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Schwab grants announced

Foundation gives $405,430, most since 2007

– The Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation board on Tuesday announced $405,430 in grants, the largest amount awarded since the foundation was reorganized in 2007.

Fort Wayne businessman Olin Schwab formed the foundation in 1989 to help area students choose careers. He ran the foundation until his death in 1991; he left nearly his entire estate of about $4 million to the foundation.

In 2002, however, the board shrank to three members; outside financial oversight was removed, and board members bought a $1.5 million resort home outside Las Vegas.

They also tried to buy a $1 million vacation home in Wisconsin, spent lavishly on travel, paid themselves with luxury vehicles and annual salaries and moved the foundation to Nevada.

After the spending was revealed by The Journal Gazette in 2005, the foundation was sued by the attorneys general of Indiana and Nevada, the board members were removed, and the foundation was moved back to Indiana.

This year’s grants include the following organizations:

•Autism Society of Indiana: $63,000 to help individuals with autism, ages 14 through the transitions to adulthood, develop the skill sets and competencies to make them career-ready.

•Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana: $35,000 for the College Success Mentoring program.

•Junior Achievement of Northeast Indiana: $83,930 for additional career-readiness aspects to current JA programs and other career-readiness program needs.

•Northeast Indiana Regional Foundation: $85,000 to allow the Big Goal Collaborative and other partnership staff to work with project partners, including Gallup Inc., to develop strategies for three elements of their initiative.

•Region 8 Education Service Center: $110,000 to expand the College and Career Attribute Development Program to more school districts in the six-county area.

•Southwest Allen County Schools: $28,500 to further digitize their curricula incorporating college- and career-readiness as a key strand preparing the graduates for the world beyond high school.

M. James Johnston, president of the foundation’s board, said, “Olin Schwab’s dream was to help young people make career choices that would give them opportunities to recognize and realize their talents and potentials.”

Including this year’s grants, the Schwab Foundation has awarded $2.3 million to over 30 organizations in northeast Indiana since June 2007. The foundation’s website is