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Mountain Outreach receives $1 million endowment to build homes in Appalachia


Pictured L to R: The home recipients, Dr. Trout, Sandra Trout, Dinah Taylor and Dr. Jim Taylor.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Dr. and Mrs. Monroe Trout announced a million dollar endowment Tuesday for University of the Cumberlands' Mountain Outreach program at a dedication service held at a new home in Whitley County. The house was built during the summer by Mountain Outreach student volunteers due to the Trouts’ financial support.

"There are no words to express our profound and personal appreciation," said Dr. Jim Taylor, president of University of the Cumberlands.

The endowment will be used to build one house every year, with the remainder going to the University of the Cumberlands' Trout Scholars Fund. The Trouts dedicated the endowment to the honor of Jim and Dinah Taylor, as well as Dr. Trout's high school Latin, English, math and gym teachers, without whom, Trout said, "I would never have gone on to college."

When referring to the Taylors’ generosity, Dr. Trout said, "Jim and Dinah have devoted their lives to helping the less fortunate people of Appalachia; and without them, Mountain Outreach would not be possible." The Trouts gave the home recipients an original mountain landscape oil painting, which Dr. Trout painted especially for the family, as well as a check for one thousand dollars so that, Dr. Trout said, "the little ones can have something in the house."

Since the program's start in 1982, Mountain Outreach has constructed 123 homes for members of the surrounding communities. The ministry also distributes donated clothing and household items for those in need.

"Mountain Outreach is not a handout but a hand up," said Marc Hensley, Mountain Outreach director. "The family members work alongside Mountain Outreach volunteers and students to complete every home we build. We want recipients to have pride in what is being done for them, and we want them to have a stake in the process and appreciate the work and dedication it takes to build these homes."

Helping his fellow man

Monroe and Sandra Trout are no strangers to unselfish giving. They were named the 2004 Knoxville Philanthropists of the Year and have been generously supporting Mountain Outreach since 1990.

Dr. Trout himself had humble beginnings. He was one of fourteen children; and while he was growing up during the Great Depression, his father was out of work. "I remember very vividly when I was five years old, standing in line to get enough cornmeal to make mush," said Trout.

"There is no shame in being poor," Dr. Trout said. "There is shame, however, in being rich and not trying to help your fellow man and make this world a better place to live in."

Dr. Trout is a former member of the boards of directors of the Baptist Hospital Foundation and the East Tennessee Historical Society and was also the vice president of finance for Knoxville Symphony.

Sandra Trout is the former president of the Guild of the Knoxville Museum of Art and recently resigned from the Community School of the Arts. She is a member of the board of advisors of the University of Tennessee School of Music and a member of the boards of directors of the Knoxville Opera Guild. She also was once a member of the Knoxville Symphony Guild.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 117th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, as well as online and accelerated, nontraditional programs for adults.