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18 COVER STORY
Tony Ricci: Extending His Generosity to CCPL Foundation for 2020 This month’s cover story recognizes the amazing generosity of Tony Ricci, owner of Tony’s Steaks and Seafood. For the past year Tony’s has hosted a series of dining events with all the proceeds going to the CCPL Foundation. Ricci, has graciously agreed to extend that series to 2020. Ricci’s contributions to the CCPL Foundation is truly remarkable when you realize that Ricci does not live in Carmel nor is his restaurant in Carmel. His heartfelt passion for helping the CCPL Foundation comes from a lifelong appreciation he developed for libraries when, as a young immigrant, he discovered the wonders that a local library offered to him to improve his language skills so he could survive. Appearing with Tony Ricci on the cover photo is Elizabeth Hamilton, CCPL Foundation Executive Director. Cover Story Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photo // Laura Arick
Joyce Winner West Branch: A Lasting Tribute to a Lover of Life and Literacy
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Sweeney Todd: The Notorious Demon Barber Is Coming to Carmel
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14 The Palladium Presents: Chris Botti
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20 Progress Is Visible at the Proscenium 22 The Tradition of Excellence Continues at Carmel Education Foundation
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Additionally, the library is very excited about the state-of-the-art automated materials return handling system. There is a walk-up and drive-up materials return in the rear of the branch for additional convenience.
A Tribute to a Beloved Lady
Joyce Winner Wes t B ra n c h :
A Lasting Tribute to a Lover of Life and Literacy Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CCPL and Jim Winner
he Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) held the grand opening of its new branch, the Joyce Winner West Branch, earlier this month in the Village of WestClay. The 5,000-square-foot branch was named in honor of the late Joyce Winner—wife of Carmel resident Jim Winner—who passed away last year. Winner was a beloved friend to many, an avid reader, a passionate advocate for early literacy and a longtime CCPL Foundation Guild member.
Joyce Winner West Branch Offers Convenience and Amenities The building itself boasts incredible light and remarkable views of the town square. The location also provides excel-
lent walkability and is a short bike ride or car ride from any of the surrounding neighborhoods. The spaces within the branch offer places to work or study or enjoy a good read from any of the robust collections available at the branch. And if you wish to have an item brought over from the main branch—no worries—the library will have its courier service bring it right over. Cardholders can order things in and return items from either location. The Conservatory in the Joyce Winner West Branch will be used for programming and offers a beautiful place for reading and respite. The branch’s meeting room is designed to seat six and is an ideal space for small groups to meet.
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Christy Walker, CCPL communications manager, spoke with us briefly about the library’s namesake. “When Joyce became a part of our [Carmel] community, the library became an important part of her life because it was one of the things that she was interested in and passionate about,” Walker said. “I think her activity with the guild and the fact that she and Jim [Winner] were inspired to get the Centennial Society up and running with their generous support is why—when circumstances took the turn that they did [regarding Joyce’s health]—Jim, recognizing how important the library was to Joyce, was inspired to give another generous gift to the library in Joyce’s honor and in her memory.” The CCPL Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Hamilton added, “Joyce wanted to embrace and adopt the children of the world, and the way that she found to do that was through the library and through literacy. It was very natural for her to be involved at our library because of the depth of our children’s programming, and she loved that. Joyce was one of those people that had that unique gift and was always looking for a way to make others feel special.”
