Alexa Porter named Lilly Endowment Scholar

Alexa Porter named Lilly Endowment Scholar

CHS senior earns full-ride scholarship from Lilly Endowment

Carrying a bundle of congratulatory balloons, a group of well-wishers made their way down the hallway of Concord High School toward the gymnasium on Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The group included representatives from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Concord administrators, and a crew of family and friends eagerly awaiting the opportunity to surprise a very special student.

Alexa Porter, a Concord High School senior, learned she’d been selected as one of three scholarship recipients during basketball practice on Wednesday afternoon. The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship offers recipients a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the accredited public or private college or university in Indiana of their choice, along with an annual $900 stipend for books and required equipment.

After receiving hugs from teammates, family, and friends, Porter graciously thanked the Community Foundation of Elkhart County for their support.

“Right now, I think that I’m going to go to Trine (University) because I want to continue playing basketball,” she said, noting that athletic scholarships are not available at Trine. “I want to go into elementary education and Trine has a really good education program there.”


Three students from Elkhart County will receive Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships (LECS) entitling them to full tuition, fees and $900 a year for required books and equipment to any accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana. The selected students are: Lisa Hochstetler, Northridge; Claire Mumaw, Fairfield; and Alexa Porter, Concord.

In addition, the Community Foundation is also proud to award the Guy David Gundlach Memorial Scholarship to the following six students: Danyelle Adams, Jimtown; Margot Cruz-Portillo, Elkhart Memorial; Melissa Daniels, Goshen; Claire Hershberger, Clinton Christian; Jaycee Rossi, Elkhart Central; Otto Schlatter, NorthWood. Each of these students will receive $5,000 per year for four years to any accredited Indiana college or university.  This memorial scholarship is only one of the many positive initiatives established due to Mr. Gundlach’s gift in 2011. Since the inception of the scholarship, 37 Elkhart County students have received this $20,000 award. 

Commenting on the awards, Community Foundation Career Pathways Chair, Rob Cripe, noted that the Community Foundation administers over 100 scholarship funds. “In fiscal year 2018, the awards totaled more than $2.3 million benefiting hundreds of students from Elkhart County who are currently pursuing higher education. These scholarships make a considerable impact, not only in the lives of these students and their families, but also on the educational and economic future of our county.”


Each of the eligible high schools in Elkhart County selects one nominee evaluated based on academic performance (including grades and course load), extra-curricular and civic involvement, work experience, career goals, unusual circumstances, interview and an essay.

“After the Community Foundation scholarship committee received the nominee applications, names were removed from the application and the applications were scored (excluding the essays) by the Community Foundation Career Pathways Committee and staff,” Amanda Jamison, Community Foundation Senior Program Officer, explains. “The ‘blind’ essays were then scored by Goshen College professors, the scores tallied and the field narrowed to the top five nominees. The finalists’ names were submitted to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for final review and selection of the final three recipients.” ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.


The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a Bachelor’s degree. The program, now in its 22nd year, has awarded 85 LECS to students in Elkhart County and 4,626 state-wide, thus far providing more than $392 million dollars in tuition scholarships since inception.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.