Three decades of investment, of vision.

Three decades of investment, of vision.

Support for a state college, “dreaming” of and fueling the arrival of a state-of-the-art hospital, support for local church missions and home repair for the needy and elderly.

The George G. and Amelia G. Tapper Foundation celebrated 30 years of service to local communities Tuesday night with ceremonies at the Port Inn.

Envisioned by George Tapper in 1985 and fully-funded shortly before his death the following year, the Tapper Foundation has invested just shy of $2 million into Gulf, Frankin and Bay counties, including $74,500 this year.

“I am proud of the work our board undertakes every year to perpetuate the wishes of my parents,” said board chair Trish Warriner. “We intend to be an agent for good for at least 30 more years.

“It is amazing it has been 30 years.”

Over the course of those 30 years the Tapper Foundation has supplied funding for 131 recipients, ranging from Gulf Coast State College, the American Cancer Society and Salvation Army to the Port St. Joe Junior Service League and Police Department Cadet Program.

This year’s recipients included Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf, GCSC, the Port Theatre Arts Center, the CCDF, UAB’s Cancer Center, St. Joseph’s Catholic and First United Methodist churches, Boy Scout Troop 347, the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society and the Cadet Program.

The consistent support of the CCDF demonstrates one of the tenets her father had from the outset, Warriner said, to help perpetuate the reliable good works of others without any organization becoming solely reliant on the foundation for survival.

The CCDF provides home repair, needs assessments and other services to the needy and elder populations; its major operational funding comes from the Jesse Ball dupont Foundation.

The Tapper Foundation “always steps up with the matching grant so we can get our larger grant,” said CCDF executive director Diana Burkett.

On a grander scale, it was the foundation that was among the “dreamers” who sought to bring quality health care to the county, said Ralph Roberson, representing Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf.

The committee the foundation would become a key player on, the support in fundraising it provided, “were integral to bringing that hospital to the community,” Roberson said.

Dr. John Holdnak, GCSC President, said he arrives each morning to work to the sight of a building named for Amelia Tapper and leaves each day past another named for George Tapper.

He is “bookended” by the champions of the college; while in the Florida Senate, George Tapper helped push through the bill creating the Florida college system.

“If it weren’t for George Tapper and friends there would not be a Gulf Coast State College,” Holdnak said. The relationship between the Tapper Foundation and college foundation, “Provides that margin of excellent for us to be more than a college.”

And, Warriner noted, that connection, as much family as foundation, figures to continue into the next generation.

Her husband, David, is managing board member and the couple’s two children both also serve on the board.

A family tradition.

“Northwest Florida was good for George and he wanted to reciprocate,” said Larry Tyree, former GCSC president.

“I just know Gulf County and surrounding areas are better for George and Amelia Tapper and the foundation they established.”