Kenton Times July 24th, 2019
The Hardin County Community Foundation introduced its new office facility to the public on Tuesday with an open house.
The building is called the Judge William D. Hart Community Foundation Building and is named in honor of the man who led it for several years, said Board President Matt Jennings.
He noted the spacious building will be used not only to house records of the organization, but to serve as a meeting place for the board and its officers. The Hardin County Community Foundation was started in 1991 by John Jester and Al Horn, noted Hart in his comments to the crowd who gathered at the event.
“He (Jester) was very philanthropic and a man who believed in the goodness and greatness of Hardin County,” recalled Hart.
Jester and Horn approached area businessmen and community leaders and encouraged them to invest in the foundation. The money raised would be used for projects requested by municipalities and organizations to better the community.
Their vision of the group grew over the years to the point that the foundation this year could exceed $10 million in funds, noted Hart.
In recent years, he continued, there was a growing need to gather the records of the foundation to a central location.
“The records were kept all over the county,” said Hart.
The board began looking for a suitable location for its offices and when the former McKinley and Crates Law Office building on E. Franklin Street became available, the community supported its development to fulfill that need, said Jennings. Through the generosity of Clarence and Melba Jean Hensel the building was purchased and with the further assistance of the community of volunteers within and outside the board, the building became the new home of the organization.
Donations from the family of Ray and Mary Thompson were recognized by the board naming one room the Thompson Conference Room. Office furniture from Farm Credit was donated to the project, noted Jennings, and many hours of cleaning and painting were donated by a group of dedicated board members to bring the building to the point it is today.
Those who are seeking grants and other assistance for projects can seek information at the office, said Jennings. All the trustees are listed on the organization’s webpage and each will be “more than happy to talk with them.”
Eventually, said Jennings, the board hopes to be open to the public for regular hours. The board also approved a new logo designed by local artist Wes Goldsmith, Jennings continued, which will be featured on a sign in front of the building in the near future.
State Representative Jon Cross presented Jennings with a proclamation from the legislature honoring the opening of the new building. The decision to name the building in honor of Hart was easy for the board, said Jennings. Hart has dedicated himself not only to foundation through his endless hours of dedication, but has been a leader in the community.
“We are a very public organization,” said Hart. “We work well together … We need to do a better job of selling what we have to the community. We are here to help people and I will be behind that and pushing as far as I can go.”