Forever LincolnWay helps Foundation support students today, tomorrow, forever

Thomas McConohy’s journey in life took him from his family farm near DeWitt, across Eastern Iowa for education and work, and now back to the farm where he grew up. Today, with support from the LincolnWay Community Foundation, he’s one of many community members building a strong DeWitt area. 

The Community Foundation supports numerous efforts to make the region a place where people want to live, including those like McConohy who moved away as students but returned as adults. These efforts, whether scholarships like the one McConohy received, or grants to local nonprofits, are made possible by local generosity, a dedicated board with a committed staff person, and now the Forever LincolnWay endowment fund. This fund will help ensure the Foundation can continue improving quality of life for DeWitt area residents like Thomas for generations to come. 

In 2009, Thomas received the Donald G. Henricksen Scholarship, which honors the life of husband, father and farmer Don Henricksen with an annual $1,000 award to a graduate of Central DeWitt High School who plans to study agriculture or business. The scholarship helped him pursue a degree in agricultural engineering at Iowa State University. Today, he has returned to his family farm near DeWitt and is employed by John Deere Harvester Works as a field test engineer.

McConohy was inspired by the investment his community had made in his education. “The scholarship that I received not only helped financially, it motivated me to keep going down the path I chose,” he said. “In the future, I would like to start a scholarship to give college students the same opportunity that I had.”

When he started college, McConohy’s goal was to work in agriculture or a related industry and live within an hour or two of home. After graduating from ISU in 2013, McConohy worked for two years at John Deere in Waterloo as a product engineer for large tractors. He spent most weekends and holiday breaks at home working on his family’s farm. After making the decision to be more involved with the farm, he accepted his current position and moved back.

McConohy shows the same dedication today that earned him the Henricksen Scholarship more than a decade ago. “Balancing my responsibilities working with Deere and work at the farm requires planning and a lot of working into the late night to get the job done,” he said. 

The Foundation harnesses the power of local generosity to provide permanent, sustainable funding that supports education, youth and families, health and safety, community development and historic preservation. The Forever LincolnWay Fund enables the Foundation to successfully and efficiently do this important work. 

The family of Don Henricksen supports the Forever LincolnWay endowment fund so that the Foundation can continue these efforts – today, tomorrow and forever. Learn more and make your gift to the Forever Fund.