Our Storybook

Giving transforms lives. Explore our storybook to see how your gifts create positive change.


Naming Your Priorities

A Named Bright Future Fund at South Madison Community Foundation is a way to express your priorities your community within the broad scope of the Foundation’s grant-making. In creating a Named Fund, a donor is asked to write a statement of priorities that is included as an exhibit of the Fund Agreement.

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Times Change

When designing a charitable endowment to benefit your community, it’s practically impossible to imagine an unknown future. What happens if a benefitting organization changes significantly, or closes its doors?

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Love Your Neighbor

Conversing with Margaret Comarella about her neighbors Joe and Myrtle Montgomery has a way of erasing time.

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Founder Wilbert Fredericks and sons

Fredericks Inc. / Markleville Lumber Legacy Fund

Local companies are the backbone of community. They shore up our civic organizations, support our sport teams, and provide a stable living for generations of workers. Their legacy is broad and deep. In the case of the Fredericks, Inc./Markleville Lumber Co., their legacy is also perpetual, as ongoing grants from their charitable fund will "support local" every year, forever.

Read More: Fredericks Inc. / Markleville Lumber Legacy Fund

Pendleton Log Cabin

The log cabin was vacant, overgrown, and rotting in place slowly - or quickly- depending on each year’s water levels on the creek where it was built.

When the creek was at its highest, the water inched up to the windowsills.

Many looked at the cabin and saw a lost cause. Others looked at the cabin and saw opportunity.

About ten concerned neighbors formed a working group that hatched a plan to save the cabin.

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Meet Lee and Gretchen Hanna

I’d like to introduce you to Lee and Gretchen Hanna.

Lee and Gretchen lived most of their lives in Pendleton. Both worked for many years in Anderson’s factories. Lee later farmed full time. The couple attended Markleville North Christian Church and devoted free time to church and community projects.

Described as humble and patriotic, the Hannas lived modestly. All the while, they were building a legacy for their community that would only come to be known after their deaths.

Lee passed away in 2006 and was followed by Gretchen on Christmas Eve 2013. Soon after, the Community Foundation received notice that the Hannas had quietly planned their legacy for their community through a significant estate gift.

Read More: Meet Lee and Gretchen Hanna

Dr. Phillip Shirley's Shoe Santa Project

December 11, 2017

Early this snowy morning, the Shoe Santa made his list and checked it twice.  He enlisted a full crew of elves and invited them to Anderson’s Shoe Carnival in the quiet hour before the store opened to the public.

One by one, children’s names, ages, and shoe sizes were called out.  Shoe Santa’s elves scurried about, seeking the right size and best style for each child.  The elves found tiny shoes, large shoes, glittery shoes, and rugged shoes and labeled each with a child’s name.  They carried stacks of shoes to a tall silver rack where Shoe Carnival staff inspected each pair to ensure they were properly matched.  Shoe Santa reminisced, “One year, I got ice skates for Christmas, and got two right skates.  Boy.  That was a bummer!”

As Shoe Santa reached the end of his list, Shoe Carnival staff assigned all eligible discounts and helped load the boxes into the Shoe Santa’s large white pickup truck.  At the end of this expedition, the Shoe Santa had purchased 92 pairs of shoes for children in need.

Shoe Santa and his elves wrap each shoe box and ensure delivery in time for Christmas.  The families who receive shoes from are heartened by the gifts.  For a rare moment, they don’t have to make a calculated choice between buying new shoes for their child’s growing feet and new jeans for their longer legs.  Shoe Santa’s generosity offers encouragement.  “Know that someone understands your struggle.  Know that someone cares. ”

Read More: Dr. Phillip Shirley's Shoe Santa Project

The JoAnn Karaffa-Owens Continuing Education Fund

JoAnn Karaffa-Owens' life work has focused on her passions for continual learning. As a lifelong educator and former principal, JoAnn understands the importance of education in building strong communities and strong leaders. Whether it be through volunteering at Pendleton Christian Church, participating with the Lions Club, or leading the Pendleton Travel Company, JoAnn's life has been exemplified by serving others, strengthening her community, and lifelong learning and exploration.

Read More: The JoAnn Karaffa-Owens Continuing Education Fund