Foundation invests in grantees’ projects

The Dekko Foundation, a private family foundation located in Kendallville, IN, with a mission of fostering economic freedom through education, awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to 14 youth-serving organizations during its most recent round of grantmaking.

The foundation, started in 1981 by the late businessman and philanthropist Chester E. Dekko, invests in projects and programs that help build knowledge, skills, and character in children and young people from birth through age 18 so they can be self-sufficient and grow up to be economically free.

Its grantmaking is concentrated within 13 counties in four states — Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, and Minnesota — where Mr. Dekko had business or personal interests.

Organizations receiving grants were:

  • Community Foundation of DeKalb County (Auburn, IN): $250,000 to support renovations to the DeKalb Outdoor Theater to provide a better experience for audiences and entertainers.
  • Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District (Garrett, IN): $30,000 to support principle-based professional development for high school teachers.
  • Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana (Fort Wayne, IN): $25,000 to support the organization’s JA JobSpark career awareness program for eighth-grade and high school students.
  • West Noble School Corporation (Ligonier, IN): $3,000 to support a series of cultural events at West Noble Elementary School that brings families and educators together.
  • YMCA of Muncie/Camp Crosley (North Webster, IN): $1,000,000 over three years to support facility upgrades that will benefit programs and increase campers’ engagement.
  • Central Noble Community School Corporation (Albion, IN): $13,500 over three years to support an after-school tutoring program for high school students.
  • Early Childhood Alliance (Fort Wayne, IN): $37,524 to support the organization’s work with childcare providers in northeast Indiana by providing shared services, training, and curriculum resources.
  • Goshen College (Wolf Lake, IN): $35,000 to support the nature-based preschool program at the college’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.
  • Lakewood Park Christian School (Auburn, IN): $7,200 to support a new elective class for students that promotes artistic exploration and skill building through learning about music technology.
  • Wayne Center District No. 7 Historical Site, Inc. (Kendallville, IN): $32,000 over two years to support renovations to a one-room schoolhouse originally built in 1885 so programs can be offered throughout the year.
  • YMCA of Steuben County (Angola, IN): $250,000 to support the construction of a splashpad at the planned Sheets Family Park.
  • Lucas County Agricultural Extension District (Chariton, IA): $7,000 to support a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) academy in which elementary and middle school students take part in hands-on activities and build problem-solving skills.
  • FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Alabama (Meridianville, AL): $20,000 to support FIRST robotics programs in Limestone County, AL, schools that promote learning and skill building by students.
  • Image of Hope Ranch (Auburn, IN): $15,000 to support the organization’s tutoring and skill development programs for young people that help prepare them for the future.

If you’d like to learn more about how investments such as these support children and young people so they can achieve economic freedom later in life, contact a Dekko Foundation program officer at 260-347-1278. Or visit to explore the foundation’s mission and funding priorities, review its grantmaking process, or send a grant proposal.

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