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SCCAP mourns the death of Phyllis Trinkle Burkhart

The longest-serving executive director in the history of the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) died on the day the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Phyllis Trinkle Burkhart, Executive Director from 1979-1998, died early Thursday morning in Bloomington. Family members said she was planning to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration at SCCAP that evening.

Trinkle Burkhart oversaw many important developments, including expansion to Brown, Morgan and Owen counties, along with a name change from Monroe County Community Action Program to South Central Community Action Program in 1982, creation of a Family Self-Sufficiency Program in 1984 that received national acclaim, and planning and raising funds for construction of SCCAP's main office at 1500 W. 15th Street in Bloomington in 1992.

“In the 10 years I have been executive director, I have repeatedly heard wonderful stories about the advocacy for and empowerment of low-income people that Phyllis Trinkle made the hallmark of her time at SCCAP,” current SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “She oversaw some of the biggest growth years of the organization and helped steward the survival of the agency through times of political peril, when there were threats from the state and federal governments.  It could easily be said that no other person has had such a remarkable and sustained impact in the lives of so many low-income families in this region.  She was a force to be reckoned with for the causes she believed in, and we are all better for her efforts.”

At Thursday’s anniversary celebration, former colleague and long-time friend Evelyn Powers spoke passionately about Trinkle Burkhart’s remarkable contributions to SCCAP and the Bloomington community. 

Trinkle Burkhart was 81. Services will be held Tuesday evening at Allen Funeral Home, according to Trinkle Burkhart’s daughter, Gina Riggen, who said there will be an obituary with detailed information in Sunday's Herald-Times.

SCCAP is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for low-income citizens to move toward personal and economic independence. Its programs include Affordable Rental Housing, Energy Assistance and Education, Family Development, Growing Opportunities job training, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts, Section 8 Housing, Thriving Connections and Weatherization.