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May 12, 2017

Ryan Kerrigan at golf outing in 2014

Chapter History

Twelve years ago, Joe Tiller, Purdue's head football coach at the time, presented a challenge of forming one of the largest chapters in the National Football Foundation here in Northwest Indiana. Since receiving its charter in Tippecanoe County, the Northwest Indiana Chapter (which was renamed in 2007 the Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana) has enlisted more than 700 members, becoming the largest chapter in the state and the second largest in the nation at one point.

As a group of football-loving enthusiasts with the purpose of advancing amateur football at the local, state and national levels, the Joe Tiller Chapter of the NFF provides grassroots support in a many ways.

As a non-profit organization, this chapter has awarded more than $270,000 in grants, scholarships, honorariums and donations since receiving its charter in 2004. Awards nominations must be submitted to chapter director Jim Vruggink each year by the end of March.

‚ÄčThis chapter offers scholarship opportunities for scholar athletes at 70 high schools in 17 Northwest Indiana counties (Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Fulton, Howard, Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Miami, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White). Selection of the Scholar Athlete of the Year is based 40% on academic achievement, 40% football performance and attitude, and 20% leadership and citizenship. In addition to seeking donations and sponsorships to support the scholarship program, the chapter also receives money ($500 for every 50 dues-paying members in the local chapter) from the national office in Irving, Tex. In its first 12 years, this chapter has recognized 224 scholar athletes, awarding scholarships ranging in size between $200 and $5,000 individually.

In addition to the scholarships, the local chapter has been involved with youth programs such as the Dream Season (providing experiences for kids and young adults with disabilities) and the Lafayette 56ers, Attica Youth Football, Little Gridiron, and West Side Flag Football, helping to provide opportunities for elementary school-aged players in the area. The chapter also helps to support the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.

The NFF chapter is one of 120 nation-wide. Other Indiana chapters are in South Bend, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Indianapolis. Nationally, the NFF has more than 12,000 members and awards more than $1.3 million in scholarships each year.

Four events are planned for 2017 that you and your business can help support. 

NFF Chapter Launches Scholar-Athlete Endowment

 

    Greetings! Members, Sponsors and Friends

    of the Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana:

Success stories fill our chapter’s history. Among them: the scholar-athletes supported by our chapter who have become doctors, dentists, CIA agents, engineers, businessmen, coaches, graduate students and outstanding members of their communities.

They have made their families, their schools and our chapter members and supporters proud.

Our Scholar-Athletes of the Year are chosen using this criteria:

  • Academic achievement:                    40%
  • Football performance and attitude:     40%
  • Leadership and citizenship:               20%

A few highlights of our scholarship program:

  • We offer scholarship opportunities at some 70 Indiana high schools.
  • These schools are in 17 Northwest Indiana counties, from Tippecanoe to Lake.
  • In the 12 years since our chapter’s founding, we have honored 228 scholar-athletes at our annual NFF Honors Dinners
  • Scholarship awards have surpassed $200,000 total.

That’s what we call a touchdown! The money has come from chapter revenues, member contributions and sponsorships. Now, we’d like that score to reach even higher, and we’d like to ensure the permanence of our scholarship program.

To do that, our chapter is kicking off a campaign to raise funds for a scholarship endowment. We need your help. Money raised will be placed in the endowment and held forever, making your gift a lasting one, indeed. The money will be wisely invested by our national organization, and proceeds earned will help fund chapter scholarships. This way, we create an ongoing source for scholarship assistance.

Please consider making a lasting investment in our student-athletes. You believe in them, and helping them achieve their potential is a big win—for them, for our communities, for you as a donor and for our chapter.

Questions? Email or call  President Kelly Kitchel (kellykitchel@yahoo.com; 765-412-7215) or  Executive Director Jim Vruggink (jvruggink@purdue.edu; 765/427-3303).

Please send your most generous contribution today. Make your check payable to the National Football Foundation, noting in the memo line: NFF Tiller/NW Indiana Chapter Endowment. Mail it to:

  Jim Vruggink

  NFF Joe Tiller/NW Indiana Chapter

  3672 Farnsworth Drive

  West Lafayette, IN 47906

With great gratitude,

Kelly Kitchel, President

Jim Vruggink, Executive Director