Grantees’ projects support youth development

The Dekko Foundation, a private family foundation located in Kendallville, IN, with a mission of fostering economic freedom through education, awarded more than $339,000 in grants and pledges to seven 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 and pledges were:

  • Children First Center (Auburn, IN): $40,000 to support the organization’s growing capacity to serve families in northeast Indiana and promote the healthy development of children and young people.
  • LaGrange First Church of God (LaGrange, IN): $42,000 to support operations at the Lighthouse Montessori Education Center in Ashley, IN, so that young people can learn in an intentionally prepared environment in which they build knowledge, skills, and character.
  • Wawasee Community Schools (Syracuse, IN): $35,000 to support the Lead Learners coalition so that educators are empowered to spark transformational change in schools and provide individualized learning opportunities for students.
  • DeKalb County Central United School District (Waterloo, IN): $50,000 to support the purchase of new playground equipment so that students and community members have more recreational options and opportunities to socialize with one another.
  • McMillen Center for Health Education (Fort Wayne, IN): $20,000 to support campus upgrades so that northeast Indiana students have a positive and safe experience as they participate in the center’s health education programs.
  • Lucas County Health Center (Chariton, IA): $2,831 to support the center’s purchase of CPR manikins so that high school students in the community can learn and practice life-saving skills.
  • Town of North Webster (North Webster, IN): $150,000 to support the construction of a 4.5-mile connector trail to the town’s middle school so that students and community members can walk and bicycle safely and have increased recreational opportunities.

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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