The Community Foundation recognized nonprofit organizations receiving competitive grants at its January 12 Community Impact Grant Awards reception. A total of $439,083 was awarded from the Foundation’s most recent competitive Community Impact Funding Initiative.
“We are so proud to share that this year’s 15 grants will impact more than 28 nonprofit agencies and organizations,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “By finding innovative and inspired ways to collaborate through projects and programs like these, our local nonprofit organizations are maximizing their impact and creating a better place for individuals and families to thrive in Bloomington and Monroe County.”
“These collaborative grants are examples of how local nonprofits are lifting up our community,” added Peterson.
Regularly, the Community Foundation entertains funding requests from 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies and tax-exempt organizations for projects and programs that benefit the citizens of Bloomington and Monroe County.
The Community Impact Funding Initiative is a competitive grant program designed to fuel innovative ideas and lasting impact in Monroe County through funding opportunities that meet our community’s most pressing needs and seize its most compelling opportunities. In recent years, the Community Foundation has defined specific priorities for this annual funding program, including mental health resiliency, housing security, community vibrancy, quality of place, and rapid COVID-19 response.
This year’s Community Impact Funding Initiative was designed to support a broad range of community needs such as arts and culture, social and health services, education, recreation, beautification and preservation, animal welfare, the environment, and community development. Priority in the evaluation of grant awards was given to projects that incorporate and embrace innovative or transformative solutions to critical community issues; collaboration across organizations and/or sectors to increase impact and effectiveness; and planning for long-term sustainability (when applicable).
Grants were awarded in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $439,083:
- Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (with Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Foundation serving as fiscal agent) to support the implementation of the Monroe County Economic Vitality Project. – Through this initiative, BEDC is convening input from partners and residents to develop a strategy for improving life in Monroe County in five specific focus areas: land use and infrastructure, housing, business and employment creation, workforce, and quality of life.
- Bloomington Refugee Support Network to assist newly arriving families with essential needs, including legal services and medical treatment. – The Refugee Support Network supports asylum seekers, refugees, and other displaced migrants who flee violence in their home countries. RSN helps families with a new start in Monroe County by providing clothing, food, shelter, medical services, school enrollment, transportation, and immigration advice.
- Catholic Charities Bloomington Counseling Services to fund 800 Child Therapy Program sessions at Fairview Elementary School. – This evidenced-based therapy program increases the accessibility of mental health care for children experiencing poverty, food and housing scarcity, and generational trauma. By decreasing family barriers such as travel or after-work appointments, this school-embedded program, combined with at-home techniques for parents, serves as a preventative tool to address trauma and prevent future cycles of poverty.
- Constellation Stage & Screen for operational expenses associated with the reopening of Waldron Arts Center. – Following the three-way merger of Bloomington Playwrights Project, Cardinal Stage, and Pigasus Pictures, Constellation launched its new business model and will utilize grant funds for the management, renovation, and the recent reopening of the Waldron Arts Center.
- Exodus Refugee Immigration for intensive case management services. – In October 2021, Exodus was approved by the U.S. State Department to open a resettlement site for refugees in Bloomington. Grant funding will support needs assessments, language translation services, and financial assistance for an estimated 20-50 refugees in 2023.
- Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools for developmental informed trauma training for up to 40 early childhood educators and administrators. – This grant will enable early educators at MCCSC, New Hope for Families, Monroe County United Ministries, and South Central Community Action Program to participate in trainings on trauma-informed practices, including triggers and how to manage them; the role of relationships and interventions in building resilience; and stress reduction strategies for children, families, and service providers. The outcome of these trainings will be the creation of trauma-informed learning environments that help children prepare for success in school.
- Girls Inc. for 60 girls ages 9-14 to participate in the SheLeads summer camp program. –This grant will fund camp activities, including scholarships for girls referred by the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). Through a series of challenges and activities that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold, camp participants work together to overcome gender stereotypes, take positive risks, and improve their confidence while focusing on goal setting and independence.
