Since the December 2017 creation of an endowment in honor of the late Larry McKinney, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the fund is getting close to reaching the $20,000 milestone.
The Honorable Larry J. McKinney Fund for Civic Education was started by the Indiana Bar Foundation to support civic educations programs like We the People and Indiana Mock Trial. McKinney, who died suddenly in September 2017, was a strong advocate for teaching students about the Constitution and democracy. He often attended We the People and mock trial competitions and even held a naturalization ceremony during the annual We the People state championship so the students could see immigrants become U.S. citizens.
Charles Dunlap, executive director of the bar foundation, said the endowment will ensure McKinney’s legacy continues.
To get the McKinney Endowment started, the bar foundation offered to match each donation dollar-for-dollar up to the first $10,000. The most recent tally shows $8,105 have been raised from 52 donors which, with the match, doubles that amount to $16,210.
Dunlap is confident the bar foundation’s remaining $1,895 for the match will be used. Recently, the push for contributions to the endowment has slowed because, he said, the foundation does not want to fatigue its donors by constantly asking for help.
“We’ll get there,” he said. “It is just taking a little bit longer.”
Dunlap is hoping to begin drawing money from the endowment next year and to grow the total amount beyond $20,000. Plans call for the fund to target the expenses that can prevent a school from participating in one of the civic education programs.
As examples, Dunlap said the endowment might be used to cover the cost of transporting the students to the civic education contests or to pay for a substitute instructor while the regular classroom teacher is accompanying the team to the championship.
“The need is great,” he said.