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The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Cheiricozzis Hand Mercer County A Gift And A Challenge

Couple Makes $100,000 Commitments And Challenge Community To Help Endowment Grow

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Barbara and Pete Cheiricozzi made a $100,000 commitment to the Mercer County Community Endowment last week. They also challenged the community to help the endowment reach its goal of raising $1 million by 2026.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

At the celebration of the Mercer County Community Endowment’s 10th anniversary, the endowment’s founder, Pete Chiericozzi, made a new gift and challenged the community. Chiericozzi and his wife Barbara made a commitment to donate $100,000-$20,000 per year over five years starting in 2022. They also challenged the community to help the endowment to grow to $1 million by 2026.

The Mercer Endowment  was started in 2011 with an initial donation of $10,000 from the Chiericozzis. The couple matched donations up to $5,000 over the first five years.

“I cannot believe it’s been 10 years,” Pete Chiericozzi said at last week’s anniversary ceremony.

Chiericozzi cited John Landrum and Ralph Anderson as two models for giving back to the community. Both men were well known benefactors to Mercer County.

“Are you going to fill their shoes?” Chiericozzi asked the audience, referring to a classic George Jones song.

“We hear quite often folks saying to give back,” he said.  “I don’t know how Barbara and I could ever thank all of you for what you have given us in friendships, in inspiration, and most of all, the deep values you hold and shared with us…you have made a difference in our lives.”

The couple moved away from Mercer County in 2019 to be closer to their family. During their 16 years in Mercer County, they developed a reputation for local philanthropy.

The endowment they began focuses on agriculture, the arts, education, health,  youth,  and the general  well-being  of  the  county. Since 2014, funds have been used to support community  programs, including the Fort Harrod Jazz Festival, Oktoberfest and Ragged Edge Community Theatre. Funds have also been used to support nursing assistant scholarships, dental kits for local students, the Community Tutoring Initiative, the cradle school, tuition for dual credit courses for high school students and Kendyl and Friends Special Needs Playground. The endowment has paid out more than $75,000 since its creation.

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Mercer County Community Endowment Board member Harvey Mitchell presents Mercer County with a $75,000 check for all funds donated to the community to date.

The fund is designed to last forever. In 2020, the assets totaled approximately $450,000, according to their brochure. Chiericozzi reminded the audience that the goal is to grow the endowment to $1 million by 2026. He challenged the community to match his donation and help them reach that goal.

The $100,000 gift and the challenge seemed to stunned many in the audience.

“Pete and Barbara moved away from Mercer County but will never leave,” said John Trisler, former judge-executive for Mercer County. Trisler serves on the board of the community endowment.

“They continue to care about the needs of our citizens with their words and commitments to the endowment,” he said.

Trisler thanked the Chiericozzis for their generosity and for reminding the board members about the endowment’s motto, ‘our county, our responsibility.’

“When we make this goal, we can make a huge impact in meeting the growing needs of our citizens,” Trisler said. “We need to take the step forward with our commitments.”

The Mercer County Community Endowment is  a  component  fund  of  the  Wilderness  Trace  Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community  Foundation  of  Louisville.  Gifts  are  tax  deductible  and  may  qualify  for  the  Endow  Kentucky Tax Credit. To learn more about their mission, visit online at

To make a donation, their address is:
Mercer County Community Endowment
P.O. Box 184 
Harrodsburg, KY 40330

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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