In 1954 the Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, Ohio, a member of a world wide community service organization, established a fund for college bound high school graduates who are residents of Lakewood.

Since that humble beginning with one scholarship awarded, the program, now known as the Lakewood Kiwanis Foundation, has granted 188 scholarships valued at over $2,500,000. All funds in the Foundation are donated.

Ask your high school counselor to apply in the Winter of your Senior Year.

99 years of dedicated service to youth

by Robert O. Lorbach

In the early 1940's a group of Lakewood Kiwanians, who were card playing buddies, decided that our club could benefit financially by redeeming Ohio Sales Tax Stamps. In order to aid in the collection of this tax, the state required that sales tax receipts be given to each purchaser in the form of tax stamps. These stamps could be redeemed by charitable organizations at three cents on the dollar. This group of Kiwanians were soon joined by other members who sorted and counted stamps while enjoying good fellowship. The members of the club responded to the challenge by bringing in many bags of stamps each Tuesday.

The accumulated income was set aside until a project could be decided upon. Clayton Aurand, Charles Burton, Harry Roberts and Paul Spayde, as members of the Vocational Guidance Committee, had been thinking of a scholarship Program, So, in early 1954 they presented their idea to the club Board of Directors. After much discussion, the Board, under the direction of President Homer Bomgardner, approved a Scholarship Committee with all actions subject to their approval.

The first committee was appointed, started to function in 1954, and established the rules and regulations for its operation. An application blank was prepared and distributed to the high schools. It was agreed to award a $1,200.00 college scholarship to be paid over a period of four years at the rate of $300.00 per year. Each year's renewal was subject to the maintenance of passing grades. Two important stipulations were established:

The applicant must be a resident of Lakewood and there must be an evidence of need.

In fact, the prime goal was to help someone who might not make it without this assistance. Their scholastic ability and participation in school activities were also considered.

The committee of four divided into two groups of two each and visited the applicants in their homes. After these visits the four members got together to compare notes. Sometimes this selection process lasted into the very late hours. The final choice was then presented to the Board of Directors for their approval. This accomplished, the winning applicant, with his or her parents, were invited to the Kiwanis Club Meeting for the award presentation and introduction to the members. The 1954 award was granted to Miss Nancy Toser, who studied at Ohio Wesleyan and graduated with high honors in 1958.

As the applications increased it became more difficult to visit each one in his or her home, so the decision was made to set up appointments and conduct the interviews at the YMCA. The parents were also invited to accompany them and were encouraged to offer any information that could be helpful.

To ensure a fresh approach, and to keep it alive and growing, a new format for the appointment of committee members was adopted. In 1955 four members were appointed to serve as follows: Clayton Aurand 4 years, Harry Roberts 3 years, Charles Burton 2 years, and Paul Spayde 1 year. One new 4 year member to be appointed each year to replace the member whose term had expired. The retiring member could be reappointed for one additional 4 year term. However no member could serve more than two consecutive terms.

In an effort to encourage additional giving by the club members, the committee announced their goal of reaching $30,000.00, which at 4% interest would provide the $1,200.00 needed for each year's scholarship. Happily, this goal was soon met and passed.

In 1959 the committee decided to ask each recipient to accept the moral obligation to repay one-half of their award. This would give them the opportunity to share in helping others. It was suggested this repayment could start after graduation and employment. No enforcement has ever been attempted. Several have made the token repayments, and at least one has repaid the full amount.

The committee, in recognition of the increasing cost of living, asked the Board of Directors for permission to increase the annual award to $1,500.00. This request was granted and the 1960 award was given to Judith Oravec, who enrolled at Miami University at Oxford, Ohio.

By the end of 1960, the redemption of sales tax stamps was phased out, which eliminated that particular income. Not to be thwarted in their dedication and desire to promote the scholarship program, the committee set about to find an alternate source of income. After months of discussion and investigation, the members decided to establish an Eleemosynary Foundation. It was felt that this would encourage tax deductible contributions. The Board of Directors of the Club, Kiwanis International and the Internal Revenue Service approved, so the Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, Ohio Scholarship Foundation, Inc. was born on September 20, 1961, since renamed the Lakewood Kiwanis Foundation. The committee members became trustees and were elected by the membership. The membership in this foundation is limited to and shall consist of all new members in good standing of the Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, Ohio, Inc. The new trustees thanked Paul Acker for the many hours he had given so freely and recognized that his efforts and talent had been appreciated.

