Donor Spotlight: Warren Cutshall

Warren Cutshall founded the William D. Cutshall Memorial Fund to honor his father. Warren shares his father’s legacy and the impact this donor-advised fund continues to have on his family and community.

Warren Cutshall’s father, William, demonstrated generosity throughout his life. Growing up, Warren learned from his dad’s example, and today, he is ensuring that William’s impact is still being felt and will be for generations to come.

Warren grew up in Bloomington after his father moved the family here to practice medicine. William Cutshall played a key role in establishing Cook Family Health Clinic, which serves Cook Group companies’ employees, spouses, and dependents. As a doctor, William found innumerable ways to care for others locally and abroad.

The Cutshall family traveled for medical mission trips each year to volunteer their time and William’s medical expertise. The family often traveled to various locations, including Haiti and destinations in the South Pacific, where William could transport medical supplies and offer clinical care to those in need. Warren was deeply connected to his father from a young age through their love of travel, adventure, and serving others.

William Cutshall’s legacy is a story of generosity, authenticity, and service. Warren shares, “My dad was always a generous man. If you saw something on his kitchen counter and commented that you liked it, he would give it to you. He was just that way. When patients had a tough time paying, my dad would work pro bono or accept what they could give. One time, a patient gave him a donkey as payment, while others just gave him things like food because they liked him.”

During high school, Warren became fascinated with learning the Chinese language, which led him to Georgetown University’s renowned Chinese Program. After graduation, Warren worked in New York for a stint before realizing he wanted to continue his education and career in corporate law in Bloomington, where he reconnected with his future wife, Lara. Lara and Warren launched their long-time careers, permanently anchoring their family in Bloomington, when Lara began working as an attorney for Bunger & Robertson, and Warren started his work as an in-house counsel for Miller Real Estate LLC.

In December 2005, when Warren’s dad, William Cutshall, passed away, the family decided to create a fund in his memory: “At the time of my dad’s death, the donor-advised fund enabled family and friends to make donations to honor him. My wife’s coworker, Peggy Frisbie, another attorney, recommended setting up a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation. We pretty easily found a great structure for our charitable giving that was the best fit for our family. The Community Foundation can accommodate all shapes and sizes, and their experienced staff can help you find the right answers to your questions.”

A donor-advised fund allows donors to play an active role in their grantmaking while leveraging Community Foundation expertise. Warren shared the advantages experienced over the past 17 years: “Having the ability to make recommendations as the community needs change, or as our giving priorities shift, is one of the huge benefits. With a donor-advised fund, you can specifically make recommendations about what you support as an individual or family. Our community has always had needs; they just change over time.”

Today, Warren and Lara’s family includes three children: Carter (age 17), Helena (age 15), and Fionn (age 13), and two precious dogs, George and Gus. The close-knit Cutshall family continues to invest in one another’s lives, furthering their family story here in Monroe County.

Warren comments on Bloomington’s importance to their family: “My wife and I grew up in Bloomington, so we love supporting our community. Along with us, our children and parents are still a part of this community. We passionately care about the causes in our community and the people around us getting the support they need.”

Warren shares how the William D. Cutshall Memorial Fund has impacted his family, saying: “The memorial fund is one point of connection among the generations. My mom is a big part of our family. My kids didn’t know my dad, but they can get involved by contributing to the fund or providing distribution suggestions. I think anybody can make an impact, no matter how small or big of a financial role they can play. My wife, family, and I have a long-term commitment to this community. You do what you can every year and continue to improve year after year. Creating community impact is an ongoing process.”

The Cutshall family was and continues to be deeply rooted in philanthropic giving and serving throughout Monroe County. Warren seeks to pass on these values to his family, sharing: “Hopefully, generations after us are learning through examples of good parents and grandparents. Those fortunate enough should give back to the community because we are all connected. I feel as though I have given my kids strong values and areas of being connected to the community. My kids have learned many different ways to volunteer and give back in non-financial ways through their mother, too. For every person, there are many ways to give; the will to do it is the most important thing.”

The William D. Cutshall Memorial Fund has grown to be a powerful vehicle of impact in the community by distributing grants to meet pressing needs while continuing to tell the story of William’s life and legacy. As Warren looks to the future and purpose of this fund, he said: “I still meet new people that tell me that my dad changed their life or saved their life. My dad was a character, but at the end of the day, he was a generous person and made a difference. Through charitable giving, I would love to continue changing people’s lives like he did. This fund will continue making a difference and meet our community’s needs while creating more impact in the areas that need it the most.”

Photos: Ellettsville Cabin Relocation

The Community Foundation awarded an Impact Grant to the Town of Ellettsville earlier this year to help make the move possible! 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.

Did you see the cabin being moved in Ellettsville this week from Vine Street to its new home near Town Hall?

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County awarded an Impact Grant to the Town of Ellettsville earlier this year to help make the move possible! 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. Stay tuned for updates on the cabin!