A Dedicated Friend, Volunteer and Spouse The Winners moved to the Village of WestClay in 2006. They have been active community members and volunteers and became extended family to their neighbors over the years. When the Winners learned that a branch was coming to their neck of the woods, both were elated. “I suppose we found out the West Branch was coming to [WestClay] a few years ago,” Jim Winner said. “We wanted to support the West Branch, so we arranged to give a monetary contribution and the library would name a [children’s] reading room after Joyce. Then last
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spring, when we found out [Joyce] was terminal, I thought what better way to honor her life than to have the library named after her. So, I met with Liz [Hamilton] and proposed what I’d like to do. The board approved, and here we are.” I asked if Joyce knew that the branch would be named after her before she left us, and her husband replied, “I told her, but by that time, she was pretty ill. So, I
don’t know if she realized the impact. I do know that she was thrilled that a branch of the library was coming to WestClay. How many neighborhoods that you know of have a branch of the library in the middle of town square?” Winner continued, “Joyce was a voracious reader. We would go to Florida for the winter and she would read 40 books. The library down there would call us and
say, ‘Hey, there’s sand in this book.’ We’d take our books to the beach and read them. Aside from me, her three main loves were her faith, the library and she loved kids. She was heavily invested in the kids and young families in the Village [of WestClay]. Joyce was the most selfless person I’ve ever met. She wasn’t caught up in consumerism, and she didn’t care about the Joneses, and she didn’t need to keep up with them. Joyce was very comfortable in the person that she was. She was so much fun to be with, and she was very giving, kind and honest.” Winner paused then concluded, “If I could only say one thing about Joyce, it would be that she never quit loving. She was what I call a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If you called her at 3 a.m. and needed her to jump in the foxhole with you, she’d be right there. She was that kind of person. We lost a good one when we lost her.” For more information and hours of operation, visit carmel.lib.in.us.
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We are all proud to recognize a special volunteer with the Carmel Clay Public Library. Hadley Moore grew up in Carmel and graduated from Carmel High School. Hadley later graduated from Purdue University, taught English and is currently the Dean of Students at Hamilton Southeastern High School. Most recently, Hadley helped form the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation Young Professionals Group. Through the great work of Library Foundation, the Guild, Friends and now Young Professionals, patrons have been able to enjoy many library programs over the years free of charge. Hadley and others work to attract young professionals to library “life” and engage budding young philanthropists. Despite her demanding career she invests many hours in our library including the planning of the Library after Dark event. It is a terrific party with food, drink and games(and a great fundraiser). Check it out at carmel.lib.in.us/foundation and come and meet a wonderful volunteer, Hadley Moore.
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5 STAR LOCAL BUSINESS DESIGNATION As a service to our readers, Carmel Monthly and Zionsville Monthly are launching the “5 Star Local Business” designation in January of 2020. By using a 5 Star Local Business, you know you are dealing with a high-quality business that has operated locally for at least 5 years and is committed to giving back to their community.
WE DO THE RESEARCH, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO! WHAT THE 5 STARS MEAN Businesses have satisfied the following criteria: Passed a Through Criminal and Civil Judgements Background Check Conducted by an Independent Investigating Agency Minimum of five years in business locally Proven Commitment to Local Community Involvement Good standing with BBB Review Google/Angie list ratings of 4 Stars + You will begin to see the 5 Star Local Business label on some print ads and there will be a special 5 Star Local Business Directory on our websites devoted just to those qualifying businesses for your easy reference For more info on the criteria we use to qualify businesses go to: carmelmonthlymagazine.com/5-star-local-business-indiana
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The Notorious Demon Barber Is Coming to Carmel Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CSO, ATI and Theresa Skutt
You will not want to miss the first-ever collaborative concert production by Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI): “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” coming to life on the stage of the Palladium February 21 and 22, 2020.
he Original Production An award-winning musical, “Sweeney Todd” has music and lyrics written by one of the most renowned and respected figures in 20th-century musical theater—Stephen Sondheim. The musical thriller first opened on Broadway in 1979 and won eight Tony Awards, Best Musical being one of them, when it first premiered. “Sweeney Todd” has won numerous awards over the decades and continues to entrance, amuse and awe its audiences the world over.
The Plot Set in Victorian London, Sweeney Todd is an unjustly exiled barber who returns to London years later to seek revenge on the judge who framed him and on those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family. He opens a barber shop connected to Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie shop and initiates his crime rampage. Audiences are sure to be immersed in a rich, demented and beautiful acoustic and visual experience created by the talented musicians and actors from CSO and ATI.
