Trevor Wendzonka
Trevor Wendzonka
Trevor Wendzonka started writing for The Elkhart Truth when it was only available on paper. The key credentials: seven years covering local government, then seven more working for the government. Today, he's in communications with the Greater Elkhart Chamber. Please feel free to be critical of him for all of the above.

Fundraising tops $40,000 in support of Elkhart and Concord referenda

Both groups pulling for 'yes' votes on May 6 – Yes4Elkhart and Yes for Concord Kids – have cash available for the election's closing days. Read the story to find out who's contributed what.

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 4:41 p.m.

Political fundraising is an ugly, awkward sport. The task comes with all the suspense of a Lindsay Lohan reality show, its reception about as warm and welcoming as spring break flu.

Imagine, then, the difficulty of getting people to pitch in for school referenda for additional property tax funds. It is epically ironic.

“Why on Earth would I give them money,” one person told me immediately after being asked by a Yes4Elkhart fundraiser to donate to the cause. “So I can give them even more of my money for years to come? That’s ridiculous.”

That thinking isn’t shared by all. Finance reports on file at the Elkhart County Courthouse show more than $40,000 has been put into the pot to get the message out for more school funding. More than three-quarters of that total was given in support of Elkhart Community Schools’ two ballot requests.

From Jan. 1 to April 11, the pre-primary reporting period, Yes4Elkhart took in $31,400 and still had more than $14,000 in its coffers. Seven individual contributors supplied 38 percent of the funding, with Skyline CEO Art Decio writing the biggest check – $5,000. Businesses and other groups, including the Greater Elkhart Chamber, also have donated.

Yes For Concord Kids reported spending only about $740 of its $9,750 raised by April 11. Almost 35 percent of the funds raised for Concord originated with two political action committees affiliated with the Indiana State Teachers Association. The Indiana Political Action Committee for Education sent $2,500, while the Northern Lakes PAC contributed $899.

One notable individual contributor to the Concord cause was Frank Lucchese, an Elkhart County commissioner, who gave $500.

Several other candidates on the May 6 ballot, including State Rep. Tim Wesco and House hopefuls Adam Bujalski and Doug Miller, have announced their support, but the April filings showed no monetary contributions.

As of Tuesday afternoon, April 23, opposition groups had not submitted any fundraising reports to Christopher Anderson, Elkhart County’s election supervisor. He raised an eyebrow when asked if they had to, noting with concern an organized Concord “no” group has spent money on at least signs.

The trick for the “yes” groups will be to spend effectively. With more and more people choosing to vote early in recent years, the game has changed. The standard media buys and mailings in the final days before traditional Election Day have become potentially less impactful.

And in the end, it comes down to the one thing money can’t buy – voter turnout.

Yes For Concord Kids
 Contributors (Jan. 1 - April 11) Amount given
 Kendra and Tim Wietstock  $200
 Frank and Tanja Lucchese  $500
 Jeffrey and Sabrina Kime (Division President of Thor Industries,  Inc.)  $2,000
 Randall and Diana Myers  $250
 Michael H. Schoeffler  $250
 Dr. Paul and Nancy Keller  $200
 Eric and Lisa Brumbaugh  $200
 Darrel and Candace Yoder  $150
 Jeff and Cristine Wysong  $200
 Mark and Kate Hummel  $200
 John and Diane Hanes  $150
 On-Site Building Solutions  $150
 Interra Credit Union  $500
 Almac-Sotebeer, Inc.   $200
 A.E. Techron Precision Industrial Amplifiers   $400
 I-PACE (Indiana Political Action Committee for Education)  $2,500
 Northern Lakes PAC  $899.20
 Unitemized contributions (Donations under $100 are not reported)  $800
 Total  $9,749.20
 Expenditures  $738.79


 Contributors (Jan. 1 - April 11)  Amount given
 Steven L. Brown $167
 Dorisanne Nielsen  $200 
 Mark Mow $240 
 Pam Schultz $100 
 Barbara Cripe $100 
 Margaret Birzele $500 
 Rose Benjamin $100 
 Kyle Hannon $150 
 Jo Ann Burt $200 
 Karen Cittadine $1,000 
 Bob Deputy $500 
 Johnny Thomas $250 
 Arthur Decio $5,000 
 Karen Carter $100 
 Nancy Moore $250 
 Cidney Walter $100 
 Liz Borger $100 
 Tom and Sue Neat $100
 Scott Welch $1,000 
 Tom Housand $1,000
 Sharon Mellin $100 
 Alene Culver $200 
 Carly Chomer $1,000 
 Ron Fenech $500
 Linda Fine $100 
 Amish Shah $1,000
 Connie Fulmer $500 
 Jill Richardson $2,000 
 Becky Yeakey $300 
 Dorinda Heiden-Guss $200 
 Jill Szyarto $100 
 John Gildea $200 
 Julie Gaff $750 
 Cheryl Waggoner $250 
 Judy Murphy $400 
 Elizabeth Bond $200 
 Tanzic Nielsen $105 
 David Weed $300 
 AWT, Inc. $2,500
 Premier Motors $250 
 NIBCO $5,000 
 Welch Packaging Group, Inc. $1,000 
 Premier Arts $1,000 
 Elkhart Chamber of Commerce $250 
 Blazer Club $250 
Unitemized contributions (Donations under $100 are not reported) $2,804
 Total $31,416.12 
 Expenditures $17,328.22



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