Semifinalists Announced for Monroe County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships

The Community Foundation has announced that 21 high school seniors have been selected as semifinalists for the 2024 Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. Congratulations to these exceptional students!

Twenty-one high school seniors selected from seven area schools as semifinalists for Monroe County’s two 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (CFBMC) has announced that 21 high school seniors have been selected as semifinalists for the 2024 Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. Congratulations to these exceptional students:

  • Leanne Anirudhan, Harmony School
  • Mary Brunner, Seven Oaks Classical School
  • Teagen Bullock, Bloomington High School South
  • Annalise Coyne, Bloomington High School South
  • Dominic D’Onofrio, Bloomington High School North
  • Kyle Davis, Bloomington High School South
  • William Foley, Bloomington High School North
  • Andrew Good, Edgewood High School
  • Teagan Hanna, Bloomington High School North
  • Amara Hanson, Edgewood High School
  • Nathanael Huck, Lighthouse Christian Academy
  • Graylie McCanse, Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship
  • Deep Patel, Edgewood High School
  • Ingrid Pendergast, Bloomington High School North
  • Anson Reynolds, Bloomington High School South
  • Noah Smith, Bloomington High School North
  • Dylan Stegemoller, Bloomington High School North
  • Dylan Stringer, Bloomington High School South
  • Lucy Tait, Bloomington High School South
  • Joshua Tait, Bloomington High School South
  • Layla Vamos, Bloomington High School North

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program (LECSP) will provide 147 scholarships statewide and two scholarships in Monroe County. LECSP scholarships may be used for otherwise unreimbursed full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year. The special allocation may cover the costs for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

The program is administered statewide by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and locally in Monroe County through the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Monroe County’s semifinalists were selected from among 143 applications submitted by students from seven of the ten high schools that serve Monroe County students. Eligible schools include The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Covenant Christian School, Bloomington Graduation School, Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, Edgewood High School, Harmony School, Indiana Academy for Science Mathematics & Humanities, Lighthouse Christian Academy, and Seven Oaks Classical School.

Evaluation Process for Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships:

Applications are blindly reviewed and independently scored by members of a Lilly Scholarship committee at each Monroe County high school to identify semifinalists. The number of semifinalists identified is determined by each school’s senior class size.

Next, semifinalists submit additional content and references from schools and other members of the community. The Community Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee then evaluates the semifinalist applications. This committee, comprised of community members and former Monroe County Lilly Scholars, blindly reviews and scores applications from the semifinalists to select ten finalists. In October, each finalist will be interviewed, and their interview scores will be combined with scoring from the written applications. In selecting recipients for the Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, consideration is given to student activities and achievements, community and civic service, academic performance, and leadership potential.

The finalists’ rankings, along with the committee’s recommendations for scholarship nominees, are then submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. for final selection of scholarship recipients for Monroe County prior to the formal announcement in December.

“This year’s applicants are a group of remarkable high school seniors, who are excelling as leaders in their schools and in our community,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Tina Peterson. “We are proud that they are all interested in pursuing their post-secondary education at one of Indiana’s world-class higher education institutions. We look forward to getting to know each of the semifinalists better and hope all of this year’s applicants will elect to not only stay in Indiana for post-secondary education but will also choose to make Indiana home upon graduation.”

Lilly Endowment initially established LECSP for the 1997-98 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships since the program’s inception.

The primary purposes of LECSP are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

For more information on the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program or other scholarships administered by CFBMC, visit https://www.cfbmc.org/lasting-impact/apply-for-a-scholarship/ or contact Marcus Whited, Program Director, at 812-333-9016 or [email protected].

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 $30 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $44 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indiana has administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates. 

Donor Spotlight: Peggy Frisbie

Peggy Frisbie shares her journey as a fund founder, estate planning attorney, and former Board Member with unique perspectives you won’t want to miss.

From the beginning of her career, Peggy Frisbie knew she wanted to give back to her community and encourage others to do the same. In 2021, she retired after a dedicated 38-year career as a caring and knowledgeable estate planning attorney and as legal counsel to charitable organizations and other nonprofits.

Along the way, Peggy became involved with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.  

Her journey to becoming one of the Foundation’s strongest advocates began in her 20s. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism, and reporting for several newspapers, Peggy became head of publications and public relations for Centre College in Kentucky. Her interest in charitable giving developed there as she worked to support the college’s efforts to increase donor support.

When Peggy decided to pursue law school, she knew she wanted to help serve various needs in the charitable giving world, from helping individuals and families to consider giving in their estate planning, to helping visionary community leaders start and grow charitable, nonprofit organizations that could turn their visions into reality.

After completing her J.D. at the University of Kentucky Law School, Peggy returned to her hometown of Chicago with her husband, Richard Frisbie, and joined the estate planning practice group of Sidley Austin, a major international law firm. While there, she was engaged in planning for individuals and families with significant wealth and, importantly, also developed expertise in the law of charitable giving and nonprofit organizations. 