Premiering at the Palladium We spoke with CSO’s music director Janna Hymes and Don Farrell, ATI’s artistic director and co-founder, about what makes their production of “Sweeney Todd” at the Palladium unique, aside from the collaboration of two resident companies of The Center for the Performing Arts. “I saw ‘Sweeney Todd’ with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou when I was a young girl in NYC,” Hymes shared. “I was so moved by the beauty of some of the music, and [Lansbury] was so expert
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in that role. It was incredible, and [the musical] has remained my favorite show ever since. It has everything in it: drama, music, visuals, humor and passion. It’s all there in a way that totally hits my heart.” Farrell added, “That lush score! I remember the first time I ever heard the original cast recording with Cariou and Lansbury. I also saw the video that was done for PBS with Lansbury and George Hearn. The first time I got to experience it live was in 1989 in NYC, and I saw the production with Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler. I was blown away. The score is so inventive, and it’s so cool to see a musical thriller go so mainstream the way that it has. It’s probably one of the greatest musicals [Sondheim’s] ever written. For us and our audiences to hear the full score in orchestration—the way it was intended in the original production—is so rare because it is so expensive to present. And for it to be done at the Palladium, which is acoustically perfect, will be great, so we’re really excited about it.” According to Hymes, the staging will be unique as well and will give the audi-
ences a “complete theatrical experience.” The two companies will be utilizing the stage in the Palladium in ways that have not been executed before but will showcase the hall’s highly touted acoustic perfection while demonstrating the masterful skills of both resident companies simultaneously. “This [‘Sweeney Todd’] will be a very full show, and people will not leave
‘wanting,’” Hymes said. “It will be a complete theatrical experience, and I think that it’s going to be really spectacular. This [production] is quite unusual to what [CSO and ATI] normally do, so fans of both should come because it is going to be exciting. People who love theater and/or the Palladium itself should come because this will be more than just entertainment, and when you experience something that really moves you—that is when great art is made, and I think this show will do just that.” Tickets are available now at the Center for the Performing Arts box office at thecenterpresents.org, through ATI at atistage.org and the CSO’s website at carmelsymphony.org.
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THE PALLADIUM PRESENTS
CHRIS BOTTI Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of The Center for the Performing Arts
TRUMPETER CHRIS BOTTI’S BLEND OF JAZZ, CLASSICAL AND POP MUSIC HAS MADE HIM ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST-SELLING INSTRUMENTAL ARTISTS WITH FOUR ALBUMS REACHING NO. 1 ON THE JAZZ CHARTS. HIS MOST RECENT RELEASE, “IMPRESSIONS,” CLAIMED A GRAMMY AWARD FOR BEST POP INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM AND FEATURED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SUCH PROMINENT GUEST ARTISTS AS ANDREA BOCELLI, VINCE GILL, HERBIE HANCOCK AND MARK KNOPFLER. THIS SHOW WILL SELL OUT, SO VISIT THECENTERPRESENTS.ORG BEFORE TICKETS HAVE COMPLETELY SOLD OUT. We are excited to welcome you back to the Palladium! What did you enjoy most about performing here? I believe I played at the opening gala when it [the Palladium] first opened, and to the best of my recollection, I referred to it as the other Carnegie Hall—it is so very striking and beautiful. A lot of times, new venues don’t sound as good as old ones, but [the Palladium] sounds great, so congratulations to Carmel.
For those who may not know, I thought it was cool to mention that you attended and graduated from Indiana University and studied under the legendary William “Bill” Adam and David Baker. How did your college career set you up for your professional career? When I look back at my college career in music, there are three things that contributed to my [professional career]. First and foremost was the [college] curriculum and the professors. I was so fortunate to study with Bill Adam and Dave Baker. Then the second was my classmates, especially when you’re coming up in music. You want to be around like-minded people who eventually go on to do incredible things. Then the final thing that I think separates the IU School of Music in so many ways from other schools like Juilliard and Berkeley is that Bloomington is a culturally diverse city that nurtures and respects the process of being a musician. Bloomington
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doesn’t have all the trappings of trying to get around a big city [like NYC], where you’re staying out late and rushing into the wrong things. I’m glad I didn’t move to NYC when I was 20 but waited until I was old enough that I could handle it because sometimes it swallows people up.
