Annual event raises funds for three local organizations

After raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in its first two years, Stronger Together is once again pulling major fundraising power into western Clark County.

The signature summer event is a collaboration among the New Carlisle Rotary, The Barrett Strong Foundation, and Tecumseh Strong. The trio decided to team up for the first time in 2021.

The rotary was launched in New Carlisle in 1972. Tecumseh Strong was formed after Tecumseh Local Schools student Collin Griffin lost his battle with cancer in 2018. And, The Barrett Strong Foundation was created in 2019 after Northwestern Local Schools student Barrett Fitzsimmons also lost his battle with cancer.

The three organizations split all event proceeds evenly to support their individual missions, and they have found the event to be a beneficial partnership to help introduce and familiarize their individual followings to one another’s organizations.

Brad Fitzsimmons, co-founder of The Barrett Strong Foundation and a Stronger Together organizer, says the event is important because it allows the organizations to join forces to have a bigger impact within the community.

“Each of us has our own core groups of people who support us, but we wanted to try to branch out and make more of a difference,” he says.

The event boasts and upscale steak dinner provided by Evans Cattle Company and hosted at Evans Family Ranch at 11140 Milton-Carlisle Road, New Carlisle. The facility houses a garden center, General Store with fresh-from-the-farm meat and produce, a family fun center, bar and Bruno’s Corral restaurant.

“Past participants tend to really look forward to Stronger together each year,” says Todd Niswonger, a past-president of the New Carlisle Rotary and one of the Stronger Together event organizers.

The fun, unique fundraiser also includes a Bourbon Experience, for which each attendee receives tickets to sample a variety of high-end bourbons. Owners of local Indian Creek Distillery will be back once again to run the bourbon bar.

“Stronger Together is a fun gathering of friends. It’s a fun evening sponsored by Ed and Dee Evans at their Evans Family Ranch, and we appreciate them allowing us to host it at their place,” Fitzsimmons says. “It’s a fun evening of friends who get together to socialize and do some good for the community.”

Tickets are on sale for $175 a seat, and table sponsorships also remain available. Anyone interested can register to attend at

The event also includes fundraising games, a silent auction and a live auction. Auction items are still being accepted from any businesses, individuals or families interested in supporting the event. To donate to the auction, contact Lana Fitzsimmons at [email protected].

The silent auction items will be posted to and bid on through an online platform again this year. Though the items will be on-site for attendees to view in person, they will be posted to the Stronger Together platform to allow both people at the event and people who were unable to attend to bid at the same time. To register, visit

Live music is another a staple of Stronger Together. This year’s headliner will be Springfield-based indie folk-rock band The American Landscape, which recently performed at the IndieCraft musical festival.

“We’re excited to have them there,” Fitzsimmons says. “I think they’ll fit in perfectly.”

With about $100,000 raised the first year and more than $180,000 raised the second year, the organizers are hopeful to raise substantial dollars to support their missions again this year.

“What the rotary has been able to do is 10-fold what we were able to do in the past with our impact to local schools, the food pantry and the local non-profits within New Carlisle that reach out to us for assistance,” Niswonger says. “Stronger Together has just allowed us to do so much more. It’s given us a big boost to what we’ve been able to give back.”

The Barrett Strong Foundation uses a majority of the funds raised during Stronger Together to provide support for pediatric cancer research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Fitzsimmons says. The hospital uses the donations to help fund research and trials to work toward finding a cure for the disease, specifically for rare tumors similar to what Barrett had.

“We can’t do this event without our supporters and our table sponsors. The people who attend this event make it all possible, and we can’t thank them enough,” Fitzsimmons says.
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