The Frisbie family moved to Bloomington a few years later, and Peggy subsequently began working for Bunger & Robertson. In her 29 years with this Bloomington law firm, Peggy has impacted individuals and organizations in Bloomington and the surrounding counties for generations through her work in planning for their estates, retirement needs, asset transfers, charitable giving, business transitions, and more. 

While working at Bunger & Robertson, Peggy soon became aware of the Community Foundation and its mission. Her involvement as a volunteer began with service on the Community Foundation’s grants committee for two years. She then became a member of the Board of Directors for ten years, beginning in 2010, and ultimately served as Chair of the Board from 2016-2018.

During these years, Peggy also served on the development committee, executive committee, and finance committee. She helped with the creation of the Professional Advisors Council, which connects legal professionals engaged in estate and trust planning, financial advising, and charitable giving with the Foundation. Peggy also helped initiate the Foundation’s Charitable Gift Annuities program, which provides a powerful giving vehicle for community members to create an impact. 

Peggy reflected on the progress she witnessed, saying: “The Community Foundation has matured not only to the point that I thought it should be but beyond that. During my time, we have had two Lilly Endowment matching campaigns, the creation of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, and the launch of the Impact Investing program. The Foundation is a model for other community foundations in its stewardship of its gifted assets and leadership of collaborative community initiatives. The Community Foundation has far exceeded my original hopes.” 

After a few years with the Community Foundation, Peggy and Richard decided to start their own fund in 2015. Peggy and Richard agreed that they wanted to open an unrestricted endowment fund named the Frisbie Family Fund.

Peggy discusses their decision: “One thing that I’ve seen within organizations is a need for unrestricted dollars. We’re talking about a fund that is endowed, something going into perpetuity, meaning it can flex with the times. In my roles here and back in Chicago, I have seen situations in which the charity can no longer use an endowed fund because of the donor’s restrictions on those dollars. I wanted my fund to be unrestricted because I have seen the need for organizations to have flexibility firsthand. Unrestricted funds, for me, are critical for a strong nonprofit.” 

Choosing to create an unrestricted endowment fund means the Frisbie Family Fund will be used by the Community Foundation for a wide array of grantmaking to address Monroe County’s pressing needs, with the flexibility to seize compelling opportunities, both now and forever.

In a few short years, the Frisbie Family Fund has granted out more than the original investment that Peggy and Richard made. “My heart is here in Bloomington,” Peggy said. “My view is that the impact of our dollars is so much greater here than it might be if we were to support a similar charitable interest at a national level or elsewhere. The Community Foundation reaches people who are right here.”

In addition to establishing their fund, Peggy made a planned gift by naming the Foundation as a beneficiary of her retirement plan. Her planned gift will create another endowment fund to provide mental health services in our community, a cause she feels is critical to the well-being of our residents.

As someone with over 30 years of experience in legal counseling for and about charitable giving, Peggy is still very passionate about sharing easy ways to give back to others. “There are simple ways to benefit our community through the Community Foundation, such as naming the Foundation as beneficiary of a portion of your estate, retirement account, or life insurance,” she said. “Any of us can also consider making qualified charitable distributions each year from IRAs, creating a charitable gift annuity, or making gifts of stock or other assets. These gifts can fund your own unrestricted named fund, a fund dedicated to the cause you care about, or a fund for which you be advising on its use. All of these are more straightforward than you might think.” 

While contemplating how her work with the Community Foundation changed her experience as a Bloomington resident, Peggy shared, “I am not only so much more aware of community issues and needs but also the people involved in them. Sometimes, it’s not in the headlines. I am more aware of what is going on behind the scenes to resolve these issues, especially issues like the needs of low-income families, affordable housing, and mental health challenges. It takes time to achieve impact, and the Community Foundation is operating on that long-term vision.” 

Peggy summarizes why she supports the Community Foundation’s work and mission: “I have always loved the fact that the Community Foundation can be a repository for dollars that can do good works in perpetuity. The Foundation consistently has had community members devoted to Monroe County as stewards for these funds. We’re going on 32 years for the Community Foundation, and the very first dollars from its founding are there and working. Let’s continue building this good work for many years to come.” 

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship application now open for Monroe County high school seniors

The 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship application is now available in Monroe County through the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Deadline to apply: August 14, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship application is now available in Monroe County through the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program (LECSP) will provide 147 scholarships statewide and two scholarships in Monroe County. 

LECSP scholarships may be used for otherwise unreimbursed full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year. The special allocation may cover the costs for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

The program, administered statewide by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and locally in Monroe County through the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, is open to all Indiana residents who:

  • graduate from an accredited Indiana high school by 2024 and receive their diploma no later than June 30, 2024;
  • intend to pursue a full-time baccalaureate course of study at an eligible college or university in Indiana; and
  • meet the criteria specific to their local community foundation.

