The history of the Tipp City Foundation is an example of how one person’s investment in their community can grow into a major component of the area’s quality of life. The seed for the future was planted in 1943 when the Tipp City Foundation, a community trust, was born thanks to a $1,300 gift from Ed Timmer. This was the Foundation’s first endowment fund.

The fund grew during the early years and in 1950 the first legacy gift was received from the estate of Emma Henke Warner. This gift was in memory of her father, August Henke who, when he passed in 1923, was known as “Tippecanoe’s Oldest Man.” The gift gave life to the August Henke Comfort for the Needy Fund.

Handwritten succinct minutes of the Foundation’s Distribution Committee available beginning in 1950 tell of votes to support community programs such as Tipp City Youth Inc., the Women’s Relief Corps, the Band Club, and the Home School Club. Initial awards ranged from around $200 to more than $1,000 per year by the late 1950s.

By the 1970s, the list of community supported projects continued to grow with a 1974 meeting including approval of $500 for clinic beds for Tipp City schools and $50 for Tipp City bikeways.

In 1987, the estate of Helen Timmer presented the Foundation with a check for $1 million. Mrs. Nel Rodenberg said that Helen Timmer wanted her money “to be used by the Tipp Foundation to do its best for Tipp City and help its people,” meeting minutes by Secretary O. Jesse Chamberlain read

The maturing Foundation expanded its offerings from the traditional trust option to include an option for endowments. Under the leadership of Chairman Jim Kyle, this somewhat complicated change was implemented in 1999 to accommodate growth.

Since that time, the Tipp City Foundation has celebrated a number of milestones including expanding their service area to include neighboring Bethel Township in 2000 and reaching an impressive $1 million in grantmaking in 2001.

The Foundation has also found creative ways to expand their connection to the community by introducing a new way of giving and a new way of saying thank you. The Legacy Society was formed in 2011 welcoming 11 members. A legacy gift to the Foundation is activated upon asset transfer after the donor’s death. The Foundation introduced a Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2013. The inaugural recipients were Bob and Jackie Wahl.

Meanwhile, the numbers kept growing. In 2014, the endowment fund assets exceeded $3 million and in 2016, The Foundation was proud to celebrate $2 million in grants distributed to the community.

The Foundation observed its 75th year in 2018 with a yearlong Diamond Jubilee celebration. Among activities was the Arbor Day dedication of a Tree Grove at the Tipp City’s Kyle Park. The tree grove honors those who have established endowment funds of $25,000 or more through the Foundation.

Over the Foundation’s first 75 years, $2.2 million in grants have been made and 43 endowment funds have been established.

Although the foundation has grown and undergone numerous changes over the year, its goal remains the same: To promote local community endeavors and advance charitable giving through an unwavering commitment to future generations.

Thanks to Nancy Bowman for researching and crafting this account of the Tipp City Foundation’s history. 

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All marketing activities of the Foundation is 100% underwritten by generous sponsors. Please contact us at for information on how your business or organization can become our partner in philanthropy. 

  • Silver Sponsor – Thrivent Financial (Matt Buehrer)
  • Bronze Sponsors – Advanced Machinery Companies; Dunaway Family Foundation; Dungan & LeFevre; Ever-Green Turf & Landscape; Gibson Law Offices; Monroe Federal Savings and Loan; New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank; Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling; Unity National Bank
  • Friend Sponsors – Captor Corp.; Edward Jones (Neil Nehring); Frings & Bayliff Funeral Home; Minster Bank; RSM US; Turnstone Financial; US Bank

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