Good Samaritan Endowment

October 22, 2021 / 5 mins read

Established by sisters Lora Ogden and Cindy Zehr in 2003, the Good Samaritan Endowment provides financial assistance in support of worthy and needy children and adults residing in Wabash County who have a need of financial assistance as a result of injury, disease, or medical condition.

Good Samaritan Endowment - Helping Wabash County Citizens in Need

Many know the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan, found in the Bible in the Gospel of Luke. A Jewish traveler is stripped of his possessions by robbers and is beaten and left half dead alongside a road. A Jewish priest and Levite come by, but wary of the man, refuse to help him. Finally, a Samaritan stops alongside the traveler and helps the injured man. This act of kindness is significant, as Samaritans and Jews at the time held deep-seated resentment toward one another.

The compassion and selfless act of kindness found in the story of the Good Samaritan is likewise found in the Good Samaritan Endowment at the Community Foundation. This endowment was created by sisters Cindy Zehr and Lora Ogden in 2003, who wanted to provide for Wabash County citizens struggling to pay for medical expenses in addition to essential bills, such as rent and utility. The sisters established the endowment in memory of their grandfather Russel Kerlin, to remember and continue his generosity, benevolence, and compassion to others. Zehr and Ogden recall their grandfather always giving selflessly to others, including the time he gave his coat to his roommate who needed one or by arranging for shoes to be provided to children who had none. The sisters also remember that a woman once approached Kerlin with money as a gesture of gratitude for the shoes he had provided her when she was a child.

Today, the Good Samaritan endowment has continued the spirit of Russel Kerlin, by awarding over 470 grants, totaling $235,000, in support of individuals and families in need, due to short-term financial distress caused by injury, disease, or other medical conditions. From assisting individuals with home repair needs and utility bills, to providing funds to a family faced with cancer, diabetes, and a crumbling ceiling, the financial support is met with gratitude and appreciation. One recipient wrote, “Thank you so much for everything you have helped me with. I greatly appreciate the support!”​

Since the Good Samaritan fund is endowed, the value of the endowment continues to grow over time. As the endowment grows, the amount that can be awarded annually ​grows as well, and is able to provide support to more Wabash County citizens. Individuals in need of assistance must find a nonprofit sponsor, such as a township Trustee, WAMA, REACH, church, social service organization, or public assistance agency. Each household is eligible for up to $1,000 in support in a 12-month period.

If you would like to make a donation to the Good Samaritan Endowment, so that more Wabash County friends and neighbors can be financially supported through times of medical crisis, please click the Donate Now button.