Students can learn more about the application criteria for Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in Monroe County and apply for this scholarship by visiting https://cfbmc.org/lasting-impact/apply-for-a-scholarship/lilly-scholarship/. Applications must be completed and submitted by August 14, 2023, to be considered.

In September, students selected as semifinalists in Monroe County will be invited to answer additional application questions and provide reference recommendations from teachers or others. Applications for the finalist round will be due by September 21, 2023. Finalists will be identified and interviewed in October, and the names of the two 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars for Monroe County will be submitted to ICI for final selection of the recipients. Scholarship recipients will be notified in December, 2023.

Eligibility Requirements for Monroe County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships:

  • Applicant must be a resident of Monroe County, Indiana.
  • Applicant must be currently attending or have attended an accredited Monroe County high school and/or the Indiana Academy (in Delaware County) for at least three consecutive years (including senior year) and graduate by June of 2024. Eligible schools include The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Covenant Christian School, Bloomington Graduation School, Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, Edgewood High School, Harmony School, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics & Humanities, Lighthouse Christian Academy, and Seven Oaks Classical School.
  • Applicant must have a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or above (on a weighted four-point scale) through the end of their junior year and plan to pursue a full-time baccalaureate course of study at an Indiana college or university beginning in the Fall of 2024.
  • Applicants must be available to participate in an interview with the selection committee on an evening in October if selected as a finalist for the scholarship.

Evaluation Process for Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships:

Applications are blindly reviewed and independently scored by members of a Lilly Scholarship committee at each Monroe County high school to identify semifinalists. The number of semifinalists identified is determined by each school’s senior class size.

Next, semifinalists submit additional content and references from schools and other members of the community. The Community Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee then evaluates the semifinalist applications. This committee, comprised of community members and former Monroe County Lilly Scholars, blindly reviews and scores applications from the semifinalists to select ten finalists. In October, each finalist will be interviewed, and their interview scores are combined with scoring from the written applications. In selecting recipients for the Monroe County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, consideration is given to student activities and achievements, community and civic service, academic performance, and leadership potential.

The finalists’ rankings, along with the committee’s recommendations for scholarship nominees, are then submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. for final selection of scholarship recipients for Monroe County prior to the formal announcement in December.

“The opportunity afforded high school seniors by the Lilly Endowment and Independent Colleges of Indiana is unique in its focus on encouraging Indiana’s young people to choose Indiana for their post-secondary education,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Tina Peterson. “By giving students the option to attend any accredited four-year college or university across the state, it allows students to broaden their experiences but also keeps them in Indiana, increasing the likelihood they choose Indiana for the next step in their professional journey. It’s a win-win for students and for our communities.”

Lilly Endowment created LECSP for the 1997-98 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships since the program’s inception.

The primary purposes of LECSP are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

For more information on the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program or other scholarships administered by CFBMC, visit https://www.cfbmc.org/lasting-impact/apply-for-a-scholarship/ or contact Marcus Whited, Program Director, at 812-333-9016 or [email protected].

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 $28.9 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $44 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indiana has administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates. 

Congratulations to CFBMC’s 2023 scholarship recipients

Thanks to the generosity of donors, 24 scholarships were awarded this year to allow students to pursue educational endeavors, develop their unique potential, and enhance their ability to contribute to our community and society as citizens!

Thanks to the generosity of donors, 24 scholarships were awarded this year to allow students to pursue educational endeavors, develop their unique potential, and enhance their ability to contribute to our community and society as citizens! Learn more about the Community Foundation’s educational scholarships.

A Good News Update: Protecting, Sustaining, Growing – Together

Thanks to your generosity, the Community Foundation is impacting local environmental care and sustainability in Monroe County. The following sections highlight recent environmentally-focused Community Impact Grants and Funds.

By Mary Anne Sterling
Special Contributor and Community Foundation Stewardship Committee Member

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson

Early environmentalist Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of the 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, was best known for her national conservation and beautification efforts. From clean lakes, rivers, streams, and streets to clean air, preserving our parks, trails, and wilderness areas, and providing safe waste disposal, she worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the importance of our environment in our daily lives. Her quote is the inspiration for our Spring Good News Update. 

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Community Foundation is impacting local environmental care and sustainability in Monroe County. The following sections highlight recent environmentally-focused Community Impact Grants and Funds. 

Preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” -Carl Sagan

Sycamore Land Trust

Sycamore Land Trust has protected land, restored habitat, and connected people to nature since 1990. Founded by volunteers, the nonprofit conservation organization owns and cares for more than 11,000 acres today across 17 counties in Southern Indiana and maintains more than 30 miles of hiking trails on 13 preserves – all of which are available to the public to enjoy for free. We spoke to Ann Connors, Development Director, to learn more about the organization’s conservation and environmental endeavors.