When did you realize your passion for the trumpet? I read somewhere that you got a “spark” watching Doc Severinsen on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. My mom was a classical pianist and wanted me to play piano, and so the original spark was I didn’t really want to play piano. [Laughing] I turned on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. At the time—in the ’70s—there were three really famous people on TV: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen. I was really taken in by his personality and incredible trumpet playing, so that’s what initially got me to pick up the trumpet in the third grade. By fifth grade, I was already pretty passionate about the trumpet, but when I was 12 years old, I heard a Miles Davis album, and that’s when it “clicked.” I remember telling my mom that I was going to be a trumpet player or fail trying. I knew then that music would be my life’s work early on [in life], and that’s not an uncommon thing for a lot of musicians. You just somehow instinctively know. You’ve played with so many iconic artists including Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock, Lady Gaga, Sting and Sinatra. What’s the one commonality they have that resonates with you? I’ve been talking a little bit about that onstage lately. I look back at the artists that I was drawn to and spent time with, like Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Sting, etc., and I think those artists are radically different from one another and yet the similarities are pretty profound in the sense that they really value the musicians that they are on stage with. Back in the day, Sinatra would come out and acknowledge the orchestra and the musicians. It’s a very old-school way of running a band and being a band leader, and I learned a lot from being around those people. I remember Sting telling me, “The brighter your star shines, Chris, the happier I will be.” I try to pass that on to my band. I want a band that can swagger all over the stage—musi-
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cally—because it will make the show more memorable for the audience, and that’s what you want.
Knowing that we are the last generations that can say they saw, knew or performed with Frank Sinatra, how does your time performing and knowing Sinatra affect how you lead your band and show today? I remember my first day with Sinatra—I’d just graduated IU and went on the road and out walks Sinatra. Not only did he acknowledge the band and expect that kind of swagger from the band, but he also acknowledged the audience. I also became friends with Don Rickles, and though it was his job to interact with the audience, people like Don and Sinatra had this ability to bring the show to the audience and make it conversational. I am so happy that I came up [in the industry] when I did. It impacts the way I run my band and show, and I hope that people remember my show based on those old-school techniques. Your fans who have seen you live and in color already know what kind of incredible and unforgettable show to expect when you come to Carmel next month, but for those who are not as
familiar with your show, what can they expect to see and hear from you? The question you’re asking me, in one framework or another, is the most difficult thing for me to answer and yet is the single most powerful thing that fuels my career. Let me give you an example: I’ve invited friends of mine to one of my shows in L.A. or somewhere that have not seen me play before and they’ve sheepishly asked, “So, Chris, is it just you on stage with a trumpet?” It’s hard for me to put a banner up and say, trust me when I tell you that you won’t see a better collection of an allstar band with a pianist, violinist, two singers, drummer and guitarist. How is the show different from your albums? It is a full-on all-star show that is completely different from my records, which are meant to be emotional or romantic. When we come and play a live show, it’s muscular when it needs to be and shows off all the chops. It has a “wow” factor, and so I guess what I’m getting at is trust me, you won’t see anything like this out there touring, and it’s hard for me to say that without sounding like a pompous a******. This show truly is a collection of musical all-stars, and it’s very gratifying [for all of us] when people come to see us perform.
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also with their overall presentation and knowledge of the courses’ and wines’ origins without overindulging on the pomp and pretention. Every pairing at these events for CCPL Foundation has been a perfect marriage between the wines and the courses, and nothing has been served in duplication. Each experience has truly been first-class.
A Faithful Promise
Extending His Generosity to CCPL Foundation for 2020 Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick
hroughout 2019, you may have read our articles on a unique collaboration between Tony’s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis, Carmel Travel Company and Carmel Monthly that has benefitted the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation (CCPL Foundation).
