June 1, 2024

Marga Ebel

Relatively few people knew Marga Ebel during the years she lived in the Hillsboro community, but her estate gift of $388,000 to the Hillsboro Community Foundation has done a lot of good for local children in the years since her passing in 2009.

Her story is a classic example of surprising charitable impact: An elderly person with a spartan lifestyle and low profile who leaves behind a sizeable financial gift to benefit a good cause.  And Marga’s cause was to “make sure the kids have good health care.”

Marga moved to Hillsboro when she was in her teens. After earning a teaching degree from Tabor College, Marga taught school in Rose Hill and in other schools in Wichita.  She completed her teaching career at the Institute of Logopedics in Wichita (now operating as Heartspring). There she worked with disadvantaged and handicapped children, and understood very well about not having all the resources to take care of kids with needs.

Marga moved back to Hillsboro upon her retirement and formed a close friendship with Delores Dalke, former mayor and founding HCF board member.  When Marga expressed a desire to do something that would address local children’s health needs with the remainder of her estate, Delores introduced the community foundation as a way to help her dream become a reality.

To fulfill her dream, HCF formed a committee in 2011 of local people with knowledge about health needs of children in the area.  Representatives from Marion County Head Start, Families and Communities Together (FACT), Parents as Teachers, the USD 410 school district, and others met to discuss possible ways to use Marga’s endowment fund.

The committee determined that dental health was an issue that needed more attention and established the Marga Ebel Children’s Dental Program. The program provides dental care financial assistance for qualifying families of children attending USD 410 schools.  Earnings from her endowed fund have been used to support the dental program as well as other children health initiatives.

Vision combined with generosity can be a powerful thing.  It’s doubtful that Marga Ebel ever envisioned that her estate gift would lead to a dental-health program, but her vision for helping children improve their health will pay dividends for an untold number of kids and make an impact we may never fully realize.