The first community foundation was founded in Cleveland in 1914. There are more than 700 community foundations in the United States today-and the model is particularly popular in the Midwest. Indiana has the distinction that every county is served by a community foundation or affiliate fund. The community foundation model has spread throughout the world and has been called the fastest-growing form of philanthropy.

The Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc. (CFSCI) was established in 1997 by a group of 16 dedicated local volunteers who took a challenge from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create a community foundation in Switzerland County. In the beginning, the CFSCI was an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Madison & Jefferson County, but in 1999 became incorporated as its own nonprofit organization. The CFSCI has long benefited from the leadership of caring and knowledgeable residents including board presidents such as John Keeton, Roger Nay, Judy Firth, Jill Hutcherson, Cindy Welch, Sandy Althoff, Roger Parrott, Adam Cole and Steve Lyons.

What began in 1997 as a vision to improve the quality of life in Switzerland County has become a mission to promote positive change and encourage giving throughout the community. The residents of Switzerland County have responded to the Foundation by creating endowment funds and giving to established funds to support the charitable programs and projects in the county and to give back to Switzerland County in a way that will forever benefit its residents.

Below is a timeline of important events in the development of the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc:

March 1997
CFSCI was created as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Madison & Jefferson County, Inc.

October 1997
Pam Acton was hired as the first executive director. The first office opened and was located at 128 W. Main Street in Vevay.

December 1997
The Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home Scholarship was the first endowment established.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program began. Switzerland County's first Lilly Scholar was Renee Hoskins Rogers.

Through Lilly Endowment Inc.'s GIFT IV program, a $1 million grant was awarded to the Community Foundation to build a community center (the current YMCA).

CFSCI moved its office to a larger facility, located at 316 Ferry Street in Vevay.

September, 1999
CFSCI became incorporated as its own nonprofit corporation.

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded a $5 million CAPE (Community Alliances To Promote Education) grant to the Switzerland County School Corporation, with CFSCI serving as the advisor.

Wilma Firsich established the first charitable gift annuity at the CFSCI.

CFSCI moved across the street to 317 Ferry Street and began sharing office space with the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation, who owned the building.

CFSCI began offering the College Costs Estimator service to all Switzerland County families.

CFSCI became one of the first six community foundations in Indiana to successfully complete the Indiana standards confirmation process and achieve confirmation. CFSCI received compliance at the national level as well.

CFSCI received its first gift of land from the Heritage Community Bank (formerly Vevay Deposit Bank). The four buildings donated were sold by sealed bid.

Switzerland County was awarded a second $800,000 CAPE grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded CFSCI a Sustaining Resource Development grant to implement a three-year development plan.

CFSCI hired it's second employee- Melissa Andrew as the Marketing/Development Director.

CFSCI began the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program in Switzerland County.

CFSCI moved to 303 Ferry Street, which is located above MainSource Bank.

CFSCI celebrated their 10th Anniversary throughout the year and concluded it with a dinner and celebration in November.

From the Economic Opportunities 2015 (EcO15) grant awarded to CFSCI in 2008, the first advanced manufacturing classes at Switzerland County High School began.


CFSCI awarded the first grants from the Women's Fund of Switzerland County.


Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., the Community Foundation participated in the Community Foundation Internships Program by hiring Kodi Thayer in the summer and Angela Yates in the Fall/Winter.


CFSCI hosted an Appreciation Reception for endowement creators in August at the brand new Switzerland County Technology & Education Center.  CFSCI was a catalyst in the creation of the Center.


CFSCI played an important role in the Vevay-Switzerland County Bicentennial by serving as the fiscal agent.


Lilly Endowment, Inc. announced the sixth initiative under it's GIFT (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) program.  It will offer matching gift opportunities for Switzerland County.


CFSCI focused on raising unrestricted dollars for the GIFT VI matching program offered by Lilly Endowment Inc.


CFSCI received accreditation with National Standards for Community Foundations.


CFSCI hired Sarah Brichto as its third staff person.  She will serve as the Workforce Education/Grant Development Director.