Wining and Dining for Literacy Tony Ricci, proprietor of Tony’s, and his outstanding staff have been hosting a themed wine pairing dinner at their gorgeous downtown Indianapolis location for 24 people—once a quarter—with the sole purpose of supporting the digest of 1,500 free children’s programs that are offered by the Carmel Clay Public Library, which the CCPL Foundation supports. The previous events of this quarterly series were sellouts and astounding successes for the CCPL Foundation. To say that Ricci has been generous with these wonderful dinners is a gross understatement. He has donated all the cost, including food, wine and venue, so
that the CCPL Foundation retains the entire $175 per person ticket price. Ricci and the CCPL Foundation have recently announced that Tony’s will be donating another round of pairing dinners—one for each upcoming quarter—to the CCPL Foundation for 2020. The CCPL Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Hamilton estimates that the total to be received by the Foundation through this series will be upwards of $33,000. Owner Tony Ricci and his remarkable staff at Tony’s have been showcasing their best culinary skills and superb hospitality to the attendees, comprised of CCPL Foundation board members and other supporters of CCPL Foundation and the library in general. Assisting Ricci at these events is the general manager at Tony’s of Indianapolis, Michael Morgan, who is as much a showman as he is an impressive host. Ricci, Morgan and Corporate Chef de Cuisine Ryan Montgomery have been wowing the attendees of these events with the exquisite food and wine pairings but
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Ricci shared with us that his family moved from Italy to Toronto, Canada, and from Toronto to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the ’70s. As a young immigrant who did not speak English, Ricci did not have access to the types of support systems that exist today, which is why he passionately supports institutions such as libraries. “I had to use a library in order to learn English,” Ricci said. “I had to be in the library and study longer than my friends because I didn’t understand the language. There was a library right across from my school, and I spent a great amount of time there throughout my youth.” In May 2010, Tony’s of Cincinnati opened after a long and arduous journey for Ricci. His passion, faith and perseverance, along with the support of his wife, family and friends who believed in his vision, have led him to own and operate three locations: Tony’s of Cincinnati, Tony’s of Lexington and Tony’s of Indianapolis, which opened in 2018. Ricci shared, “When I opened [Tony’s] Cincinnati, 10 years ago, I didn’t have payroll for that first week. I went into my Catholic church and I looked at the guy on the cross and said, ‘OK, you know what I promised you,’ and I’ve never thought about cash flow ever again. I promised Him that I would give back, and aside from the feeling that giving back gives me, that is the reason why I do it. To me, the library is going to help a young child or person out there who’s struggling. A child who is going to the library to study and focus more so that he/she can bring up their grades and get into the college that they want. That was me. If I can help in raising money and awareness, then that is the reason why I do it. I don’t do it for any other reason.”
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Providing Opportunities Carmel Clay Public Library’s digest of expansive programs includes 2,200-plus free programs in total for library members of all ages. Elizabeth Hamilton, CCPL Foundation director, said, “I think what’s been most exciting to me is that Tony has afforded us [the CCPL Foundation] an opportunity to bring lovers of literacy together to support the library and the free programming that we offer to our community in a very unique way that’s out of the box. Tony’s willingness and generosity comes from his love of libraries. The money that has and will be raised through these dinners is going toward our children’s programs and will help us continue to offer over 1,500 free programs to children and to support early literacy in our community. To me, that’s unbelievable.” Hamilton continued, “For each dinner we’ve had 24 people, and he [Tony] has allowed us to offer this experience to nearly 100 people—to date—who love literacy and love what the library does in our com-
munity. For us to give back while spending an evening with each other and enjoy not only an amazing meal and amazing wines but interacting with each other on a very unique level—that’s something we’ve been able to do thanks to Tony and his staff. It is super generous and so incredible.” When asked what it means to Ricci to be able to help support CCPL’s children’s programs and early literacy, Ricci said, “What it means to me is that children and adults of all ages have an opportunity to better themselves. Being from Italy, this is one of the greatest countries in the world that provides opportunities for those who might be a little behind get to
the other side of the eight ball. Helping to create those opportunities is what it’s all about for me.” To request more information and/or to reserve your seats for the next Tasting at Tony’s of Indianapolis Benefiting the CCPL Foundation on January 29, 2020, at 6:30 p.m., please email Elizabeth Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $175 per person and include a themed dinner and selected wine pairings in one of Tony’s private dining rooms. For more information about or to make reservations to dine with your family or friends at Tony’s at Indianapolis, visit tonysofindianapolis.com.
