Sammy Fund grants $15,400 to projects helping area youth

Jan. 6, 2003

The fund, in memory of Samantha Otte, has contributed $35,200 over three years.

Somewhere this morning, Sammy smiled.

The Quincy Area Community Foundation’s Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund – also called the Sammy Fund – awarded grants totaling $15,400 this morning to 12 non-profit organizations.

The third annual presentations took place during a press conference at the First Union Congregational Church.

The grants are awarded to agencies which provide leadership, artistic, and humanitarian or community betterment opportunities for youth. The grants are given in memory of Samantha Otte, who suffered from cystic fibrosis and died at age 10 in March 2000 from complications from a liver transplant.

“Today would have been Sammy’s 13th birthday,” said Chuck Otte, Samantha’s father. “She lived life to the fullest, and her smile lives on in the Sammy Fund. This fund provides increased opportunities for the youth in our community. That’s what the Sammy Fund is all about.”

Jill Arnold Blickhan is the executive director of the Community Foundation. She paid tribute to the Otte family and local sponsors of the fund.

“This family has taken the grief it has had and turned it into something positive,” said Blickhan, fighting back tears. “This is absolutely tremendous.”

Blickhan handed out the grant funds with the assistance of Chris Otte, Samantha’s 15-year-old brother. Samantha’s mother, June, was also in attendance.

Today’s grants bring the total awarded during the past three years to $35,200. The grants awarded today were from funds raised in October 2002 during the third annual Sammy Fund golf event.

First Bankers Trust has served as a major sponsor of the golf event since its October 2000 inception. Newest major sponsors include CedarBrook Health Group and Refreshment Services Pepsi.

“My wife, son and I are extremely grateful to our friends and family who have put so much time and effort into making this event so successful,” Chuck Otte said. “All of us involved in the Sammy Fund express our sincere appreciation to the community for its support each year. It is very comforting for all who love and miss Samantha to realize so many children in our community will benefit from these grants. We cannot express how much it means to honor her memory by helping children in our

Receiving grants today were Adams County Big Brother Big Sister ($2,380), Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross ($500), Camp Callahan, Inc. ($2,700), Great River First Tee ($720), Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex ($1,000), Paw Pals, Inc. ($1,000), Quincy Art Center ($900), Quincy Community Theatre ($300), Quincy Family YMCA ($1,000), Quincy Area Community Foundation ($1,400), Two Rivers Council of Girls Scouts ($2,500) and Walter Hammond Daycare ($1,000).

Contributions to the Samantha Otte Youth Fund can be made through the Quincy Area Community Foundation at P.O. Box 741, Quincy, Ill. 62306.

For information, contact Jill Blickhan at (217) 222-1237.By Steve Eighinger
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

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