“Our mission,” Ann says, is to “preserve the beauty, health, and diversity of southern Indiana’s natural landscape through strategic land conservation and environmental education.” The organization is committed to multi-generational education, access to nature, and sustaining the quality of life in our region.

The Community Foundation “has been a strategic partner with us since 2001,” Ann says. “The staff’s guidance, encouragement, and funding — for everything from operating expenses and land acquisition to stewardship and environmental education programs for schools — has supported every aspect of our evolution. They also hold several of our Funds, including the Stewardship Endowment Fund and Monarch EnvironmentalEducation Fund,” she said.

The recent Creating Communities grant from the Community Foundation supported a project at the 68-acre Powell Preserve along Beanblossom Creek. “It enables us to restore and stabilize the stream banks, protect the access trail from erosion, and increase water quality,” said Ann. It also will enhance the visitor experience by expanding the parking lot, installing a welcome kiosk, completing a major trail expansion, and providing environmental education programs.

“Our assets are a wonderful source of comfort during times of stress,” added Ann. “This was especially evident during the pandemic when people sought solace in nature or gathered with friends and family at our many preserves to hike, picnic, and take photos. We all have a stake in our future, and we all benefit from our natural surroundings in different ways.”

Learn more about Sycamore Land Trust at www.sycamorelandtrust.org.

Lake Monroe Water Fund

Lake Monroe, with a 276,000-acre watershed, is the sole water source for 128,000 people in Monroe County and a supplemental source for Brown County. Lake Monroe Water Fund (LMWF) was incorporated in 2021 as the first water fund in Indiana enabled by The Nature Conservancy. Its purpose is to be a financing source for mitigating threats to the water quality of Lake Monroe from sedimentation, nutrient runoff, and 9,000+ septic systems, many old and poorly maintained.

LMWF Executive Director Michelle Cohen explained that three areas are critical for water quality in the Lake Monroe Watershed: agriculture, land management, and failing septic systems. LWMF aims to raise awareness of the issues that negatively impact the environment and help avoid runoff into the lake.

“Our relationship with the Community Foundation is vital to our future. The funding is fantastic, but the institutional knowledge they have to share and the relationships and community connections they have built are invaluable to us,” she says.

The Impact Grant from the Community Foundation has two components: capacity-building resources and soil testing. “The support has been a big boost for us, as we are a young organization that needs to build our capacity. The grant has made available valuable technical training to understand the science behind what we’re trying to protect and will allow us to develop our first strategic plan.”

The soil testing component is equally important. “It encompasses a robust public education program and free soil testing for households that want to be more responsible and knowledgeable about how their choices impact the environment.”

Visit www.lakemonroewaterfund.org to learn how you can help or donate.

CanopyBloomington

CanopyBloomington was created to maximize Bloomington’s tree canopy and sustainably manage the urban forest that provides many environmental, health, and social benefits. With a focus on community engagement, CanopyBloomington’s Youth Tree Tenders program trains and educates high school students—who are paid for their efforts—about the benefits of trees and how to care for them.

This experience enables teens to apply that knowledge in the field through tree planting and maintenance efforts. Along with the City of Bloomington’s Green Work Development, CanopyBloomington contributes to a larger professional development program that provides meaningful, decent-paying jobs for youth in need while fostering interest in environmental careers.

The program targets areas that lack canopy cover while improving care of existing trees and planting new trees.

Learn more about CanopyBloomington and ways you can help at www.canopybloomington.org.

Friends of Lake Monroe

Another beneficiary of a Community Foundation Impact Grant is Friends of Lake Monroe (FLM), created to support water quality and sustainable recreation in Southern Indiana’s Lake Monroe.

Thanks to the Foundation’s Impact Grant, FLM is implementing a watershed management plan with the oversight and cooperation of a 25-member, three-county, multi-agency steering committee. The project focuses on expanding community knowledge and support of the plan while implementing a pilot septic assistance program. FLM will develop educational materials, organize community forums in Nashville and Bloomington, conduct a three-county forum for local decision-makers, and participate in local events to engage Lake Monroe communities with the plan.

Protecting Lake Monroe is a long-term endeavor. For it to be successful, it will be vital to engage residents, visitors, businesses, and government in implementing the plan.

To learn more, visit www.friendsoflakemonroe.org.

Indiana Solar for All

“Utility rates are rising and are now twice as expensive as they were just a decade ago, placing a disproportionate financial burden on low-income households,” says Anne Hedin, Communications Manager for Indiana Solar for All (ISFA).

Founded in 2018, ISFA is a volunteer-run project of the Center for Sustainable Living. ISFA volunteers provide qualified low-income homeowners with training, guidance, and the materials to install solar energy systems for their own homes. It is the first program of its kind in Indiana.

