Community Foundation congratulates 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars and Guy D. Gundlach Memorial Scholars

Eight local students receive substantial scholarships

December 17, 2020

Eight Elkhart County students are being honored with significant scholarships from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Lilly Endowment Inc.

Three students from Elkhart County will receive Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships (LECS) which provide full tuition, fees and $900 a year for required books and equipment to any accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana. The selected students are: Camri Garretson, Jimtown; Samantha Markham, NorthWood; and Noemi Vela, Goshen. Since its inception in 1998, Elkhart County has honored 91 Lilly Scholars.

In addition, the Community Foundation is also pleased to award the Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship to the following five students: Vanessa Celis, Concord; Breanna Hunt, Northridge, Genesis Maust, Bethany Christian; Zahraa Mozan, Elkhart; and Jaidyn Rhodes, Fairfield. 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, 48 Elkhart County students have received this $20,000 award. 

Commenting on the awards, Rob Cripe, Community Foundation Career Pathways Chair, noted that the Community Foundation administers over 100 scholarship funds. “In our last fiscal year, the awards totaled $2.6 million to help hundreds of students from Elkhart County who are currently pursuing higher education. We are focused on creating pathways for students pursuing education, which strengthens Elkhart County and improves both their quality of life and of the community as a whole.”


Each of the eligible high schools in Elkhart County selects one nominee evaluated based on 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’s Career Pathways Committee received the nominee applications, names were removed and the applications were scored (excluding the essays) anonymously,” said Amanda Jamison, Community Foundation Senior Program Officer. “The ‘blind’ essays were then scored by Goshen College professors, the scores tallied and the field narrowed to the top six 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 30 regionally accredited, degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

About the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program

Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided over $424 million in grant support for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, since its inception in 1998.

Administered statewide by Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. with local support from Indiana community foundations, 4,912 Indiana high school students have been awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

CONTACT: Amanda Jamison, Program Officer

[email protected], (574) 295-8761

Camri Garretson, Jimtown High School
Samantha Markham, NorthWood High School
Noemi Vela, Goshen High School