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Community fund created for beautification of Tryon and Landrum

From her home on Mockingbird Hill, Mary Kessler enjoyed a unique view of Landrum and Tryon.

A portrait of Mary Kessler as a child. (photo submitted)

Her connection to both communities will be remembered through a endowment fund created at the Polk County Community Foundation.
Kessler’s will directed the community foundation to establish The Mary F. Kessler Fund to be used exclusively for projects, programs and facilities contributing to the physical and scenic improvement, development or beautification of the towns of Landrum and Tryon, and the cultural, intellectual and educational development of its citizens. Grants will be awarded equally between the two towns over time.
Kessler funds became available in September 2010 and have already funded grants that matched the donor’s criteria. The city of Landrum has received grants to begin restoration of its historic railroad depot, which played a major role in the founding of the town in 1880. The Town of Tryon and the Tryon Downtown Development Association were awarded a grant to make safety and appearance improvements to the intersection of New Market and South Trade Streets.
O.P. Earle Elementary School in Landrum received a grant to pilot its “Community Arts Evenings” project, which has involved local artists in the arts education of its students and the public.
The Kessler Fund is a permanent endowment fund, which will contribute a percentage of its assets each year for grantmaking to eligible Landrum and Tryon projects that match the funding criteria. Grant recommendations will be made by a foundation grants committee based on written applications, interviews and a voting system.
The Community Foundation makes grants to non-profit organizations throughout the Polk County area and also has the capacity to direct funds designated for individual communities according to donors’ charitable wishes.
“The Foundation is honored to help Mary Kessler turn her dreams for our community into reality,” said president and CEO Elizabeth Nager. “The benefits of her gift to the residents of Landrum and Tryon will be experienced now and for generations to come.”
Additional grants will be awarded from the Mary F. Kessler Fund during the second unrestricted grants cycle of 2011 for projects that meet the established criteria. The next applications will be due in 2012. For more information, contact the Polk County Community Foundation at 255 South Trade Street in Tryon, call 828-859-5314 or visit www.polkccf.org.
– article submitted by Noah Wood