We Love Where We Live! We hosted a banquet about all things JNF to thank some people who are exceptional examples of our motto and more!

We gathered local donors, nonprofit grantees, and local community members for our annual Celebration Banquet on Mar 11, 2024.

Brienne Hooker, JNF’s executive director, welcomed some 120 guests at the Fair Oaks Farms’ Farmhouse Ballroom.

“Thank you to those in the room who have served or are currently volunteering with JNF. It is with much gratitude that I thank you for giving your time and talent to help our local community. We cannot do this without you,” Brienne said in her opening remarks.

JNF highlighted that $2.8 Million dollars were granted out in Jasper and Newton Counties in 2023, and three organizations were invited to share their unique program, project, or progress with those in attendance. Krissy Wright, Director of the Brook Iroquois Washington Library, shared about the “Library of Things” available to patrons. 

This curated collection includes lawnmowers, spike ball kits, sewing machines, crock pots, and kids’ board games and action figurines, which are available to borrow just like any book with your library card. JNF granted money to the Brook and Remington Libraries to assist in the purchase of more unique items that patrons can borrow in both locations.

Howard Marshall gave a brief explanation of upcoming events and plans for the Town of Mt. Ayr. JNF granted to the Town of Mt. Ayr Projects Fund to assist in installing a mural visible from Highway 55 on a building foundation that will eventually be home to a new multipurpose building in their future plans.

Newton County’s Soil and Water Conservation District updated the guests on their Internship Program that will expose 24 North and South Newton High School students to jobs and opportunities in the conservation field over the next three years. This is JNF’s first Driving Home grant of $100K. Bri Styck, Director, shared that they are working with the second cohort of students and finding amazing success in this endeavor.

Jasper Newton Foundation also honored four community members for loving where they live and going “All In” with awards.

“We want to continue the tradition of saying ‘thank you’ to those community members who are completely committed to the love of their community, their job, and their desire to build a better future for all of us,” said Brienne as she introduced the award recipients.

JNF honored Laura Robbins, South Newton High School Guidance Counselor, for her dedication to her students, her tough love and care for them, and her community involvement outside of her work at school. 

We also awarded Adam and Carlee Alson of Appletree for the overwhelming amount of time, tears, and dedication it has taken to start a nonprofit organization and work to bring 76 high-quality child care seats back to Rensselaer. And finally, Rensselaer Volunteer Fire Chief Kenny Haun, who has raised the necessary infrastructure funding to implement the Governor’s Hub and Spoke Live Fire Training Tower in Rensselaer. This training piece will support recruiting and retaining local firefighters who will not have to travel to get their required certifications.

Brienne closed the evening by saying, “I hope you heard or saw something tonight that you want to learn more about or get involved with. I hope you thought about your charitable giving and how you can make an impact in the place you live and love.”

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