Teachers give back through scholarship fund


Giving back and helping ensure young people interested in being teachers have an opportunity to attend college explain why Joyce and John Stuckwisch created the Stuckwisch Educational Scholarship Fund in April 2006.

The fund, one of 67 scholarship funds administered by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, has a primary goal of providing scholarships to graduating seniors of Brownstown Central High School who are interested in pursuing a career in education. Both Joyce and John retired from Brownstown Central.

Since the fund’s inception, the couple has made a gift to the fund that matches what is paid out in scholarships each year, ensuring the fund has grown over the years. Since John’s death in January 2022, Joyce has continued that practice. They incorporated the use of their IRA distributions to power the fund’s growth and impact.

The Stuckwisches illustrate great dedication to the community work they started and follow some best practices, such as annual giving and giving to match the annual payout. Directing qualified charitable deductions from retirement funds is a great means of helping donors make a difference in our community. It is becoming a more common gift to the foundation.

Both John and Joyce taught at Brownstown Central High School. He taught math for 36 years, and she taught Spanish there for 28 years after first teaching for six years in Decatur County. Joyce is a graduate of Greensburg High School, and John graduated from what was then known as Brownstown High School.

“With the two of us, we saved our money wisely, and we both grew up in families that struggled financially at times,” Joyce said. “We felt we could help some people get out of life what they wanted by helping them go to college and also help out our schools.”

The love of their careers also helped lead them to create the scholarship fund.

“We both enjoyed teaching so much, we wanted to see that the students in Brownstown who were interested in teaching had the opportunity to go to college if they wanted to,” Joyce added about their decision.

Her advice for others considering how to help make a difference through their giving?

“Consider what you have and how you can help others,” Joyce said. “Grow it little by little.”

She’s right. That steady growth, collectively, adds up and makes a huge impact.

Whether you are interested in starting a scholarship fund, like John and Joyce, or perhaps a designated fund that might help a nonprofit organization that you support or maybe a community fund where the grant options are wide open, give us a call at the foundation.

We would be happy to arrange a time to talk, to learn more about how you want to help and the options available to help you do that wisely. Giving through your retirement distributions can be part of that conversation.

Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County. For information about donating to the foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to [email protected].

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