Community Foundation helps community members be a positive presence into perpetuity

Written by the Banner Graphic, published December 10, 2021

The Putnam County Community Foundation is a positive presence in the community in the way that it facilitates the ability for others to be a positive presence, even long after they are gone.

In the case of the late Orville and Frances Webb, it means that their generosity is impacting others nearly two decades after their deaths.

The Orville Webb Endowment Fund, founded by Orville and Frances, was established in 2003 after the Jefferson Township couple had passed.

The initial gift of $311,699.57 came from the remaining trust assets of a charitable remainder trust.

Since its inception and initial grant in 2005, the endowment has awarded more than $322,000 to benefit local nonprofit and religious organizations.

The fund disburses more than $20,000 every year to support their chosen organizations.

The Webbs trusted the Community Foundation to fulfill their wishes in perpetuity. Each year, the Community Foundation sends annual payouts to seven originations, selected by Orville and Frances, before they passed away.

The organizations supported by the Webbs’ generosity are:

  • 10 percent – Putnam County Public Library,
  • 20 percent – St. Paul’s Church,
  • 20 percent – St. Meinrad Archabbey,
  • 15 percent – South Putnam Sports League (formerly Belle Union Sports League),
  • 15 percent – South Putnam High School Scholarship Endowment,
  • 10 percent – Belle Union High School Alumni Association Scholarship,
  • 10 percent – Asbury Towers.

Through their endowment, the Webbs are now supporting not only people they’ve never met, but young people who weren’t even born when Orville and Frances passed away.

“The rapid, consistent growth of the Orville Webb Endowment makes perhaps the best case for how donors, agencies and nonprofits can impact our county forever with an endowment,” PCCF Executive Director Brandon Wells said. “Because they are invested and strategically managed, endowments can grow 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Establishing an endowment is an incredible way to leave a legacy.”

Orville G. Webb was born on Sept. 3, 1910. He was a 1928 graduate of Greencastle High School and attended Purdue University.

He was a well-known and respected farmer in Putnam County, Belle Union area. He married Alice “Frances” Kerr on Sept. 18, 1935.

The couple lived in Greencastle and had no children. Mr. Webb preceded his wife in death on December 26, 2001, at 91. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.

Alice “Frances” Kerr was born January 14, 1912, in Covington, and was a 1930 graduate of Greencastle High School. She worked at DePauw University and was very involved in St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Greencastle, where she played the organ. She died on September 21, 2002, at age 90 and is buried next to her husband in Forest Hill Cemetery.

According to nephew Thomas Webb, Orville was passionate about farming, conservation practices and Belle Union/Jefferson Township. Frances was passionate about her Catholic faith and being the accompanist at church. Orville and Frances hosted international students from DePauw and always were graciously opened up their home to family and friends.

Though the endowment itself was not established until after their deaths, Orville had created the charitable remainder trust in 1994. 

The Webbs’ story is an example of the power of philanthropy through the establishment of an endowment with the Putnam County Community Foundation. Through the income generated from the endowment, the fund has grown while also giving out more money that when it was originally established.

One of the main focuses of the Putnam County Community Foundation is to provide permanent charitable assets to benefit our county. The Community Foundation seeks to enrich life and strengthen community, now and into the future.

To this end, PCCF currently administers more than 315 funds.

Although the needs of Putnam County change over time, the necessity to address those needs will remain constant. Endowments are permanent funds where the principal is invested, while a portion of the fund is distributed annually to the philanthropic organizations of the donor’s choice.

What if your gift could benefit your community not just in your lifetime but forever?

The assets will continue to grow perpetually and ensure Webb’s philanthropic legacy lives on forever.

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