Investments support grantees’ work

The Dekko Foundation, a private family foundation located in Kendallville, IN, with a mission of fostering economic freedom through education, awarded more than $685,000 in grants and pledges to 15 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:

  • Baker Youth Club (Warsaw, IN): $90,000 over three years to support administrative staffing needs so the organization can be more intentional in advancing its programs and financial sustainability.
  • City of Kendallville (Kendallville, IN): $75,000 to support construction of a skate park at the Kendallville Outdoor Recreation Complex so children and young people have a safe place to play and build skills.
  • Foundation for Art and Music in Education (Fort Wayne, IN): $5,000 to support students in the foundation’s Northeast Indiana grantmaking area in participating in fine arts programs in which they can explore their creativity and express themselves.
  • Indiana Troopers Youth Services (Indianapolis, IN): $3,000 to support the Indiana State Police Youth Career Camp where campers can have positive interactions with members of law enforcement and learn about potential careers.
  • Stone’s Trace Historical Society (Ligonier, IN): $12,000 over three years to support students’ learning and gaining a sense of community by taking part in the organization’s Living History Days and Pioneer Festival.
  • Warsaw Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Warsaw, IN): $7,500 to support the church’s summer nature preschool program in which children connect with the natural world, explore and take healthy risks, and build self-confidence.
  • Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation (Athens, AL): $15,500 to support the purchase of a community outreach van that will bring youth services and programs to children and young people throughout Limestone County.
  • Central Noble Community School Corporation (Albion, IN): $137,360 over three years to support efforts at Central Noble Primary School to help students build foundational skills that support their reading and language proficiency.
  • Clarke County Conservation Board (Osceola, IA): $100,000 to support the construction of an education center at East Lake Park that will help young people have a greater appreciation for nature as well as provide space for community members to come together.
  • Kosciusko Community YMCA, Inc. (Warsaw, IN): $50,000 to support the installation of artificial turf fields that will increase the number of young people learning teamwork, developing character, and connecting with adult mentors through soccer.
  • Limestone County Schools (Athens, AL): $10,000 to support a program at Tanner Elementary in which students practice problem solving and build skills through completing basic woodworking and soldering projects.
  • Prairie Heights Community School Corporation (LaGrange, IN): $30,000 to support high school students building skills in graphic arts and website design that can help them be successful after graduation.
  • St. Mary of the Assumption School (Avilla, IN): $50,000 to support improvements to the school that will reduce maintenance costs and help ensure a safe environment for students.
  • The Village Early Childhood Center (Osceola, IA): $25,000 to support upgrades within the center so that the learning environment aligns with children’s needs.
  • Leon Chamber of Commerce (Leon, IA): $75,000 to support the installation of new playground equipment at the Little River Recreation Area so that children can safely play together.

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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