2018 Philanthropist of the Year event November 8

2018 Philanthropist of the Year event November 8

The McPherson County Community Foundation’s annual Philanthropist of the Year event is scheduled for Thursday, November 8 at 7 pm in the McPherson Opera House Theatre. The theme for the evening is “Imagine the Possibilities” as we work to inspire creative and enhance community through the arts. It is free and open to the public.

The Philanthropist of the Year award was originally started at the Vlunteer of the Year in 2008. Since that time, the Foundation has named 22 individuals as a recipient. The purpose of the award is two-fold. One is to recognize the tremendous amount of time and financial support local individuals have given to the community through their service. The second is to provide the organizations supported by the philanthropist a grant for their programs or projects.

Finalists for the 2018 Philanthropist award are: Gary and Rosemary Fisher, Vaughn Ingram and Harold Schlender. Excerpts from each of the nomination forms help better understand why each are being recognized.


Gary has dedicated countless hours of service to the city of Moundridge.  As an elected official for 27 years, Gary promoted the city in every way possible. The City Administrator noted, “Gary cared for members of the community and especially for the employees of the city, treating everyone with dignity and respect. He was always eager to learn and to look for ways to improve our community.”  The city has benefited immeasurably from his visionary leadership and will continue to do so for many years to come.  His efforts have helped make Moundridge a great place for residents, as well as for businesses to thrive and grow.

Rosemary has long been a dedicated activist for the Moundridge Historical Association. She was instrumental in applying for grants, securing funding, asking the business community for donations and support in order for the group to grow.  Again, with a core group of dedicated individuals, they have watched the Cole House be renovated back to the way it was, have had additional buildings erected, grounds improved and developed wonderful displays that provide great historical records for Moundridge.  The Homestead Trail Celebration has been implemented and perfected, growing every year with added events, people and programs.  Rosemary and Gary have always played a huge part in the celebration.


Vaughn is deeply and personally involved with many organizations in this community: Mt. Hope Sanctuary, Save ‘n Share, CUM, Harmony Christian Church, Elyria Christian School, McPherson County Fair, and the Kansas Guardianship program.

Vaughn donates his time as the accountant and co-treasurer for Harmony Christian Church, Board Treasurer for Churches United in Ministry (CUM), free accounting for various clients who are in need, and Elyria Christian School.  Vaughn prepares all of the financial documentation for Save ‘n Share and CUM.   He has five guardianships at this point and is the co-treasurer and department head of the Floriculture Department for the McPherson County Fair.

His investment in the ministry at Mt Hope Sanctuary is unparalleled. He has been involved with Mt. Hope Sanctuary since the very beginning in 2003.  He helped with its incorporation, writing bylaws, and securing the 501 (c)(3) status for Mt. Hope, all free of charge. For the past 15 years he has served Mt Hope as a board member, treasurer and accountant. He files the taxes, prepares payroll, ensures that the financial obligations are met, secures funds when needed from the bank, and prepares legal documents as needed for the organizations. He helps with every fundraiser and even gives from his own resources donating eggs, produce, and any other items he might see a need for at the Hope House.


Harold was one of several volunteers that started the McPherson Opera House Preservation Company with a goal to renovate this historic building. They knew when they started this was not going to be easy. The building had roof leaks, broken windows, the front was about to fall off, and it was infested with bats, mice, rats and pigeons. In addition, funds were low. There came a time when more funds were needed, and Harold gave a personal loan of thousands of dollars to the Opera House.

After a time, a McPherson Opera House Board was formed. Harold was a Board member, and after a couple of years, he was made Chairman of the Building Committee. Harold called it a “working chairman”   position.

Harold has the qualities of a true Philanthropist. In addition to volunteering at the Opera House for 14years and at the Cedars, he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce for 20 years. During that time, he was given The President’s Award in 2009 for his volunteer work. In 2000, he was given the Hometown Hero Volunteer service award. He received an award for his work from the Cedars too. He also served on the Board of Trustees and taught Sunday school at the First United Methodist Church. Larry Hatteburg, (KAKE TV News), featured Harold on Hatteburg’s People for his accomplishments.

Arts After School will also be showcased during the celebration. The program is designed to provide a safe environment for early adolescents to develop their artistic abilities, while minimizing at-risk youth behaviors after school for middle school students. Those participating in the music section will perform pieces they have learned this semester. Other students will have artwork on display and items they have made during their culinary sessions.