ELKHART — Throughout decades of production and growth in Middlebury, Jayco Inc. founders Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager have always been committed to giving from the company's profits.
Selling Jayco to Thor Industries was not going to stop them.
The Bontragers often supported Mennonite schools, colleges, universities and church organizations. They also gave to local, national and international charities as well as committed to giving tithes, a biblical practice of giving 10 percent.
Built with the profits from the sale, the Bontrager Family Foundation was created to allow the family to continue giving for generations through the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. It is one of 84 personal foundation funds that are part of the Community Foundation.
“We wanted to continue our ability to support charities as we have in the past,” said Wilbur Bontrager, chairman of the board and a family member involved in the business and its giving.
While the foundation helps with oversight and logistics, the family will act as advisers to recommend how to give from the fund and its earnings.
“We are honored the Bontrager family saw the Community Foundation as an instrument to accomplish their charitable goals,” said Pete McCown, president of the community foundation. “I have the highest regard for them as a family and their heart for generosity.”