Planting Seeds of Generosity

{Picture} The final tree on Thursday, October 20, 2016 was planted outside of Goshen College’s Music Center. Pictured from left to right: Rose Shetler, Director of Annual Giving and Operations Manager; Conrad Clemens, Goshen College Board Chair; Kathleen Yoder, Executive Assistant to the President Brenneman; Aaron Zou, Goshen College Board Member; Pete McCown, Community Foundation President; Jim Brenneman, Goshen College President; Shannon Oakes, Community Foundation Senior Program Officer; Marcia Yost, Music Center Executive Director; Ken Newbold, Provost; Richard Aguirre, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Jim Caskey, Vice President for Institutional Advancement; Brian Mast, Music Center Managing Director

On Thursday, October 20th the Community Foundation of Elkhart County planted seven ginkgo trees to symbolize its partnership with organizations throughout the county.

The symbolic plantings happened at agencies or institutions where the Community Foundation has supported programs over the years. The trees become a visual symbol of the Community Foundation’s support of these organizations making an impact in the community. Trees are now growing at DeFries Garden, LoveWay, Reason Enough to Act, Bashor Children’s Home, LaCasa Inc., Elkhart County Clubhouse and Goshen College.

Last year, the Community Foundation began this initiative by planting trees at Havilah Beardsley, Nappanee Soccer Complex, Goshen Fidler Pond, and Vista Community Health Center.

In 2015, the Community Foundation chose to identify itself with the Ginkgo tree as it represents many of the traits it values. The ginkgo is distinctive, has a remarkably strong root system, offers beauty to the landscape and has the ability to survive difficult storms and harsh circumstances. The ginkgo is also tenacious and is one of the longest-living species.

Its leaves have been used for remedies, just as the Community Foundation strives to support nonprofits and various endeavors that improve the health of our community, our businesses, and our people – impacting success.

“The trees are a quiet, respectful way of demonstrating the support from the Community Foundation,” said President Pete McCown.

“The Foundation has a responsibility to answer questions of what is done with the assets with which we’re entrusted,” he said. “We want to offer a symbol of our growing support for people and places that are improving life in our community.”

As there are hundreds of organizations throughout the county which have received support from the Community Foundation since its inception, the foundation hopes to carry on this tradition for many years to come.

“Someday Elkhart County will have a lot more ginkgo trees than most in northern Indiana,” McCown said.