Jim and Nedra Sutter have avoided taking credit for their philanthropy. But that doesn’t mean their efforts went unnoticed, especially by Indiana Wesleyan University.
“I would describe (the Sutters) as community philanthropists. I think most people would realize they’ve been long and strong supporters of local agencies,” said Alan Miller, IWU director of university relations. “They’ve chosen to give their gifts anonymously, but two agencies have benefited immensely from them: the Grant County YMCA and Boys and Girls Club. We’re proud to honor them.”
The Sutters, who are widely credited with facilitating new homes for both clubs — according to a news release from IWU — were welcomed to IWU’s all-university convocation Aug. 29 to receive the Tony Maidenberg Community Service Award.
Jim said Thursday that winning the Maidenberg Award was a great surprise for his family.
“We tried to (be anonymous), but we apparently haven’t done a very good job. We’re just Marion people who’ve had opportunities to participate in the community,” he said. “We’ve always tried to put the kids first and, if possible, put Marion and Grant County kids first.”
The road to the STAR Financial YMCA is now called Sutter Way because of the couple’s contribution to the project. Jim wouldn’t take credit, but he said he’s proud the club received a $9.5 million investment to renovate and occupy the former Memorial Coliseum.
Miller said IWU employees aren’t eligible for the Maidenberg Award, but the couple does have ties to the university. Jim once sat on IWU’s advisory board, and some of the couple’s grandchildren attend the school.
“It was a great honor for us, and our granddaughters were there in the audience, so that made it special too. Our daughter and son-in-law were also there,” Nedra said. “It’s a great honor, and we appreciated it.”
Keith Newman, executive vice president at IWU, said in a news release that he’s proud to honor a Marion couple as accomplished as the Sutters.
“The couple we honor today have set a high standard when it comes to caring for children and young people, and that is a rich legacy to leave any community,” he said in the release.