A Community Foundation grant has enabled ISFA to increase the number of annual home installations dramatically, she explained. “In addition to the grant, the Community Foundation recruited an anonymous donor, enabling us to scale our operation. The funding covers the cost for materials to equip an additional eight homes; so, this will be a record year of 12 installations for us,” she added.

The households chosen for the solar systems pay a disproportionate amount of their income for energy and are among the most vulnerable to rate increases. They are also the least able to afford a solar system and typically can’t qualify for the federal tax credit.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Community Foundation and donors. You are helping us achieve our mission to accelerate the adoption of rooftop solar to all households in Indiana while making it affordable to those who need it most,” Anne added.

Learn more about ISFA by visiting www.insfa.org.

Lake Lemon Enhancement Fund

The Lake Lemon Conservancy District (LLCD) is also working to ensure the sustainability of a beloved natural asset. To do this, LLCD established the Lake Lemon Enhancement Fund at the Community Foundation, which will enhance and preserve the lake for years to come. Current sustainability issues include sedimentation, water quality, aquatic vegetation control, shoreline erosion control, and wildlife management.

Visit www.lakelemon.org to learn more or make a donation to the Lake Lemon Enhancement Fund on the Community Foundation’s website.

Donor Spotlight: Herb and Angie Caldwell

“This is the community where I grew up. Even when I wasn’t living in Bloomington, Angie and I would talk and dream of the day that we could return. Now that we’re home, we are committed to doing our part to better Bloomington.”

Monroe County was never far from Herb and Angie Caldwell’s hearts, even when their home was.

Herb and Angie Caldwell first met while studying at Indiana University, where they fell in love and later married at IU’s very own Beck Chapel. In 1987, they moved to Chicago for a job opportunity, and the couple stayed there for several years. During this time, Herb worked with a Michigan community foundation to support a revitalization project. Herb commented on this time, stating, “Watching how a Foundation worked to bring nonprofits in the community together to see their commonality and to bridge future collaborations became my first experience with the work in which a community foundation engages.”

During their time away, Herb and Angie maintained connections with friends from Bloomington. So, when a friend encouraged Herb to apply for a job opportunity with the Kelly School of Business, they knew it was time to return home. Together, the couple has made the perfect home in Bloomington, where they take their dogs for long walks or bike to work.

Today, Herb works as an Investment Operations Manager at the IU Foundation. Angela is a jewelry designer and teaches metalsmithing and jewelry at the IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design.

Herb and Angie still stroll by Beck Chapel, a precious piece of their love story, with their two beloved dogs.

Herb recounts their frequent walks, sharing, “It’s cool to look back and realize I was studying here 30 years ago. There’s still a lot here that I remember from my time as a student at IU. Of course, they tweak things a bit here and there, but for the most part, the community remains timeless.”

Herb continues to be an active community member through local organizations. Herb has a reputation for knowing the community well enough to recognize and address its needs. It made sense that Brian Yeley, President of the Community Foundation Board and a friend of Herb’s, reached out in 2018 to recruit him as a board member for the Community Foundation. “Brian said to me, ‘Herb, you’re always out and about,’” Herb laughed while continuing, “You’re pretty into the community here. You should join the board at the Community Foundation.”

“This is the community where I grew up. Even when I wasn’t living in Bloomington, Angie and I would talk and dream of the day that we could return. Now that we’re home, we are committed to doing our part to better Bloomington.”

As they got more involved with the Community Foundation, Herb and Angie knew that they wanted to open a fund through the Foundation. The Caldwells chose to establish an unrestricted endowed fund over other fund options to serve the ever-shifting, always-pressing needs of the community. Herb shared that their motivation to start an unrestricted fund stemmed from a strong desire to invest in Bloomington, saying, “Putting dollars back into the community in which you live is important. For those of us who are fortunate and can give back, we should give back and be generous.”

Herb explained his unique perspective on the Herbert and Angela Caldwell Community Endowment Fund, “I have experienced the impact of unrestricted dollars during my time as a development officer at IU in fundraising roles.”

“Throughout my time, I often met with donors wanting to establish a scholarship; we would talk about making it unrestricted, but usually, the donor would have a specific requirement they wanted the applicant to fit. Their hearts were always in the right place, but when it was too restricted, their money might sit dormant. Whereas, if unrestricted, it can always be utilized, no matter what, because there will always be immediate needs. Sometimes, nonprofits have to shift their focus, so what do you do when you need to change how you deliver your services for the greater good? Things like pandemics happen, and we all know that now. We need unrestricted funds to help us in those times as we adapt.”

Herb and Angie continue to be passionate about supporting Bloomington as seasons shift, needs emerge, and services transform.

Herb continues to live up to his reputation as an engaged member of the community by learning more about the nonprofit environment, supporting organizations like Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and WFHB Community Radio, and passionately collaborating for social issues such as food security, affordable transportation, affordable housing, education, and job opportunities.  

