History

The H.C. Gemmer Family Christian Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) was incorporated on October 11, 1956 and the first annual meeting of the Board of Directors was held on October 13, 1956. The Foundation was funded with $100,000.00 proceeds from the sale of a 96.5 acre farm located at 30th St. and Post Road in Indianapolis, owned by Hiram Conrad (H. C.) Gemmer, and his wife, Edith Gemmer.  H.C. Gemmer was an executive of Empire Life Insurance Company in Indianapolis. Hiram and Edith Gemmer were active members of Northwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and their strong Christian convictions were expressed through their concerns for world peace, sobriety, temperance, and brotherhood and justice for all people.  Hiram and Edith Gemmer also had a strong interest in the ecumenical movement of churches, consistent with the ideals and vision of the Disciples of Christ Church.  Their only child, Rev. H. Robert Gemmer, made his career in ecumenical church work, and activism for peace, justice, and brotherhood.  Federations, councils of churches, and councils of church women, were among the largest beneficiaries of the H.C. Gemmer Christian Foundation, in its early years.  The Foundation’s assets grew significantly in 1993 with the payment of over $600,000 in insurance proceeds on the life of H. Robert Gemmer. As of November 2016, the value of the Foundation’s assets exceeded $740,000.00. Since the Foundation started making grants in 1957, through June 2016, the Foundation made grants totaling $1,136,797.00.  The top grantees were On Earth Peace, Church World Service, Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis, Indiana Council of Churches, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples) and United Church of Christ, Peer Information Center for Teens, Education for Conflict Resolution, Conflict Resolution Center, and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

The original five officers and directors of the Foundation were: Rev. H. Robert Gemmer, President; Rev. Laurence T. Hosie, Executive Vice-President; Edith Gemmer, First Vice-President; Rev. William T. Pearcy, Second Vice-President; and H.C. Gemmer, Secretary-Treasurer. Rev. Hosie was the Executive Secretary of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis, and Rev. Pearcy was the Executive Secretary of the Board of Church Extension of the Disciples of Christ.  Rev. Pearcy served on the board until 1966, and was replaced by Dr. Grover L. Hartman, Executive Secretary of the Indiana Council of Churches. Rev. Hosie served as Executive Vice-President of the Foundation until his resignation in 1979, at which time Dr. Hartman became the Executive Vice-President.  Dr. Hartman died in 1988 and was replaced as Executive Vice-President by his son, Elden Hartman.  Rev. H. Robert Gemmer served as President of the Foundation from 1956 until his death in 1992, and was succeeded as President by his wife, Myrna Jean Gemmer. Myrna Gemmer served as President until 2007, when she was succeeded by her son, David Gemmer.  Hiram C. Gemmer served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Foundation from 1956 until his death in 1962. He was replaced as Secretary-Treasurer by Cassius Fenton, Business Manager of Christian Theological Seminary, who served until his death in 1982. Elden Hartman was elected Treasurer and Director of the Foundation in 1982, upon Cassius Fenton’s death. Rev. Thomas J. Liggett, President of Christian Theological Seminary, became Secretary of the Foundation in 1982, and served until 1986. Rev. Raymond Brown, Sr. Vice-President of the Board of Church Extension, replaced Rev. Liggett as Secretary of the Foundation in 1986, and served until his death in 2012. Eric McCutchan, a great-grandson of H. C. Gemmer, was elected Secretary of the Foundation in 2012, upon Rev. Brown’s death.  His brother, Andrew McCutchan, replaced Eric on the board in 2017, and Yvonne Dilling accepted the Secretary position for a one year term.

BOARD MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT

•  Hiram C. Gemmer (1956 – 1962)

•  Edith M Gemmer (1956 – 1971)

•  H. Robert Gemmer (1956 – 1992)

•  William T. Pearcy (1956 – 1966)

•  Laurence T. Hosie (1956 – 1979)

•  Cassius Fenton (1962 – 1982)

•  Grover L. Hartman (1966 – 1988)

•  Myrna J. Gemmer (1971 – 2010) – President Emerita

•  Thomas J. Liggett (1975 – 1988)

•  David R. Gemmer (1977 – Present)

•  Jeanne Gemmer McCutchan (1977 – 2012)

•  Anna Lou Talley (1979 – 1988)

•  Elden L. Hartman (1982 – Present)

•  Richard D. N. Dickinson (1986 – 2006)

•  Annabel Hartman (1988 – 2013) – Director Emerita

•  Worth G. Hartman (1988 – Present)

•  Raymond E. Brown (1985 – 2012)

•  Scott Schiesswold (1989 – 2000)

•  Louise T. Batties (1990 – 1995)

•  John T. Hinant (1995 – Present)

•  Harold R. Watkins (2006-2014)

•  Eric J. Brotheridge (2006 – 2014)

•  Marjorie M. Dilling (2001 – 2010)

•  Eric D. McCutchan (2010 – 2017)

•  Yvonne K. Dilling (2011 – Present)

•  David A. Vargas (2013 – Present)

•  Judith K. Dunson (2014 – 2017)

•  Sandra R. Gourdet (2014 – Present)

•  Tia E. Manson (2015 – Present)

•  Erick (Rick) D. Reisinger (2016 – Present)

•  Andrew McCutchan (2017 - Present)