Several methods of encouraging donations were tried and it was gratifying to find that the members of the club were taking a real interest in the Foundation and the good work that was being done. A program was initiated whereby members could pledge various amounts to be paid over a three year period. Soon it became a tradition to give a donation to the fund in recognition of birthdays, anniversaries, joyous occasions and memorials.

On November 8, 1969, The William R. Daniels Fund was established with a gift of $15,000.00, with the interest each year given to the Scholarship Foundation, with his stipulation that no less than $1,000 was to be given each year.

Costs at college were constantly rising but fortunately the funds available had increased also. In 1967, the award grew to $2,000.00 and then in 1968 it jumped to $2,200.00, with two scholarships given, one to Ronald Stalle and one to Christine Foran. Then in 1969 two awards of $2,400.00 were given. Expenses at college continued their upward spiral which brought forth another increase. The award rose to $3,200.00 in 1974.

By 1976 the vocational guidance committee had prepared their recommendation that proposed awarding two year vocational scholarships in the amount of $300.00 each. After approval, an award was given to Margaret Ventura and Kathleen Tresko. That same year two college awards of $3,200.00 each were given. This was the beginning of a period of great growth in the number of students helped coupled with an increase dollar amount of each grant. No doubt, this made it easier for those on the selection committee.

The word was out that the Lakewood Kiwanis Scholarship Program was A-O.K., and as a result the applications grew each year. It was now necessary to screen the applications and select the ones to be interviewed by the members of the selection committee. Somehow the selection process never became easy. As the applications increased, the quality and merits of the young people kept pace. Most years there were more qualified applicants than available awards. During this time the awards were gradually increased. In 1982, four scholarships of $3,600.00 were given. By 1984 the amount grew to $4,000.00, and by 1989 five college-bound young people were awarded $8,000.00 each and five vocationally inclined students were awarded $2,000.00 each.

For years, Arlo Graber had been the liaison between the students in the scholarship program and the club. He delighted in following the careers of these young men and women. Though this had been a labor of love, it was not easy. In fact the task became too much for one man, so in 1984 the "Adopt a Student" program was initiated. Members of the club, as well as trustees were encouraged to "adopt" and follow him or her through their college years. Keeping in touch was beneficial to the students and the club.

The Kiwanians who have served the foundation over the years can take justifiable pride in the accomplishments of the young people who have been helped.

The first winner, Nancy Toser, was an English professor at the University of South Dakota. Stanley Yarvin was a college professor with a doctorate degree from Brown University and has co-authored a book on the study of religion. Arlene Wheeler was a programmer analyst at Ameritrust in Cleveland. Richard Wagner earned his Master of Divinity at Harvard and was a Pastor at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Covington, Kentucky. Tom Fraser is currently the president of First Federal of Lakewood Bank. The list goes on and on.

All this wonderful work was made possible by Kiwanians who were willing to give, not only their money, but also that precious element, time, so necessary for the success of any program. Arlo Graber, student - liason, Paul Acker, Foundation Incorporation - Jim McCollum, Records - Bob Lorbach, Trustee 18 years - Hal Craig and Elmer Osborn, Legal - Victor Cachat, treasurer - and this names only a few.

Bill Daniels said many times, "It is better to give than to receive", and his generosity was evident in his regular giving. Then in 1986, the Bill Daniels Trust was established to provide approximately $25,000.00 annually to the foundation.

Bequests and memorial giving have been an important source of income. Starting with $5,000.00 from Harry Barr, followed by $35,000.00 from Abe and Elsie Schultz, Arlo Graber willed $10,000.00 as did Joe Wilson with $5,000.00, as did Jim McCreedy. Add to this the great host of regular giving for all kinds of reasons by many Kiwanians. Even Pete McGrew with his "wet napkins" managed to bring in some generous contributions especially from Abe Pelunis.

It is not possible to name all the Kiwanians who have given so willingly of their time, energy, talents and money. In the absence of recognition please accept the "thanks" of all the students and their families.

In 2000 the foundation began accepting car donations and online donations.

Since 2001 the Foundation has granted at least 5 scholarships each worth $10,000.00 each. The total of all scholarships from 1954 to date is over $2,500,000.00.