Building together, a recap of the Festival of Philanthropy

Tom Kilianby Tom Kilian Jr.
President of Hamilton County Community Foundation

The Festival of Philanthropy—presented by the Samerian Foundation—rounded out National Philanthropy Day with an evening of food, friends and fun. The Ritz Charles in Carmel served as the perfect stage for showcasing Hamilton County not-for-profits. While guests hopped from booth to booth to learn about these transformative changes, local music and food stations created a true festival feel.

With unique food stations serving upscale festival eats, Russell Bush and Eric Maitlen from My Yellow Rickshaw pumping tunes, specialty caramel apple cocktails and fishbowl centerpieces, a strong sense of community amplified comfort, appreciation and hope throughout the venue—and all of Hamilton County. With this festival backdrop, the highlight of the night was the Pillar Awards.

Hamilton County Community Foundation awarded three $5,000 grants to the organizations that received the most votes from guests. Throughout the evening, attendees cast their votes for their favorite participating organization. These grants were made possible by the generous Festival Pillar sponsors—Ivy Tech Community College of Hamilton County, United Way of Central Indiana and Aspire Indiana Health.

THE Pillar Award winners

Agape Therapeutic Riding cultivates personal growth by strengthening the mind, body, and spirit through unique horse-assisted experiences. In 2021, Agape served 1,369 individuals through 6,928 lessons.

Brooke’s Place provides support groups, therapy services and education to empower children, teens young adults and their families to thrive in the midst of grief. One in seven children will experience the death of a parent, sibling or close loved one by age 20. In 2021, 2,708 individuals received grief support and education through Brooke’s Place.

Fueled for School works to eliminate hunger among Hamilton County students by providing youth who are food-insecure with nutritious meal packs, promoting the educational value of nutrition, increasing access to local food and instilling hope. Last year, Fueled for School provided 350 students with meal packs for the entire school year. Additionally, they provided 40-pound holiday break boxes with meals during spring, fall and winter breaks.

Thank you to those who joined us for this truly awesome evening. I enjoyed learning about the many, many ways our Hamilton County communities continue to come together to innovate and create equitable opportunity for all. Thank you for all that you do to advance this important work. There’s still so much more to do, and I am inspired more than ever that we are up to the task.


Interested in getting involved with Hamilton County Community Foundation and the philanthropic vision of advancing the quality of life for all in Hamilton County?

Contact Tammy Hall, office manager, at or call 317.843.2479.

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