Tolson Center for Community Excellence

Latest Updates

CommUNITY Art Contest for TEENS

  Are you just as excited as we are? We know that we can't wait to get started and maybe you are thinking the same thing. Here are some important dates to remember and links to all the forms you will need to fill out. RIGHT NOW -- JULY 2, 2023: We are asking those who...
Steel Going Up

Building Update: Steel is Going Up!

You can begin to see the structure of our new community center rising out of the ground. Blue sky and clear grounds allows construction workers to move quickly. Steel arrived on the Tolson site the first full week of February and within a two weeks time most of the steel is up and in place.

Financial Advisor with a client

Financial Empowerment Sessions

We are very excited to announce that the Tolson Center for Community Excellence is once again partnering with INOVA in 2023 to provide financial empowerment services to our community. The sessions will no longer be held in a group setting but move to being 1-on-1 sessions.

2022 Annual Report

It has been a year of milestones. We are beginning to see our dreams and visions come into fruition as we have begun the lay the (figurative and literal) groundwork for the new Tolson Center for Community Excellence.

Giving Tuesday - Thank You!

Giving Tuesday 2022

It is said that “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” As we survey all that has happened in the last few months, and the last few years, we are filled with both joy and gratitude. One week past this year’s Giving Tuesday, and as we look ahead to the end of the year and the various celebrations that lie ahead, we just want to say thank you.

Financial Wellness Workshop

Financial Wellness workshops will be held every Tuesday from 4pm-5pm starting October 18th at the Historic Roosevelt Center here in Elkhart. These workshops are brought to you by Inova Federal Credit Union. Each participant will be entered to win a gas card or a Martins gift card.

Lois Mason

Introducing Lois Mason

The board of the Tolson Center for Community Excellence announced Monday, October 10, 2022, the hiring of Lois Mason, as executive assistant. She is the second full-time staff member of the Tolson Center for Community Excellence. Tolson’s Executive Director, Breanna Allen, Ed.D., was appointed in March 2022.

A peek inside

Building Update: A Peek Inside

It has been an absolute joy to work with Meticulous. In the early phases of their concept development, they provided the following executive summary in envisioning the New Tolson Center for Community Excellence. “We understand the Tolson Center for Community Excellence is a fully encompassing community center for all ages, youth to senior, and should reflect an authentic yet elevated architectural look respective of the community.”

Building Update: Fundraising

The reality of a new building of this size and scope is that we will be relying on the generosity of the City of Elkhart, private investors and all of our community. As an independent organization from the city, we have fundraising and capital campaigns in the works to ensure that we’re broadening our financial foundation.

Building Update: Regarding the Gym

With any major construction project, there is a lot to consider and people have a lot of questions. We intend to live into our high value for transparency and want to address some of the questions that have been voiced in our community.

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Past, Present, and Future

The Tolson Center for Community Excellence builds off the foundation established by Herbert and Ruth Tolson and carried forward by the City of Elkhart for decades. A true community partnership—built on the feedback from residents—is creating a revitalized Tolson Center rooted in South Central Elkhart, reaching across generations and cultures to serve all of the Elkhart community and beyond.


Holistic growth through intergenerational interaction


Accessibility and service for all bodies and minds


Good stewardship of human, financial and ecological assets


Integrity and safekeeping across all operations


Responsible engagement through leadership and participation


Respect for legacy in the center’s history and contributions

A New Era

A soccer ball in the foreground and numerous people in the background on a field at dusk.


The Tolson Center for Community Excellence empowers lives through inclusive learning, recreation and cultural exchange, opening doors to bright futures.


The Tolson Center for Community Excellence will be a centerpiece for an enlivened South Central Elkhart, a premier destination for neighbors near and far, and a pathway to equity and opportunity for all.

What about programming between now and the new facility opening?

The Tolson Center is being operated by the City of Elkhart Parks and Recreation Department through early 2022. In 2022, Tolson will close for construction for about a year and a half. At that time the Parks and Recreation Department plans to continue programming in nearby facilities, through community partnerships to continue to positively impact the local community.


Board Information

The Tolson Board has been hard at work for over a year. We have a very capable board that brings a lot of perspectives. Committees include: Governance, Executive, Finance & Audit, Building & Park Design, Program Priorities, External Communications, Senior Leadership Search Taskforce, and a Fundraising Committee.

The board meeting together at the Elkhart Health and Aquatic Center

Answers to Your Questions

When does Tolson break ground?

Work is ongoing on a new leadership and financing structure. Construction is scheduled to begin mid-2022. Our collective patience will be rewarded as a remarkable new chapter for Tolson will be unveiled in 2023.

What services will Tolson have in 2023?

We are in conversation with various partner organizations who will help us deliver excellent programming for all ages. Specific program decisions will be made by Tolson staff closer to the opening of the new facility.

Who is on the staff leadership team?

Following the hiring of our new Executive Director, Breanna Allen, we will continue our process to hire additional Tolson staff leadership. We anticipate that throughout 2022 a variety of staff positions will become available.

Why a whole new building?

The new building will double the square footage, have two gyms, as well as independent spaces for inclusive learning, recreation, and cultural exchange. Learn More.


Tolson Center for Community Excellence
1320 Benham Ave
Elkhart, IN 46516

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