First 7 Great Volunteers 2020

Greetings 1,967 TAC'ers

Welcome to the 2020 Scholarship Drive!

I am writing to share with you how our scholarship program got started and at the same time the contributions of seven great volunteers who made it possible.  We began small and very unsure how to get a scholarship program established.  Then came seven volunteers! Step by step, volunteer by volunteer and nine years later, we start our ninth Tiger Alumni Center - Tiger Pride Alumni Association (TAC-TPAA) scholarship drive.

This year’s drive will be the fourth one with the goal of $20K funding 20 scholarships of this year’s RCHS graduates.  The combined efforts of TAC-TPAA over the past eight years has resulted in 111 scholarships of $1K each.  To learn more of the coming 2020 drive, click this link or the image below:    



Starting TAC - Wanting to Fund Scholarships

I had been retired from Lincoln Land Community College for something like six years when one of my favorite students from my first career position, English teacher at Rockville H.S., and I got connected when I was welcomed to the alumni website, in part written by him.  Over several years I came to admire my student's leadership and how he, with a few other volunteers, served their members.  Thus inspired, in 2010, I started TAC.  I knew that I wanted to offer a scholarship program for our high school graduates.  How to do so? At first, I was at a loss.


The First Seven Great Volunteers

Add seven great people:  Ann Weesner King (1960), Bob Lemke (1960), Nancy Rumsey (1966), Chris Simpson (Superintendent, then principal of ERHS), Marilyn Holt (then superintendent; now retired volunteer for TAC), Frank Wagner (1965) and Tom Weber (1964) .


Ask For Help  

As I say, I was at a loss, overwhelmed.  Fortunately, I remembered what I did 'when stuck' over a task at my college: I asked for help. Seek leaders for advice.



Chris Simpson welcomed me to two September meetings, one in 2011 with him and a second one in 2012 with him and Marilyn Holt, then-district superintendent. At the first one, he shared a plan for TAC’s scholarship program: Use TAC to raise the money to fund the scholarships, with the members sending their checks directly to him at the school with his depositing the funds in a special TAC account.  Realize, too, that he was volunteering his staff as support workers doing, for example, the accounting and correspondence.  And that got our program started.  The second meeting, with Mrs. Holt  present, was also rewarding.  She offered help in a variety of ways, but what I'll include here is related to my theme today: she suggested that I talk to Attorney Tom Weber.  At the time, she was the second one to make that suggestion.  My brother-in-law, Jack Olson (1965),  had also recommended that I talk to him.



Ann Weesner King volunteered to promote membership for TAC.  She realized we needed members for the drives.  You see, we stared small, a hundred members three months after I started TAC; that was from September to Christmas, 2010.  By September 2011, TAC totaled 400 members (It’s 1,966 as of January 2020).  Before I can type the words, you can see a problem in the plan: very few members.  I have learned over the years that a direct relationship functions in the scholarship funding: more members, more donors.



Bob Lemke (1960) and I had renewed our friendship, April, 2012, at TAC's only regional reunion: The Texas Mini-Reunion.   He has supported the scholarship program from the start, 'sponsoring' all drives, donating larger and larger sums each year.  When TAC had few members, his donations keep the program alive.  As I wrote above, we started small: four scholarships in 2012; seven in 2013; and ten each in both 2014 and 2015.  TAC had around 700 members in 2014; it now has 1,966.


Frank Wagner (1965) surprised me by phoning one summer afternoon offering to donate his legal services. Frank was responding to my email messages to the TAC members for help in obtaining charity status.  That call was like the best 'Christmas gift' I could ever have! I was 'wowed!'  I wanted the scholarship donors to get tax credit.  I had heard about the "501(c)3" benefits but nothing else.  Frank, an award-winning lawyer in New York City, wanted to help. His first advice to me was to find an alum who was an attorney in Illinois to partner with him (He could not practice in Illinois) to create an Illinois charity.  Within a year, Frank and Tom completed the necessary steps, including guiding we volunteers through the process.


Tom Weber (1964), agreed to help us by working both with Frank and with me and my volunteers.  To get the 501 (c) 3 required creating a charity. And that required completion of many documents, some required state / federal forms and others we had to create (like bylaws which Tom led me through). Now we needed volunteers to serve on the TPAA board.  I remember Ann, Chris, Marilyn, and Tom naming names, but key in that stage of the process was Nancy Rumsey.  


Nancy Rumsey (1968), today, is known as the TAC administrator of the very popular “In Memory” program. Every time she announces the new obituaries that she has posted, hundreds of members visit TAC to read them.  Clearly, her leadership attracts new members.  Back to the first years.  When all of us weighted the options with their benefits, our decision led to the creating a sister organization to TAC: Tiger Pride Alumni Association (TPAA).  

Nancy was unique in that she was the only person I could share everything, meaning her thoughts and responses helped me think. For example, at one point I had to make the decision as to what was to be the charity organization, a revised TAC or a new second one.  As part of the charity requirements, key officers had to reside in the same state.  I alone lived in Georgia; key volunteers lived in Illinois.  



The first 7 - Great Results

The leadership of these volunteers resulted in healthy organizations: the website, the Tiger Alumni Center (TAC), and the new charity, the Tiger Pride Alumni Association (TPAA).  The combined, ‘sister’ organizations resulted in funding 20 scholarships every year, the past four, 2016-19.  That’s success!

What’s next?  Care to be part of the future?  It’s easy donate!




Please make your check out to 

Tiger Pride Alumni Association

Mail it to 

Janet Everette, Treasurer,  TPAA

906 East Cherry Street      

Olney, IL. 62450


Remember: the Tiger Pride Alumni Association, Ltd., is a charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization.