Community Foundation Spotlight

Elmer Parks Named 2023 Aaron Stookey Spirit of Philanthropy Award Recipient

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Established in 1996, the Aaron Stookey Spirit of Philanthropy Award is named after Aaron Stookey to recognize individuals or businesses in our community who are exemplary in their philanthropic activities. For years, Stookey dedicated his only night off to hold monthly fundraising dinners for Boone County needs. Stookey not only donated his restaurant for fundraising events, but also purchased the food and supplies, supervised preparation, coordinated volunteer servers and donated all proceeds to the beneficiary charity.  Elmer Parks

When this fund was established, those involved wanted the Community Foundation of Boone County (CFBC) to continue his legacy by recognizing Boone County residents with a broad base of charitable activities. Each year, the Aaron Stookey Spirit of Philanthropy Award recognizes someone who has a broad base of charitable activities – someone who demonstrates a long-standing commitment to local charities, setting a positive example for others by their volunteerism, as well as, but not limited to, financial support.

Community residents submit nominations and the CFBC grants committee determines each year’s recipient, whose name is then added to a plaque hung in Stookey’s restaurant in Thorntown. The recipient then pays it forward by selecting a local nonprofit organization to receive a grant, from the Aaron Stookey Spirit of Philanthropy Award fund.

The 2023 recipient is the late Elmer Parks, who becomes the 18th recipient of this award. Parks was an active member of the New Hope Christian Church, the Lebanon Kiwanis Club, the Salvation Army, the Boone County Chamber of Commerce, the Boone County Mentoring Partnership, the Boone County Cancer Society, the Ulen Town Council, and many other local organizations.

As one nominator said, “Elmer spent countless hours leading others, counseling employees and friends in times of trouble, pain, and suffering, mentoring young people who just needed a friend, and giving generously in ways that made a difference in many lives. Elmer never pursued fame or notoriety but lived life joyously.”Elmer Parks

Parks’s family chose to award the $300 grant from the Aaron Stookey Spirit of Philanthropy Award fund to the Boone County Mentoring Partnership, in his honor. Parks left a legacy in Boone County that will never be forgotten.

“Thank you to the Community Foundation for letting his legacy live on and embodying what being a Boone County resident means,” says Craig Parks, son of Elmer Parks. “Thank you for spreading the worth, the wealth and the love, through this community we all love.”

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About the Community Foundation of Boone County

Since 1991, the Community Foundation of Boone County has granted more than $29 million from its various funds to nonprofit organizations and programs working to solve critical challenges in Boone County. Through the generosity of donors, the Community Foundation currently holds over $30 million in net assets. In the past 30-plus years, it has worked with donors to create permanent funds for charitable giving. The establishment and growth of permanent endowment funds will strengthen Boone County for generations to come.

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