modest.” “He served on the boards of a lot of charities around town,” said former colleague Bob Stackhouse. “He never became the head person who got the attention. Bill always worked in the background but he was responsible, in a lot of ways, for their success.”
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21 Aug Bill and Sonia Caldwell

“Teaching a work of heart.”

After his wife Sonia’s death from leukemia in May 2006, retired professional Bill Caldwell wanted to not only honor her memory but also her professionalism and dedication to excellence in education. Sonia had been a teacher since 1968, teaching fifth grade at Elkhart’s Mary Daly school for the last 15 years. Specializing in reading and math, she headed the school’s Chapter I curriculum development, helped develop Daly’s mentoring program and encouraged leadership in her students via their peers. Sonia had high standards for her students – some, as adults, came back to thank her.
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21 Aug Brian Smith

co-CEO, Heritage Financial Group

Giving Through ECCF Brian Smith understands the value of a community foundation. Although he admits that at first he didn’t really understand the benefits of donors investing their money through ECCF, rather than giving to a specific charity.
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21 Aug Dana Snider

Scholarship Committee Member

Retiring after 32 years in education, former Northridge guidance counselor Dana Snider is pleased as he watches Elkhart County’s Dollars for Scholars® program grow. “Actually, it’s not just growing,” he says. “Through contributions and memorials, it’s snowballing!” Viewing the school’s previous scholarship program as too limited, Dana initiated the first county Dollars for Scholars chapter at Northridge in the late 80s so that more high school students could be eligible for college funding assistance. Now, almost all Elkhart County public school systems have a chapter.
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21 Aug Fidler Family

John and Lois Fidler and children, Karen Downing, Kelley Fidler and Steve Fidler

Their gift: A combination of stocks, bonds and mutual funds Like others who give through the Elkhart County Community Foundation, John and Lois Fidler believe ECCF is the perfect philanthropic channel for their gifting “because it touches so many different organizations,” as John says. Through their donor advised Fidler Family Charitable Fund, their gift to ECCF benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen, CAPS and the Goshen Hospital Foundation on an annual basis, plus other deserving organizations as determined by John and Lois, their three children and grandchildren – in the spirit of multi-generational philanthropy.
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21 Aug Lewis & Elizabeth Fidler John and Lois Fidler & Family

For nearly 50 years, one sign of community progress was a Fidler concrete truck on the way to a job. Perhaps the foundation for a new home or office building was about to be poured, or maybe someone was getting a new driveway. Whatever the project, Fidler was a name associated with construction; it continues to be associated with building the community today.
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