When Nick Strimbu, Jr. died on December 4, 1989, the family thought it would be appropriate to establish a trust fund in his memory. The initial idea was for memorial contributions to be distributed among the many charities Nick supported during his lifetime. The outpouring of contributions was overwhelming cumulating over $67,000 in the first few months after his death. Prior to the monies being dispersed, the family was approached by several of Nick’s close friends requesting that a permanent memorial fund be established. These friends formed the Strimbu Memorial Fund Board of Directors. On December 28, 1990, the Strimbu Memorial Fund became part of the Shenango Valley Foundation.
Since that time, the Strimbu Memorial Fund has grown to over $1.5 million in assets. The fund has also provided over $3.6 million in scholarships and support of a variety of economic development and charitable causes.
Our mission is purely stated: “We give a hand up, not a hand out.”
The Fund annually grants thirteen $2,000 college scholarships and one $10,000 college scholarship to local high school seniors planning to further their education. Leadership and self-reliance are the two most important criteria that are required in order to receive one of these scholarships. These requirements were established to mirror the example that Nick demonstrated during his lifetime. Our philosophy is simple. One of the most substantial ways to enhance our community’s future is to help educate the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Each May the Strimbu Memorial Fund holds its Strimbu Memorial Fund Bar-B-Que that has enabled us to perpetuate Mr. Strimbu’s legacy. The event hosts 1,600 of the surrounding communities’ finest citizens. The Bar-B-Que features live music, the Leader Scholarship Award presentation as well as silent and live auctions filled with unique items. The food is professionally prepared and reminiscent of a full scale Texas Bar-B-Que complete with a variety of appetizers, spit cooked meats, as well as an assortment of tasty side dishes. One of Mr. Strimbu’s philosophies was that “a guest should never leave thirsty or hungry.” We try to uphold his philosophy in a big way. The event has sold out every year since its inception and last year netted almost $200,000 in proceeds. The key to the success of the fund raiser is attributable to the participation of all the attendees. Ticket distribution, planning of food, cocktails, and entertainment, as well as acquisition of auction items, are a few of the essential ingredients that are given the utmost attention. We believe an event will be successful only if its participants have an exceptional, positive experience.
The Strimbu Memorial Fund endeavors to make a noticeable impact on the quality of life within our geographic footprint and beyond. Our funding of key economic initiatives will enhance employment opportunities in our region. Our assistance to agencies and individuals in need will help people with a hand up, not a hand out. Support from members of the community, by attending our fundraisers, plays a crucial role in perpetuating the mission.