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Schaffer established “Field of Interest” grant fund in honor of late husband

Darlene & Gerry Schaffer

A passion for her community and the feeling that “Gerald would have wanted to give back to the community,” led Hoxie resident, Darlene Schaffer, to establish the Gerald A. & Darlene R. Schaffer Fund with the Sheridan County Community Foundation at the beginning of 2022.

This fund holds the distinction of being the first donor-established “field of interest” fund held by the foundation. A field of interest fund is an endowed (or invested fund in which the principal amount remains untouched) fund in which the donor(s) set forth specific parameters regarding the use of the grant funds towards specific causes, needs, organizations, etc.

Darlene created the fund in memory of her late husband, Gerald (Gerry) who passed away in 2013.

Most will recall Gerry from his 37-year career at the First National Bank of Hoxie (now First State Bank). Gerry joined the bank as a teller after his service in the Army and a year at Fort Hays State University in Hays. Darlene noted, “Gerry attended FHSU for a year, then was recruited to work back home at the bank for the summer and never left!” He recognized the value of education and completed a banking degree via written correspondence and summer classes at the Colorado School of Banking. He was proud of the First National Bank’s involvement in the community.

Despite a busy schedule working, studying, and helping raise their family of four children, Gerry believed in community and the importance of getting involved. Darlene noted, “He was involved with many organizations in town and often served as an officer. He helped build the first Hoxie golf course, announced homecoming and fair parades, and served as emcee at various events and activities. He also served his church (St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church) and coaching his children’s sports teams. Gerry was one of the founders of the Sheridan Amusement Company and was instrumental in the founding of the Elks Lodge.

Darlene shares a similar passion for community. Over the years, she has given of her time and talents to her church by volunteering as a religious educator and CCD coordinator. She also taught preschool and served as an EMT, all while supporting their four children (Susan, Steve, Sharon, and Robert) in their various school and sports activities.

In their spare time, the Schaffers both enjoyed playing golf and would often travel around the northwest Kansas region playing in couples’ tournaments. In their retirement years, they enjoyed spending winters in Sun City West, Arizona, where they would play golf and engage in other activities in the community.

Today, Darlene still enjoys wintering in Arizona, where she participates in clubs for quilting, making jewelry, sewing for kids, studying history, and reading. She continues her volunteer work while home in Hoxie and continues to play in a local bridge club that has been together for over 50 years!

The Schaffers lived, worked, raised their family, loved, played, and enjoyed a wonderful life together in Sheridan County. Darlene said, “Hoxie is a wonderful place to raise your children. I am impressed with what the students from here have gone on to do in their careers and lives. I like seeing how people help each other here and how they care so much about others.”

Darlene Schaffer (center) with her children from left to right: Susan May, Oberlin; Steve Schaffer, Lonetree, Colo.; Sharon Lancaster, Independence, Mo.; and Robert Schaffer, Scottsdale, Ariz.

That same care for neighbors, friends and community will be carried on in perpetuity through the gifts of the Schaffer Fund. The Schaffer Fund will provide grant funding to projects and organizations within Hoxie and Sheridan County. Grant oversight and awards will be determined by the SCCF Board of Directors.

Eligible categories will include

  • Healthcare Needs in Sheridan County

  • Education in Sheridan County (Hoxie Schools specific)

  • Music, Arts & Entertainment Projects

  • Economic Development Opportunities (Hoxie specific)

  • City of Hoxie Golf Course

  • Hoxie Elks Projects in coordination with Grow Sheridan County Inc for Community Benefit

  • St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church

  • St. Francis Catholic Cemetery

If your organization has a project or funding need that might benefit from the Schaffer Fund, please contact the Foundation at 785-675-1240 or

On behalf of the SCCF staff and board, we would like to thank Darlene for her generosity through this gift and her belief in the benefits of an endowed fund to serve her community for years to come.

SCCF is an affiliate of the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation based in Bird City. The foundation seeks to encourage, prudently manage, and distribute charitable contributions to improve the quality of life of Sheridan County residents, now and in the future. To learn more, visit Connect with SCCF at

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