To a crowd of nearly 600 people, the first of four 2016 Touchstone Honorees emphasized the importance of perseverance: “To obtain one’s goal is not always easy. There are landmines along the way. It takes grit, passion, and an I-can-do-anything drive” (Jane Fortune).

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The 2016 Touchstone Awards luncheon was held on July 7 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. The awards were hosted by WTHR news anchor Andrea Morehead and chaired by the IU Vice President for Development and External Relations for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (DEMA), Joyce Rogers.

With the help of nearly 500 guests and 75 summer camp girls, we honored four inspiring female leaders from the Indianapolis community: Jane FortuneSally HerrholzDr. Ora Pescovitz, and Rev. Jean Smith.

In addition to honoring these four women, Jordan Finch, a Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis alumna, spoke to the merits of Girls Inc. programming. Jordan has spent many years with Girls Inc., and this year she returned to Girls Inc. summer camp as a Girl Engagement Specialist.

As Jordan gave her speech, she reminded every summer camper that “they are not defined by their bodies but by the content of their character, they have the right to say yes, to say no, and to change their minds.”

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Before the luncheon kicked off, Girls Inc. girls shared a little bit of their own wisdom and summer camp experiences with guests in an interactive exhibit hall. After the exhibit hall displays, the girls shared lunch with attendees and learned about the impact of Girls Inc. in the Indianapolis community.

Our generous challenge matches from Ally level sponsors, Kroger and The National Bank of Indianapolis, raised over $25,000 during the event! We would like to thank our third Ally level sponsor, Lilly Endowment Inc. for their support as well.

In addition, our Bold level sponsors, Eli Lilly and Company, Glick Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and Lumina Foundation, Table Sponsors, and ticket holders were incredibly generous. With these donations, we will be able to further our mission of providing girls in the Greater Indianapolis area with empowering programming. Thank you to those who made it all possible. In totality, we raised $127,500!

We’d also like to thank Kelly Lynn Photography for donating her time to take pictures at our event.

Pat Wachtel, CEO and President of Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis, said, “In my mind, Touchstone is a quilt that keeps building each year.” And, we hope to add you to our quilt at the 2017 Touchstone Awards.

Until then, here are some words from our final Touchstone Honoree, Rev. Jean Smith, to leave off on: “If you learn nothing else today, learn to be thankful for the opportunities that unfold for you, and will continue to unfold for you—courtesy of Girls Inc.”