"Our investment is in this community and there's no better way to strengthen it than to empower local citizens with education and degree opportunities right here at home."
- Beverly Matthews, executive director of Henry County Community Foundation
New Castle lawyer Greg L. Crider wanted to raise $1 million for Ivy Tech Community College's new campus in Henry County. He knew a large portion of the money would have to come from individuals.
So he made six phone calls to six different couples he thought would be willing to donate to the project. He was more correct than he ever expected.
The couples all made donations ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. And now because of their willingness to help and because of $250,000 contributions from two foundations here, Henry County's Ivy Tech campus will feature a $1 million medical education wing when it opens next year.
"It's one thing to be well off financially. It's another thing to be generous with it." Crider said on Thursday. "What distinguishes the couples is not that they can afford to do it. It's that they've done it.
"Most of the couples have done it before and will, in all likelihood, do it again."
Beverly Matthews, the executive director of the Henry County Community Foundation, announced the success of the $1 million fundraising campaign during Wednesday's Henry County Commissioners meeting.
In addition to the $500,000 from the six couples with ties to New Castle, the Community Foundation and the Henry County Hospital Foundation each donated $250,000 to the effort.
That money will work alongside about $2.2 million in food and beverage tax revenue that the Henry County Council allotted last year to renovate a former car dealership at 3335 S. Ind. 3 for a new Ivy Tech campus.
The food and beverage money will turn about 14,000 square feet of existing space into a community college with classrooms, a lounge and a laboratory.
The $1 million in donations announced this week will create a medical education center by adding about 7,500 square feet of space to the south of the dealership building.
Ivy Tech hopes to have the new campus open for classes early next year. Work on the medical center and the main facility will go on at the same time.
According to preliminary plans, the renovations for the dealership is phase one of the total project. The health education wing is phase two.
A third phase, which would add 5,000 square feet of space, could be completed some time in the future depending on when about $600,000 in additional funding is available.
During Wednesday's commissioners meeting, Gail Chesterfield, the chancellor for Ivy Tech's East Central Region, said the medical education center will offer classes in nursing, respiratory care and medical assisting.
Also, Chesterfield said Ivy Tech is excited about the opportunities it now has in Henry County.
"I don't know of a community that's pulled together this quickly and secured this amount of funding for such a worthy cause," Chesterfield said during the meeting.
Ivy Tech has had a presence in Henry County for decades. However, with its own campus, the college believes it will be able grow from serving about 350 students here each year to about 1,000.
County officials believe that the Ivy Tech campus will help educate more residents, improving their lives personally, while also attracting new economic development opportunities.
On Wednesday, Kim Cronk, president of the commissioners, said the Ivy Tech campus is the beginning of the future of the county.
"We're setting an example," Cronk said. "And our young children are watching right now to see what we're doing."
The Henry County Community Foundation's board of directors voted unanimously to donate $250,000 to help build the health education wing. The Community Foundation has also set up a pass-through fund to help with future Ivy Tech needs.
Beverly Matthews, the foundation's executive director, said the Ivy Tech project is an investment that will "empower local citizens with education and degree opportunities."
Nicole Broyles, the president of the foundation's board, agreed on Thursday, saying that the $1 million fundraising campaign shows that people have faith in Henry County.
"We completely believe that this community can grow again," Broyles said. "And we're looking toward a positive future."
The Henry County Hospital Foundation, which receives donations in support of the hospital, also chipped in $250,000 for the health education wing.
In a press release, Paul Janssen, president and CEO of the hospital, said training future employees for the hospital and other health care agencies in Henry County was a "great endeavor."
Crider noted on Thursday that about 90 percent of Ivy Tech graduates work in the communities where they get their degrees.
The names of the couples who donated $500,000 total to the health education wing are currently not being released. But Crider said the couples will be honored publicly at a later date.
Crider said he believes that somehow, God played a role in the success of the fundraising campaign.
For one reason, all six couples he called agreed to donate.
Plus, last year, when Ivy Tech had almost abandoned its pursuit of a new campus in New Castle because of financial concerns, Henry County government discovered a surplus of revenue in its food and beverage fund.
As Crider said Thursday, "It's almost beyond chance that everything fell into place perfectly."