The Herb and Angela Caldwell Community Endowment Fund is living up to their vision as well. Their fund is invested for long-term sustainability, growing each year into a more impactful tool to improve Monroe County.

Herb offers advice to others considering funds to improve the community: “Do it. Jump in. Contribute. Be a part of the solution. Your future family will proudly recall the decisions you’ve made and still be able to see the community benefit from a fund you started years ago. It’s a way to leave a lasting legacy.”

Apply Now for the Dance & Movement Grant Initiative

Grant opportunity for community-based, non-profit programs and organizations that promote the art of dance in various forms. Apply by May 15, 2023.

Through the Dance & Movement Grant Initiative funded by the Marina Svetlova Fund for Dance, the Foundation seeks to provide support for community-based, non-profit programs and organizations that promote the art of dance in various forms. Priority programs will be those that support ballet or contemporary dance as well as those that provide dance or movement opportunities, especially for youth, seniors, or disabled persons.

Examples of eligible grants include but are not limited to: education, instruction, choreography, performance, capital expenses for facilities and equipment, funding for performance or instruction space, funding for guest instructors and performers, programs that promote movement and dance for those with disabilities, and opportunities for the community to experience dance from world cultures. 

Hurry! Grant Applications due May 15, 2023.

Born to Russian parents, Marina Svetlova (1922-2009) was a French and American ballerina. In addition to her accomplished dancing career, Svetlova was also a teacher and choreographer. Svetlova joined the IU School of Music and its Ballet Department in 1970 and was named department chair later that year, a role she held until her retirement in 1992. Svetlova lived in Bloomington until her death on February 11, 2009.

Imagining Homelessness As Rare, Brief, And Non-Repeating

By Mary Anne Sterling, Special Contributor

“Heading Home”—such a warmhearted phrase. It conjures up thoughts of a loving, safe place to return to at the end of the day. But for the hundreds of individuals and families experiencing housing insecurities, the notion of heading home is, at best, a hope.

But that notion may be changing for the better. For the past three years, our community has been working behind the scenes on a promising new approach to housing insecurity. We are proud to share a few ways that your generosity and support are creating long-term solutions to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-repeating.

In 2021, the Community Foundation, United Way of Monroe County, and the South Central Housing Network convened a working group of more than 100 people—local and regional service providers, government officials, community members, funders, and people with lived experience—to reimagine a more effective homelessness response. The findings from the group were used to create Heading Home 2021: A Regional Plan for Making Homelessness Rare, Brief, and Non-Repeating, and later that year, a new entity launched, Heading Home of South Central Indiana.

Aside from addressing the factors contributing to housing insecurity—from financial and legal challenges to emotional, physical, and mental health-related matters—the Heading Home working group analyzed best practices, mapped out service gaps, and qualified data needs. “Their collective efforts,” Mary Morgan, Director of Housing Security at Heading Home of South Central Indiana, explains, “resulted in a regionally focused plan to support long-term initiatives to eliminate regional housing insecurity and homelessness across a six-county area, including Monroe, Morgan, Lawrence, Owen, Greene, and Martin counties.” In addition to the original grants from United Way and the Community Foundation to establish Heading Home, the city of Bloomington and Monroe County have contributed about $5 million to the program over five years.

Heading Home Director of Housing Security Mary Moran with Assistant Director Tatiana Wheeler.

Her mandate, Mary says, “is to bring public, private, and nonprofit sectors together to develop and implement structural and systemic change to facilitate the way agencies deliver these critical services to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Heading Home is not a direct provider of services or housing. Rather, it works with an array of partners throughout the region to enhance what they do. For example, Mary explains that “tenants struggle to find current housing listings, and holders of Housing Choice vouchers grapple with finding landlords who will accept their vouchers. We are beta testing a centralized housing navigation resource developed with Myerson Consulting that we expect to launch in February.” This resource, which Heading Home will administer, will provide a single source of accurate, up-to-date information for all regional agencies to use.

At the same time, she adds, “landlords must be part of the solution, as well.” In partnership with the Bloomington Housing Authority, Heading Home is supporting a landlord risk mitigation fund to encourage landlords to accept vouchers.  Another initiative underway is a pilot program to fund landlord-owned housing renovations in exchange for long-term master lease agreements with local agencies. “Our long-term goal,” she says, “is to replicate this program in surrounding counties.”

Heading Home has already achieved much in its first year. It established a partnership with the South Central Housing Network to identify and address shared training and professional development needs across multiple agencies working on housing security. It has also initiated a program with local agencies to decrease homelessness and strengthen housing security for veterans.

With the continuing support and leadership of the Community Foundation, Heading Home spearheaded the idea to join Built for Zero (BFZ) in May 2022, becoming Indiana’s first region to be part of this national network of support to decrease homelessness through a data-driven Housing First approach. “Data is a powerful tool that can change how local homeless response systems work and the impact they can achieve. We are working with BFZ to ensure that community decisions are made using the most accurate information possible.” Mary says that the initiative will ultimately lead to a public data dashboard to show the region’s progress in reducing homelessness. “The Housing First and Built for Zero models show incredible promise in reducing chronic and veteran homelessness in our communities,” she says.

