2016 Community Impact Grant recipients announced

Over $306,000 awarded to eleven area agencies.

The Community Foundation, in partnership with the Smithville Charitable Foundation, has announced the recipients of the 2016 Community Impact Grants.

Eleven agencies were awarded grants from an original field of 40 applicants. Grants range in size from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $306,193.

Community Impact Grants focus on funding charitable efforts that have the potential for encouraging change and creating solutions to the issues that impact our community. Requests that include innovation, collaboration and capacity building receive priority in the evaluation process. This year represents the fifth year that Smithville Charitable Foundation joins the Community Foundation in funding the Community Impact Grants.

“Every year, we continue to be impressed by the applicants and the incredible work these organizations do for our community,” said Tina Peterson, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. “The agencies selected for grants this year represent organizations devoted to improving the quality of life for members of our community and we’re thrilled to help them advance initiatives to expand and improve their services.”

“We are pleased to have the partnership with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County,” said Darby McCarty, a governor on the Smithville Charitable Foundation Board of Directors.  “This is another example of a community foundation and a private foundation working toward the needs of the county and city.”

Agencies selected for grants in 2016 address a broad range of community needs including the arts, education, resources for food and shelter, and capacity building support for area nonprofits.

“The Community Impact Grant couldn’t have been more essential for our efforts to end homelessness in Bloomington,” said Rev. Forrest Gilmore, Executive Director of the Shalom Community Center. “At a time when we are actively expanding from emergency services to long-term solutions, the Community Foundation was there for us to help us make the leap.”

“The Foundation [of Monroe County Community Schools] is honored to receive this Community Impact Grant,” added Executive Director Cyrilla Helm. “It will assist us in transforming science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at Grandview Elementary School. The program is going to immerse students in relevant hands-on projects that will teach STEM concepts while igniting a passion for these subjects. We believe that exposing these children to STEM education at a young age we will spark a lifelong interest in learning, which can translate into increased performance in the classroom.”

The complete list of agencies selected for 2016 Community Impact Grants include:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington is undertaking a capital project that will renovate the Lincoln Street facility as well as provide the means to acquire, renovate and expand the former IU Eye Clinic building at 803 N. Monroe Street. The Monroe Street facility will serve as the new clubhouse for the Crestmont neighborhood and administrative home for the BGCB.

Cardinal Stage Company – As part of their current strategic plan, Cardinal has identified enhancements to online, box office, and fundamental accounting/fundraising systems. Cardinal will invest in a robust system that will significantly streamline internal operations, improve long-term financial management and support organizational stability.

Centerstone – The Centerstone Mental Health First Aid project will provide three certified instructors to train 200+ concerned Monroe County citizens to save lives of children, adults and veterans facing a mental illness or substance use disorder.

Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools – Grandview Elementary is working to become an accredited STEM school. The school will develop and implement a rigorous integrated curriculum that incorporates science, technology, engineering and math across all subject areas. The units of study will immerse students in project-based learning experiences that allow student collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving.

Hoosier Hills Food Bank – HHFB will create a full-time staff position dedicated exclusively to securing donated food and maintaining food donor relationships. The Food Sourcing Coordinator will build on existing sources and expand capacity to acquire more food for programs and partner agencies, leveraging valuable donations for the community good and ensuring no food is wasted.

LIFEDesigns – The LIFEDesigns Employment First Project will build the agency’s capacity to support individuals of all ability levels in pursuing careers in the community, including self-employment. By developing staff skills in facilitation of career planning, cataloguing resources for business development, providing small start up loans and capturing new revenues sources, LIFEDesigns will ensure that 50% of its clients are working in the community by 2018.

Lotus Education and Arts Foundation – Lotus is working to implement broad technological improvements that will address risk management, expand future capacity and create a more cohesive, effective, work environment as they transition into their new facility.

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard – Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard will purchase the building they currently lease, located at 1100 W. Allen St. In the three years that MHC has occupied this building, the space has been transformed into a vibrant community food resource center, meeting the emergency food needs of over 10,000 low income community members each year.

Shalom Community Center – Shalom is working to expand its organizational capacity to aid and empower people experiencing homelessness and poverty, including the management of the shelter formerly known as Martha’s House (renamed Friend’s Place). Shalom will add a full-time development director to grow its fundraising capacity and donor base.

Stepping Stones – Stepping Stones will seek to expand its services to homeless youth by engaging consultants to explore partnerships with agencies that have strong administrative structures and complementary or similar funding streams.

WonderLab – WonderLab will work with a museum-planning consultant to reimagine the museum experience, environment and exhibits, to add layers of learning, expand the wonder experienced by visitors and add science depth throughout the learning landscape. This will enable WonderLab to creatively reimagine how the building space can be maximized to provide increased space for exhibits, programs and camps, and enable WonderLab to more effectively reach a wider audience for years to come.

About the Community Foundation: Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation has granted nearly $23 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations. Our $26 million endowment is growing and so is the difference we make by connecting caring people, important causes and community resources.

About the Smithville Charitable Foundation: Inspired by altruism, the Foundation’s main goal is to enrich the lives of those around them by creating opportunities and bringing necessities to communities in its areas of service. As a private foundation, it works closely with community foundations in surrounding counties and supports a variety of causes related to religion, education, health, relief of poverty or distress, and various public organizations.