When this reporter came to town, the first thing I noticed was the YMCA on S.R. 59. It was made possible, in part, by the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation.
My wife and I often ate lunch together at Forest Park, another beneficiary of the foundation.
A few weeks ago, our grandson, Logan, played on the Forest Park playground equipment -- made possible, at least in part, by the foundation.
"We have done many, many great things," Civic Foundation board member Denzil Adams said Tuesday.
That's no brag, just fact.
"We've helped just about every organization in town," he said.
On July 1, the resources of Clay Civic Memorial Foundation Inc., were combined with the resources of the Clay County Community Foundation, an organization started by the Civic Foundation in 1997.
"We have had the feeling this community is not so large as to need two charitable foundations," Adams said.
The decision to add the Civic Foundation's funds to the Community Foundation will be celebrated at an open house on Tuesday, July 18, 4:30-7 p.m. at Traditions in downtown Brazil. Everyone is welcome, but they should let Community Foundation Affiliate Director Brian Deakins know by calling (877) 232-2230.
The major reason the Civic Foundation wanted to form the Clay County Community Foundation, under the auspices of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, was to "be a part of the Lilly Endowment GIFT initiative," wrote former Civic Foundation President Dr. Hal Glidden in 1998 for the Wabash Valley Community Foundation's IMPACT newsletter. "By affiliating, Clay County can have a community foundation separate from the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation. The Clay Civic Memorial Foundation can continue benefiting charitable purposes and the Clay County Community Foundation can assist county residents to build a permanent charitable endowment."
It had always been Dr. Glidden's vision to build good things for Clay County.
It was that same vision that inspired Dr. Robert Maurer and Dr. Everett Conrad to seek like-minded people in the spring of 1975.
In a letter written by Dr. Maurer to Joe Redenbarger, publisher of The Brazil Times, Dr. Maurer wrote of the need for a community memorial fund.
That same week, Dr. Conrad "drove into my driveway. As he entered my house, he said, 'Bob, I have an idea I would like to talk to you about,' " Dr. Maurer later recalled.
"When he got through discussing and explaining his thoughts on some sort of a memorial fund as a fundraising organization for goals yet undecided, I said to him, 'Everett, have you been reading my mail?'"
Soon, an ad-hoc committee met to discuss the possibilities, including Dr. and Mrs. Conrad, Dr. and Mrs. Maurer, Joe and Janice Redenbarger, Fred Adamson, Linn Kidd, Ray Lambert, John Thomas, Ted Nesty, C.M. Smith, Eugene Weaver and Judge Robert Neal, who chose the name, Clay Civic Memorial Foundation.
The vision continues as $150,000 from the Civic Foundation is placed in the Community Foundation's unrestricted funds and $150,000 will be placed in an Advised Fund to be overseen by former Civic Foundation board members Denzil Adams, Mike Lawson and Dr. Ryan Ross.
When asked what the Civic Foundation has meant to the community, Mike Lawson said, "We have provided start-up money for very small projects to very large projects, from the Genealogical Society to helping build the playground at Forest Park.
"We fund groups that don't qualify for other means of funding.
"I think it's important for previous benefactors to know (the Civic Foundation's work) will continue through the Advised Fund."
Dr. Hal Glidden is no longer with us, but his head and heart were in the Civic Foundation. One of its projects was to purchase the clocks that now adorn the top of the courthouse.
"For years, until his health prevented it, he would climb the steps and reset those clocks, whenever they were off," Denzil Adams said.
When the new Brazil Public Library addition is complete, the Community Foundation's Advised Fund will purchase a clock for the library in Dr. Glidden's name.
"We have a long tradition of helping people," Adams said.
Through the Community Foundation, the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation will continue to do so.
Your presence is requested at an open house to celebrate the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation and the Clay County Community Foundation, 4:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, July 18, at Traditions in downtown Brazil.
Please RSVP by calling Brian Deakins, (877) 232-2230.