January 6, 2004
The Sammy Fund presents $15,730 in checks to celebrate what would have been her 14th birthday.
by Rodney Hart
Samantha Otte always loved a big party on her birthday, and her family continues to make her special day a big event.
This morning at John Wood Community College, Samantha’s family celebrated what would have been her 14th birthday with grant presentations from the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area.
Samantha passed away nearly four years ago at the age of 10. Thirteen checks totaling $15,730 were distributed to nonprofit organizations by the Community Foundation from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.
“Our family continues to be overwhelmed with the generosity of the community,” said June Otte, Samantha’s mother. “Sam always liked to have a big party and celebrate.”
This is the fourth time grants from the fund have been awarded. The grants will enable several hundred children in the Quincy area to participate in a variety of activities, including camping, theater, swimming and golf. Others will learn about animal care or attend children’s college.
Some of the organizations will use their grants to buy car booster seats, a computer and printer, or furniture for youth needs and programs.
“What Sam’s family has done to keep her legacy alive is amazing, not only through the giving but the amount given,” said Jim Mentesti, who served as the 2003 honorary chairman of the annual Sammy Fund golf event last October. “To raise this amount of money from a golf tournament for several years in a row, it’s just literally unbelievable.”
The primary purpose of the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund includes, but is not limited to, support of organizations which maintain and enhance community betterment and artistic, leadership and humanitarian opportunities for young people. Since being established with the Community Foundation in late 2000, 39 grants totaling $50,930 have been distributed from the fund.
The fund is supported from money raised during the annual Sammy Event organized by Samantha’s family and friends. Hundreds of supporters get together each October for golf, an auction, and a dinner to honor Samantha’s life.
Proceeds from the annual event, memorial gifts and other donations are also added to the fund at the Coummunity Foundation, enabling it to grow and to make annual grant distributions.
First Banker’s Trust Co. has served as a major sponsor of the event from its start in October 2000. CedarBrook Health Group and Refreshment Services Pepsi participated as major sponsors in 2002 and 2003, with the Quincy Herald-Whig and WGEM joining the others as major sponsors in 2003.