- Indiana Solar for All (Center for Sustainable Living serving as the fiscal agent) for the installation of eight solar arrays on low-income homes. – A volunteer-run project of the Center for Sustainable Living, Indiana Solar for All provides low-income homeowners with training, guidance, and the materials to install solar energy systems for their homes. This grant will fund solar systems for homeowners making 25%-80% of the Area’s Median Income to reduce their disproportionate energy cost burden while reducing the community’s carbon emissions.
- Lake Monroe Water Fund for water quality initiatives related to fertilizer management. – Phosphorus and nitrogen that wash into waterways from fertilizer runoff contribute to harmful algal blooms and oxygen-depleted water. Algal blooms in Lake Monroe have become more frequent in recent years. This project aims to reduce harmful nutrients flowing into Lake Monroe by partnering with the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) to provide professional soil health advice and free soil testing to landowners on up to 570 properties covering 570-5700 acres in the Lake Monroe watershed.
- Monroe County Court Appointed Special Advocates for the “Interrupting Racism for Children” training program for staff, board members, and volunteers that work with children. –Assessments and comprehensive training sessions will allow advocates to confront bias, individual racism, and institutional racism and empower them with tools to create outcomes where children thrive and race does not predict their life outcomes.
- Peoples Cooperative Market for the Sponsored Box Program for families served by Middle Way House, Pantry 279, and New Hope for Families. – A volunteer-run farmers’ market, People Cooperative Market promotes food justice for marginalized farmers and access to local food for socially vulnerable populations. Grant funding will be used to buy local nutrient-dense food, including produce, meat, eggs, dairy, and bread, for distribution to individuals and families who utilize pantries or shelters and are experiencing food insecurity.
- People and Animal Learning Services (PALS) for the Changing Leads program. – A partnership with Amethyst House and Centerstone, this grant will help provide equine-assisted adaptive group therapy to 20 individuals in treatment for substance use disorder. Through this program, participants develop a bond with horses, learn how to build trusting relationships, care for others, control impulses, and decrease stress and sadness.
- RoboBoosters for fabrication equipment, tools, and hardware. – RoboBoosters is supporting the transition of two school-based FIRST robotics teams (The Quandrangles & I.C.E. Robotics) to community-based teams. This grant will help to fund replacement equipment to set the teams up for a successful transition and inspire a passion for STEM in a wider audience of students in a new location, the Indiana University Luddy Multidisciplinary Engineering & Science Hall.
- Town of Ellettsville to help preserve a historic log cabin and relocate it from Vine Street to the Heritage Trail near the Ellettsville Town Hall. – Following its relocation, this donated 558-square-foot log cabin constructed in the 1880s will undergo restoration so that visitors can enter and learn about its history in the community.
- WFHB Community Radio for expenses associated with partnering with Limestone Post on a new weekly series called Deep Dive: WFHB and Limestone Investigate. – Grant funding will be used to conduct audience engagement workshops, reach underserved communities, and cover important local topics, including community health, housing, the environment, and local government.
This year’s community Impact Grants were awarded from the Community Foundation’s Unrestricted Endowment Fund, select field of interest and donor advice funds, and collaborative funding provided by Community Foundation partners, including the Smithville Charitable Foundation.
“We are grateful for our 10-year partnership between the Community Foundation and Smithville Charitable Foundation and the generosity of donors for entrusting us to invest in innovative programs and ideas that improve the quality of life for all who call Bloomington and Monroe County home,” added Peterson.
Competitive Grant Initiatives Since 2019
In addition to grants awarded as part of the 2022-2023 Community Impact Funding Initiative, the Community Foundation utilized its January 12 reception to recognize all of the agencies awarded competitive grants since 2020.
- In August 2022, the Foundation awarded $200,000 to six organizations as part of its Heading Home grant initiative. Read more.
- In December 2021, the Foundation awarded $154,000 to nine organizations as part of its Creating Community grant initiative. Read more.
- In November 2021, the Foundation awarded $150,000 to eight organizations as part of its Mental Health Resiliency grant initiative. Read more.
About Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County:
Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted more than $30 million since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $42 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources. For more information, visit www.cfbmc.org.