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Progress Is Visible at Proscenium Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of City of Carmel and Laura Arick
The progress that Proscenium boasts from the corners of Range Line Road and Carmel Drive is visually impressive as one drives, walks or bicycles past the site. Construction began in October of 2018, and now many residents and locals are aware of the mixed-use development that sits on nearly seven acres and will serve as a “gateway entrance to downtown Carmel.”
he First Settlers at Proscenium Proscenium—a Novo Development Group project—is a unique Carmel community that combines the ease of upscale living with the luxury of retail shops and dining. It features a four-acre community centered around 1.8 acres of landscaped green space and 20,000 square feet of retail space. Last year, the city announced that three central Indiana companies— Schwarz Partners, Valeo Financial Advisors and Lauth Group, Inc.—are
relocating their corporate headquarters to the Agora at Proscenium, located at 10 West Carmel Drive in Carmel, Indiana. The four-story, 100,000-square-foot office building is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion this summer. The office is being developed by Lauth Group, Inc. Schwarz Partners will relocate approximately 70 employees from their Indianapolis-based headquarters at Woodview Trace to the third floor of the Agora, occupying approximately 25,000 square feet. Schwarz is a privately held,
second-generation company with multiple locations across the United States. Carmel-based Lauth Group, Inc. will relocate its headquarters from its current location to the second floor of the Agora. Additionally, Valeo Financial Advisors will relocate their office operations from 9450 North Meridian Street and will occupy the 25,000-square-foot fourth floor. The move will involve nearly 70 employees. Henry Mestetsky, executive director at Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC), shared, “Proscenium combines the
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best of a high-amenity, mixedused destination for residents and visitors and a strong addition to Carmel’s tax base to continue building on the City’s secure fiscal position for the next hundred years. It’s exciting driving eastbound on Carmel Drive towards Range Line Road and seeing the five-story corporate headquarter building rising up in the foreground, serving as a welcome beacon to Carmel’s central core. Steel is up on two other buildings, and I expect all six buildings to be either open or under construction by the end of 2020.” Living the Life at Proscenium Proscenium’s residential component will offer the option to lease or buy within the development and is already an area of high interest as reservations are being placed for both the condominiums and apartments that are under construction. REV at Proscenium is a one of a kind, 26-unit condominium community opening in fall of 2020. This all- encompassing luxury development combines the ease of upscale living with the convenience of retail shops and dining all within mere steps of your front door. The design package includes: several floor plans, state-of-the-art gourmet kitchens, private garage, fitness center, secured bike storage, resort- style swimming pool with fire pit, walkability to on-site retail shops and dining that are slated to come in and so much more. VER at Proscenium will offer 224 units for lease with a variety of floor plans and will offer its tenants a business center, fitness center and
bicycle storage along with the walkability factor and convenient location as will the condominiums within the Proscenium. Visit liveproscenium.com/residential/ for more information. Regionally and Nationally Acclaimed Tenants Carmel residents and locals can also anticipate the grand openings of two new dining and brewery establishments. The county’s second 101 Beer Kitchen location is coming to Proscenium, and in anticipation of a summer of 2020 opening, Indiana’s first Wahlburgers restaurant will also be located at Proscenium. The proprietors of 101 Beer Kitchen, Thad and Jess Kittrell, opened their very first 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin, Ohio, in 2012. Chef Thad Kittrell and his culinary team feature a menu that offers “rustic” offerings made with fresh and local, when possible, ingredients and craft beer. The pair has two other locations in Ohio and one in Fishers, Indiana. Founded in 2011 by the famous actor/singer brothers— Mark and Donnie Wahlberg— and their chef brother Paul, Wahlburgers has 26 locations throughout the U.S., including Cincinnati, Ohio. The original Wahlburgers opened in Boston, Massachusetts, and is the focus of an A&E TV series. The menu includes specialty burgers, sandwiches, salads, house-made condiments, frappes, vegetarian options, ice cream floats and more. Look for continued updates from Carmel Monthly as more information becomes available and grand openings are scheduled for 2020.
