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Andrew E. and Aura (Sawyer) Durham Family Endowment

Year Founded
2012

Founder
Aura May Durham

Purpose of Fund
The primary purpose of the Fund shall be to provide financial support to charitable community projects and agencies as follows:

  • 40% to the Putnam County Museum
  • 40% to the Putnam County Public Library
  • 20% to the Aura May Durham Community Endowment for the community grantmaking programs of the Putnam County Community Foundation.

History of Fund
The Durham family has long been an influential force within Putnam County; in fact, Jacob Durham was one of the earliest settlers of Russellville, Indiana. After many years spent in Russellville as farmers, store-keepers, state legislators and founders of the Russellville Bank, the family moved to Greencastle, Indiana. 

Andrew “Pap” Durham, perhaps the most well-known of the family, grew up in Greencastle and attended the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, graduating with high honors. He continued his education at Indiana University and the Indiana School of Law. Pap began an impressive political career when he was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1913. He was reelected to the House in 1915, and then elected to the Senate in 1917 and 1923, where he became the Minority Leader.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1910, he married Aura May Sawyer of Muscatine, Iowa. The couple had five daughters and one son. Aura May Durham, one of their daughters, became a prominent figure within the Greencastle community. Aura May attended school at DePauw University and after graduating in 1946, went on to work for Universal Studios in New York City.

Aura May returned to Greencastle in 1954 when her father passed away. In 1958, she partnered with her sister-in-law, Fran Durham, and started a Putnam County Abstract business. While she preferred small-town life to life in a big city, Aura May balanced rural living with exotic world travels. Aura May’s generous donations to Putnam County help to keep the Durham influence alive. 

Grant Payout/History

First Grant Awarded

2014: $8,127.40

Most Recent Grant Award

2016: $34,700.86

Total Grant Awards:

$64,420.84

 

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