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Luke Rowles, the new Program Officer, Donor Relations, and Communications Specialist for the Community Foundation of Randolph County poses at his desk. Rowles assumed the responsibilities of the position on August 30.

        Although he has only been here for a short time, Jay County native Luke Rowles has greatly enjoyed working with our community. Rowles grew up in nearby Portland, Indiana. He graduated from Jay County High School in 2015. Receiving Jay County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, he went to Wabash College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2019 with a liberal arts degree in social psychology and nonprofit business.

        “When I started at Wabash College, my intended major was Biochemistry for Pre-Med. I did well in those classes, but I could quickly tell that that wasn’t what I wanted to do,” said Rowles. “In college, I did a couple of internships, one with The Portland Foundation, and another with the Henry County Community Foundation. I really enjoyed those experiences; they where how I discovered my passion for non-profit work and community engagement,” he explained.

        After college, Rowles spent some time in other jobs. He worked as an insurance claims adjuster and a project manager for Kronos (now UKG). “I grew both personally and professionally from those positions, but I wasn’t feeling the same fulfillment I did with my non-profit internships,” he said.

         Rowles originally started with the Community Foundation of Randolph County as a part-time Communications Specialist through funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. GIFT VII Implementation Grant. He has since joined the team as their full-time Program Officer, carrying on his previous duties and Donor Relations. As Program Officer, Rowles is involved with the administration of grants and scholarships for the Foundation.

        Randolph County is now accepting grant applications for its 2021 Fall grant cycle. They are looking for programs that demonstrate innovation and creativity for new solutions to unresolved community needs. Those wishing to apply for a grant should contact Luke Rowles for more information by calling 765-584-9077 ext. 201 or via email at lrowles@randolphcountyfoundation.org. The application and additional information can be found at www.randolphcountyfoundation.org. Completed applications are due by 4:30 pm on September 30, 2021. The annual dinner announcing the recipients of these grants will take place on November 9, 2021. There will also be a special dinner in honor of the 10 finalists for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program on September 30, 2021.

        Luke moved to Winchester at the beginning of 2021. He was eager to get involved with the community. “I contacted Lisa Jennings and found out that a position was available,” said Rowles. The position involves a lot of things that he enjoys and draws from his skills and experiences. “I love working closely with the community and having a positive influence. I look forward to working with area schools and organizations,” he adds. “I am impressed with the way this organization affects so many different groups and people in the community,” he continues.

        Rowles is also heavily involved with the “Cultivating Community” program. In 2019, Randolph County United, in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Randolph County, enlisted the aid of Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute and came up with five focus areas; housing and blight, the drug epidemic, our education system, broadband infrastructure, and quality of life. Individuals or organizations with ideas for projects, or those who want to work on ongoing projects, are invited and welcomed to get involved. You can find that initiative on Facebook at Randolph County Cultivating Community or www.randolphcountycultivatingcommunity.com.

         Luke and his wife love spending time with their dogs; taking walks and hiking. Luke really enjoys golfing, and he’s grown quite fond of our local club. Rowles also likes to travel and try new foods/drinks, and he finds great joy in spending time (movies, board games, music) with family and friends. “Randolph County is a wonderful place. I look forward to serving and working with this community. There are lots of good people here.”

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