Our History

For more than 15 years the Hamilton Southeastern Schools District operated the Dollars for Scholars program through Scholarship America.  In the late 1990’s many community leaders including Susan Dilley and Mike Peterson encouraged the district to consider enhancing the impact.  Together with Superintendent Dr. Concetta Raimondi this group formed the Hamilton Southeastern Foundation (HSEF) in July 2001.  The mission of the foundation was to not only continue the Dollars for Scholars program, but also to expand into other scholarships and teacher grants.

In 2000-2001 the district had a total of 8,771 students.  Today the work of the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation (HSSF) serves over 21,000 students and more than 900 teachers and faculty.  The Foundation is an active member of the Indiana Association of Education Foundations (INAPEF) and the National School Foundation Association (NSFA).

  • 2001    Assistant District Business Manager, Matt Ruess secures 501c(3) status.
  • 2002    The first dinner event is held with Senator Richard Lugar as speaker.
  • 2003    Lisa Allen is hired as the first Executive Director.
  • 2003    Peyton Manning speaks at the second annual Dinner Event.
  • 2003    The Foundation begins awarding teacher grants.
  • 2003    Dollar for Scholars officially absorbed by the Foundation.
  • 2005    Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation Endowment is established.
  • 2008    Geist Half Marathon launches and dedicates proceeds to the Foundation.
  • 2009    A new name is revealed: the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation (HSSF).
  • 2010    HSSF invests in a multi-year fitnessgram initiative.
  • 2012    The Foundation passes the $1 million milestone.
  • 2012    HSSF completes a new strategic plan – revises logo, mission and vision.
  • 2013    Dollars for Seniors is rebranded independent of Scholarship America. 
  • 2013-14    HSSF invests in HSE21 by awarding $20,000 for teacher development.
  • 2014    The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation Advisory Board is formed.
  • 2014    HSSF aids the district in securing over $180,000 STEM funding.
  • 2014    Freedom Kolb is hired as Executive Director.
  • 2014    HSSF launches new web site.
  • 2015    Foundation expands staff and adds Development Director.
  • 2016    Grow Club (monthly giving) and Time Capsule initiatives are launched.
  • 2017    Dollars for Seniors telethon program ends.
  • 2017    HSSF led the grant writing effort that led to Lilly Endowment grant for $2.1 million.
  • 2018    Justin Hirnisey is hired as Executive Director. Kristen Wolf joins staff as Program & Communications Manager.