Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.”
Velma and V.C. Knight succeeded. Velma Knight passed away in 1980 and her husband, V. C. (Cliff) in 2005, but in 2019 they made more than $40,000 in grants to eight programs helping our neighbors. Although the Knights came from humble backgrounds, they did well financially and helped hundreds of people in their lifetimes. However, in the years since their passing, they have helped tens of thousands.
After approximately $1 million of their private foundation assets were transferred to the Lenawee Community Foundation in 2008, they have awarded more than $406,000 in grants to assist Lenawee residents. Their dedication to help their fellow human beings is alive today because of the legacy they left. And, the exciting news is that because only the earnings are spent on grants, there is still over $1 million in their legacy fund.
The Knight legacy is carried out through a health and human services grants process at the Lenawee Community Foundation. Volunteers review hundreds of pages of grants applications each year and spend hours working to make good decisions and to honor the wishes and memory of V.C. and Velma Knight.
Grants from the Knight Memorial Fund have been awarded to nearly 30 different agencies including Adrian Rea Literacy Center, Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Program, City of Refuge Ministries, The Daily Bread, HOPE Community Center, Hospice of Lenawee, Lenawee County Health Department, and the Department on Aging.
Programs funded include veterans support, Thanksgiving & Christmas baskets, counseling services, preschool, Keep Lenawee Warm, literacy, disaster services, Child Advocacy Center, soup kitchen meals, food pantries, housing and utility assistance, smoke detectors, fresh food assistance, mediation, school supplies, substance abuse treatment, home repairs, clothing and household items, immunizations, community gardens, and more.
The $41,250 granted in 2019 will continue to provide for many critical needs here in Lenawee and serve as a wonderful tribute to the Knight Family, as they continue to help their fellow human beings – for good, forever!
Would you like to leave your legacy for our community? The Lenawee Community Foundation would love to assist you. Call us at (517) 423-1729 or email Suann Hammersmith to learn more.
Suann Hammersmith is the President & CEO of Lenawee Community Foundation.