July 22, 2022 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has recently partnered with the Cedar Creek Women’s Club to create a legacy fund. After 67 years, the Cedar Creek Women’s Club dissolved on June 30, 2022. The existing Women’s Club members did not want their philanthropic work to stop with the ending of the club, which led them to set up a fund at the Community Foundation to support the history of the organization and continue their legacy.
During 67 years of operation, the Cedar Creek Women’s Club prioritized serving women and children in Allen County and donated to various organizations with the same mission. The Cedar Creek Women’s Club Designated Fund will support four organizations that support women and children in Allen County in perpetuity; Grabill Food Bank, Erin’s House for Grieving Children, Charis House, and Miss Virginia’s Food Bank.
“The reason we decided to create the Cedar Creek Women’s Club Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne was to leave a legacy that will continue to impact children and women for many years to come,” said Evelyn Brosch-Goodwin, Philanthropic Chairperson of the Cedar Creek Women’s Club. “The Cedar Creek Women’s Club name and impact will live on.”
In 1955, the Cedar Creek area did not have a facility to meet the needs of local teenagers. A few mothers began to meet to discuss the problem and eventually found a vacant farmhouse on the Robert and Helen Whearley farm located on Hursh Road. The women decided to turn one of the cattle barns into a teen canteen. After much work and paint, the cattle barn held the first teen dance on December 27, 1955 forming the teen canteen. Yearly attendance for the dance soon reached over 5,000 teens. The Cedar Creek Women’s Club was officially organized on January 18, 1956, and became a Federated Women’s Club in February of 1956.
Cedar Creek Women’s Club created a kindergarten for the Cedar Creek area. Over 250 children graduated from this program before it was incorporated into the local school system in 1965. The Women’s Club also held many fundraising dances for adults in the community before transitioning to the Christmas Walk in 1960 and continued this major fundraiser for about 30 years. Land for a new clubhouse was purchased in 1966 on Hosler Road, and the building was ready in 1968. The new clubhouse was used for club and community activities for many years. In 2001, the clubhouse was sold because they no longer needed a large facility. The Leo-Cedarville Park allowed the Women’s Club to use their pavilion, where the members remained very active until 2022.
The Cedar Creek Women’s Club was supported through fundraising. The Women’s Club used the money they raised for philanthropic endeavors within the Greater Fort Wayne area. Yearly scholarships were given to high school students, they held annual luncheons to support the Fort Wayne foster grandparent program, $50,000 was given to the Fort Wayne Zoo expansion, and thousands of dollars were given to many other charitable organizations in the community.
In addition to financial support, Cedar Creek Women’s Club members volunteered their time, such as organizing and staffing of the Parkview Regional Medical Center Gift Shop. Even while the gift shop was under construction, Women’s Club members helped price and stock the shelves. Upon opening, the Cedar Creek Women’s Club staffed the gift shop from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Other areas of Parkview Hospital volunteerism included the neonatal unit, where members would hold babies. They also staffed the book cart and volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana. The Women’s Club members also participated in the monthly distribution of popcorn bags to veterans and their families at the Veterans Hospital.
Cedar Creek Women’s Club had over 300 women in membership. Their history can be found in scrapbooks that now reside in the genealogy department of the Allen County Public Library.
“The Cedar Creek Women’s Club may be closing, but their legacy will live on forever,” said Alison Gerardot, Chief Impact Officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. “We are honored they have entrusted us to carry on their legacy and make an impact in the lives of women, children, and the most vulnerable in our community.”
During 2022 the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is celebrating 100 years of serving Allen County as a public charitable foundation. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne does three things: help people make their charitable giving more impactful, connect funding to nonprofits through effective grantmaking, and provide leadership to address community needs to improve quality of life. Every day we connect people and resources to build a more vibrant community. As of December 31, 2021, the Community Foundation held charitable assets of approximately $222 million and awarded more than $8.1 million in charitable grants and scholarships throughout the same year. Since its formation in 1922, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $175 million in charitable grants.
The Cedar Creek Women’s Club presented CFGFW with a check for $198,150 to start the Cedar Creek Women’s Club Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation.
Pictured Left to Right: Sarah Hunnefeld, Kiley Tate-Potts (CFGFW), Patt Sirk, Evelyn Brosch-Goodwin, Alison Gerardot (CFGFW), and Carol Burgess