Jasper Newton Foundation is celebrating 30 YEARS! Together we have grown, changed and developed communities in Jasper & Newton counties and have big ideas for what’s ahead. The support of community members, volunteers and donors helped grow Jasper Newton Foundation as an organization and our donors made an impact in serving our communities.   

Moving forward, expect lots of nostalgia, throwbacks and memories that will be sure to bring back the good ‘ole days. Those good ‘ole days are the days that are currently driving and pushing the Jasper Newton Foundation ahead to what we are going to be in the next 30 years! We hope you follow along and share your memories with us, too. 

The Newton County Community Foundation was officially established in 1995. A small group of individuals in Newton County wished they could designate some of their funds to go back to serve others in their community. Such a thing didn’t exist yet in their area, a small group formed and started to work. 

Founding member Ronald Humphrey worked for Kentland Bank and knew many local organizations who supported the Newton Foundation early on. Ronald would eventually become the first president of the organization.  

Ronald and his wife, Virginia Sue formed the Humphrey Advised Endowment Fund dedicated to giving scholarships to Newton County high school students continuing their education. 

In the beginning, the Humphrey fund was used to distribute scholarships to Newton County students attending college.  The Fund gave over $17K in scholarships before the Pension Protection Act of 2006 did not allow for Donor Advised Funds to give out scholarships. After this shift in how funds were managed the Humphrey Fund continued to make an impact in the community through nonprofit support to local and national organizations and programs.  This fund has invested over $36K in nonprofit support over its lifetime and as an endowment, it will continue to invest annually in the community.


Similarly, founding member Russ Collins knew of a foundation where his daughter was living and wanted the same opportunities in Newton County. With the passing of his first wife, Russ established the Karen J. Collins fund.  Then, as commissioner, Russ was able to make connections and share the importance of giving back in a community. The landfill donations, Lilly Gift matches, and countless Newton County donors helped establish the financial stability of the Newton Foundation and the Newton County Community Fund.  The grant dollars that are able to be given year after year for charitable projects and in support of nonprofit organizations, education initiatives, cultural opportunities, health, historic preservation, and community building in Newton County are transformative.

Russ’ leadership and charitable giving through the Karen J. Collins Donor Advised Fund are great examples of the solid footing where the Jasper Newton Foundation now stands.  The assets that have grown to benefit Newton County now sit at $8 Million dollars and this legacy will continue.

The other founding members of the Newton County Foundation would agree that projects large and small improved the community and showed the importance for this organization to stay. While the need was definitely there, the funds didn’t match the need. The board discussed that combining forces may be the best way to ensure that funds and services still could support their county. 

Discussions were had between the Benton County Foundation and the Jasper Foundation and on November 1, 1995 the Newton County Community Foundation officially joined forces and affiliated with the Jasper Foundation. This partnership allowed for shared administrative assistance and was the beginning of starting to bring even more services to each community & supporting each other through challenges and successes. 

The Jasper Foundation continued their mission of enabling donors to carry out charitable intent through contributions through permanent endowment funds and grants that fulfilled the needs of the community. Without donors who know the power of gifts big and small, both the Newton and Jasper Foundations wouldn’t have been as successful in supporting our communities. 

The Jasper Foundation Board of Directors awarded nine grants from the unrestricted fund for $15,125 for their first grant cycle. They awarded grants to local organizations to carry out projects benefiting community members. 

The Lilly Foundation announced in 1996 that it would provide $500,000 in matching funds to local foundations. This matching gift amount drove the Jasper Foundation and the Newton Foundation to encourage others to donate, even a small amount, because Lilly was matching 50% of gifts back to local foundations which then would be distributed back into the community. 

Currently, the Jasper Newton Foundation has a similar partnership with The Lilly Foundation for matching gifts. If you have appreciated the services in our community and feel inclined to celebrate the Foundation in a financial way, we encourage you to give big and small back to the Jasper Newton Foundation.

Often through 1995-1997 both foundations spent time educating the communities on philanthropy, foundations and giving back. Both organizations saw the effects of education about giving reflected in the receipt of those gifts that were eventually funding the services back to the community. Being engaged in the philanthropic conversation and learning about why giving was important would go on to help others learn and be engaged in giving in their community. The community foundations became a known way to invest back in the community.

In the last 30 years we have learned & grown together. Partnering with the Newton Foundation led to further collaboration and relationships that we treasure.

What memories from the last 30 years of the Jasper Newton Foundation do you remember? We would love to hear them in the comments or by contacting us. Here’s to the next 30 years! 

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