By Dan Davis
Many in our community recognize the Jackson County Sertoma Club as the Christmas Miracle folks, and for good reason.
For more than 30 years, Sertomans have organized the annual drive that delivers toys to hundreds of children all across Jackson County. It’s a true community project, with many groups, businesses, individuals and families involved.
Sertoma’s scope and impact on the community extends beyond Christmas Miracle, however. Just as eyesight is the international focus of Lions clubs, speech and hearing is the siren call of Sertoma International. The Jackson County Sertoma Club has long supported those efforts of helping people with speech and hearing needs here in the community.
Recently, the club made a gift of $7,500 to create a new endowed fund at the Community Foundation of Jackson County that will assist that work in perpetuity. The gift also earned $3,750 in matching dollars from the foundation.
The Jackson County Sertoma Club Hearing Aid Endowment will benefit an existing fund at the foundation. That fund, the Jackson County Hearing Aid Fund for School Age Children, was created in February 2006 by three Seymour High School students, Ashley Smoljo Beavers, Amy Boger Smith and Josh Self. Its goal was to help provide hearing aids to area children.
That effort is overseen by Jay Cherry of Seymour, a teacher for the deaf and heard of hearing who has served area school districts over the years. A committee of residents and educators from Brownstown, Crothersville, Medora and Seymour help make it work.
Its latest grant purchased a hearing aid for a Seymour student with profound hearing loss in the right ear and significant loss in the left, Cherry said. In all, about 20 students have received help through the fund, which operates with donations from local residents and groups, including the Sertoma Club. It now will also receive an annual grant from Sertoma’s new fund.
“We very much appreciate the club’s donations in the past and are excited to learn of this new Sertoma fund that will benefit our work to provide hearing aids for Jackson County children,” Cherry said. That comment came at a recent Sertoma meeting where the club also presented Cherry with a $1,000 donation for the Hearing Aid Fund for School Age Children.
Because the new Sertoma Hearing Aid fund was created as an endowment, it was eligible for $3,750 in matching funds through the foundation’s 25 Funds for 25 Years initiative, created to celebrate the foundation’s 25th anniversary and encourage gifts that can provide help to the community through annual grants and scholarships.
If you or your group would like to explore how your gifts might earn matching dollars for new or existing funds, call me at 812-523-4483 or stop by our office at 107 Community Drive in Seymour.
This is the Sertoma Club’s second endowment established at the foundation. The club created the Jackson County Sertoma Club Endowment in November 2000. Annual grants from that fund have helped finance the club’s scholarship program, Sertoman John Fox said. Earnings from the club’s fundraisers also help provide scholarships.
This year, Sertoma will award seven scholarships during honors day programs at Jackson County high schools.
Sertoma chairman of the board Scott Davis said the new fund is another example of ensuring that the club’s gifts from area residents are used to benefit Jackson County residents.
“We work hard at making sure that gifts are benefiting local needs,” Davis said. “We know that’s important to our donors and the businesses that support our work.”
Anyone can make a donation to either of the hearing aid funds or any of the other nearly 200 funds administered by the foundation.
Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, IN 47274. For information about donating to the foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Davis is a long-time member of the Jackson County Sertoma Club.