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The Tradition of Excellence Continues
at Carmel Education Foundation Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of CEF
The torch has officially been passed to a new executive director at Carmel Education Foundation (CEF) this month. Retired co-executive directors Barbara Danquist and Stephanie McDonald led CEF for seven years, strengthening the organization— internally and externally—increasing awareness of not only its purpose but the impact that CEF has on the Carmel community as a whole. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CARMEL EDUCATION FOUNDATION? CEF is one of the oldest foundations of its kind. It was established in 1966 and has awarded over $2,000,000 in college scholarships to Carmel High School (CHS) seniors and over $525,000 in education grants to increase student achievement for all 16,000 Carmel Clay School (CCS) students. The CEF Board of Directors funds education grants to teachers and awards more than 100 college scholarships every school year. CEF also contributes to the strengthening of community ties between the school district and the community at large by hosting a number of events throughout the year that are supported
by individuals, families and businesses in Carmel. The annual Ghosts and Goblins 5K/2K is a popular tradition that fundraises for CEF in addition to its annual Showcase and Telethon events. LEAVING A LEGACY Danquist and McDonald shared their parting thoughts about what the support from the CCS district, CEF board and volunteers and the community members has meant to them over the years. “We [Stephanie and I] are so proud of what we’ve done, and we did it with such love for the people that we’ve raised funds for in the school district,” Danquist shared. “But it was time to hand it [CEF] over to a new person [Penix] and let her continue to grow it.” McDonald added, “A great part of the joy of this job was the two of us working together. Barb and I served on the [CEF] board, and when I look back over the seven years, to have worked with this woman—so closely—there obviously had to be something very special about Barb for
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us to be able to do that. Another great joy has been watching what we have done and sharing it with one another. That’s been very important. We didn’t do any of it for applause. We did all of these things over these years to make a difference in the classrooms.” Both Danquist and McDonald expressed their gratitude to all of their supporters, including the business community. “When we took this job on, the foundation was not well known in the community,” Danquist said. “We’ve been very pleased with the response that we’ve had from families, individuals, sponsors and community leaders throughout the community that have willingly been a part of the events, have donated time or money and have helped us achieve our goals. We have enjoyed being embraced by the businesses because we were schoolteachers and we came from a completely different background.” McDonald added, “And we are grateful to community leaders like Jeff Worrell
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who’s been more than willing to help us with anything we’ve asked him to do. He’s just one example of the many people who have embraced the foundation and supported us, and that [support] has been huge.” INTRODUCING THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The CEF Board of Directors named Jennifer Penix as incoming executive director last October, and Penix became active in her role on January 2 of this year. Just as her predecessors have done, Penix will work closely with CCS administrators to maximize the positive influence that the CEF has at all 15 schools. Penix previously served as the development and special events manager for Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. She has also been a dedicated volunteer in the Carmel community and has extensive board leadership and nonprofit
experience, having served on local boards and committees including CEF. Her work to transform the Taste of Carmel into a wildly popular and successful annual event that raises funds for Orchard Park Elementary is one of her most notable accomplishments on her nonprofit resume. “My goal is finding ways that we can harness some of the power within the community that exists and focus on education,” Penix said. “I’d like to bring in a business that might want to fund a particular grant or bring in a program for students that is geared towards workforce development or that fills a gap that the district doesn’t currently provide. We’re going to look at ways to bridge the community and the school system even greater and continue to let people know that foundation exists and what it does.” When asked what she’ll take from McDonald and Danquist, Penix shared,
“They have built the foundation to be such a positive partner with the schools, and they have been such great advocates for teachers—truly our champions for the educators and students. They have incredible passion that has driven everything they’ve done. It’s going to be hard to follow in their footsteps, but I’m really grateful that they’ve elevated the foundation to the level that it is. We can only continue to build upon that.”
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Tony Ricci: Extending His Generosity to CCPL Foundation for 2020 This month’s cover story recognizes the amazing generosity of Tony Ricci, o...
Published on Jan 20, 2020
Tony Ricci: Extending His Generosity to CCPL Foundation for 2020 This month’s cover story recognizes the amazing generosity of Tony Ricci, o...