To learn more about each of these Heading Home programs, visit https://headinghomeindiana.org/

Spotlight on New Leaf, New Life

New Leaf, New Life, Inc. (NLNL) was established in early 2005 to address the unmet needs of people in our criminal justice system. For nearly two decades, the organization has helped hundreds of ex-offenders in Monroe County navigate social services and secure the resources they need to succeed upon release.

Jordan McIntire was named Executive Director in 2021. “At my core,” she confides, “I genuinely believe that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. I believe it is our collective responsibility to work together to remove the barriers in our society that chronically oppress people. NLNL provides an opportunity to do just that.”

In addition to Jordan, the staff consists of two full-time professionals, a strong board, an army of volunteers, and a handful of student interns. “They have huge hearts, and their personal experience with incarceration and substance use makes them especially effective,” she adds.

Jordan acknowledges that the Community Foundation “has played a significant role in our ability to affect real change in the lives of our clients and the greater community.” She explains that “one of the most significant needs our clients face is finding and affording stable housing after incarceration.” But funding is extremely limited and difficult to obtain. “Most grants have too many barriers to overcome, such as employment verification, at least two paystubs, or proof of 14+ days of homelessness, not including incarceration,” she added.

“Over the past seven months, we’ve assisted 36 individuals leaving incarceration to obtain stable housing. We’ve focused on assisting people with placement in transitional housing/sober living, so they have a few months to find employment and get back on their feet.” She further explains that, of these 36 individuals, only one has experienced reincarceration, making the program recidivism or relapse rate only 2.7%. “This is a very significant accomplishment that we’re proud of, as one of our overarching goals is to reduce recidivism rates in our community. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Community Foundation Heading Home grant.”

By the Numbers: New Leaf New Life Heading Home Grant

36Participants in the Transitional Housing program since July 2022
2.7%Recidivism rate for individuals in the Transitional
Housing program
25.3%Recidivism rate for all New Leaf New Life clients
33.8%Recidivism rate for enter state of Indiana, 2021

Indiana Department of Correction defines adult recidivism as a return to incarceration within three years of the offenderís date of release from a state correctional institution.

“The program is a blessing to me and other women, we come here broken and with low self-esteem, New Leaf New Life gives us hope, provides us with things we need.”

Anonymous

Jordan confides that incarcerated individuals often experience trauma. “Transition support is vital,” she explains, “because people who are incarcerated will be released one day, and they’ll be our neighbors. If they don’t get a chance to redeem themselves, it becomes a vicious cycle that adversely affects our entire community. NLNL works tirelessly to curate opportunities for these individuals. We do this by empowering others – giving a hand-up, not a hand-out.”

You can learn more about New Leaf-New Life on their website, https://newleafnewlife.org/

Other Heading Home Grant Recipients

In Summer 2022, the Community Foundation awarded six nonprofit organizations with Heading Home Grants. A total of $200,000 was awarded as part of this funding initiative.

Beacon, Inc. for a capital campaign feasibility study, architectural designs, and land assessments associated with a new facility that would combine and expand essential services for people experiencing property, hunger, and homelessness. – This grant will enable Beacon, Inc. to explore the development of a multi-tiered building that would centralize and expand essential and emergency services and housing stabilization in one location with co-located space for local health and substance misuse programs.

Bloomington Housing Authority to establish a rent deposit funding program to reduce financial barriers for low-income residents to secure stable housing opportunities. –Available to income-qualified renters, deposit assistance will be provided to an estimated 50-75 individuals per year as zero interest, flexible loans that can be repaid over time in alignment with participant income.

Catholic Charities Bloomington to support the Parent Empowerment and Child Therapy Program, a collaboration with New Hope for Families. – Through this program, low-income families threatened by homelessness will have on-site access to mental health services, including attachment-based child therapy and parenting empowerment support groups. New Hope’s early childcare educators will also receive evidence-based trauma therapy training to support children at the Nest.

Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM) to expand no-cost mediation services through the Housing and Eviction Prevention Project, a program that provides free landlord-tenant mediation services, legal advice, social service/rental housing assistance referrals, and court navigation support. This grant will enable CJAM to provide advanced eviction-court mediation training, develop mediator recruitment strategies, and expand its capacity to serve more clients.

Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) to expand its Self-Sufficiency Center financial assistance program, which provides rent, mortgage, and utility payments for low-income families and individuals at risk of eviction or homelessness. Grant funding will allow MCUM to expand financial assistance to 200 more families and increase Self-Sufficiency Center outreach to landlords and community members.

Because of you and your support of the Community Foundation, Monroe County is taking impactful strides to be a place where everyone has a place to call home. Thank you for making it possible!