CFBMC now accepting letters of intent for 2015 Community Impact Funding Initiative

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is celebrating 25 years of Grantmaking in Monroe County.  Up to $325,000 will be available for funding the 2015 Community Impact Funding Initiative, a joint project with the Smithville Charitable Foundation.

In 1991, the Community Foundation awarded its first grants; five $1,000 grants went out for projects that included:

  • handicap accessibility at Hilltop Garden
  • an exercise program with the YMCA and Fontainebleau
  • BHSS Academic Decathlon
  • computer software for the Boys & Girls Club
  • beautification project at the Monroe County Airport

Today, the Community Foundation focuses on community changing impact grants and awards $10,000 to $50,000 grants; a few recent projects include:

  • Bloomington Playwrights Project (with IU Theater) – to develop a perpetually funded theatre collaboration
  • Hoosier Hills Food Bank – a refrigerated van “Grover” to deliver fresh foods to partner agencies
  • Options for Better Living – helping Options and Christole merge into LifeDesigns
  • Boys and Girls Club – to help bring Lemonade Day to Monroe County
  • Catholic Charities of Bloomington – implementation of electronic medical records system allowing increased quality and expanded services to those in need of mental health counseling
  • LifeDesigns – organization and implementation of a shared services organization
  • Habitat for Humanity – Family Self Sufficiency program to improve and expand the educational outreach programs to children of homeowners, helping children achieve greater academic success
  • Franklin Initiative – Graduation Coach Initiative to help expand and maintain services that help at risk students graduate from high school
  • Ivy Tech Foundation – AMP Program Workforce Development Solutions bringing job training and career opportunities to Bloomington
  • Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce with BEDC – Bloomington Coding School pilot program

Community Foundation assets have grown from $16,000 in 1990 to over $25 million today.  This growth, and partnerships like the one with Smithville Charitable Foundation, enables the Foundation to distribute over $1 million annually back into the community supporting agencies, programs and projects that help to improve the quality of life here in Monroe County. 

“It has been very gratifying to observe the increasing impact these grants have made in our community” said Denise Howard, Chair of the grants committee.  “The donors of the Community Foundation and the Smithville Charitable Foundation are to be commended for their generosity which allows us the opportunity to distribute these funds to very worthy organizations and causes.  I’m looking forward to learning about new projects that will enhance the community.”

The Community Impact Funding Initiative, which aims to strengthen the community by supporting innovative projects with lasting impact, is designed to enable organizations to address pressing problems or pursue compelling opportunities of vital importance to Monroe County.  Local 501(c)(3) organizations and other organizations exempt from filing for 501(c)(3) status may apply for the grants with requests ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.  Priority consideration will be given to projects that meet one or more of the following criteria: offers innovative or transformative solutions to critical community issues, fosters collaboration across organizations and/or sectors to increase impact and effectiveness, and creates capacity-building opportunities for developing more efficient or sustainable organizations.

To be considered for funding, applicants must first submit a two-page letter of intent and verification of tax-exempt status to the Community Foundation by 5 p.m. on August 25, 2014.  Following review of the letters of intent, selected organization will be invited to submit full grant proposals, which will be due October 27, 2014.  Grants will be awarded at a celebration event to take place January 12, 2015.

Guidelines and instructions for the letters of intent are available online at  For more information on the Community Impact Funding Initiative and application procedures, contact CFBMC Program Director Renee Chambers at (812) 333-9016 or [email protected].

About the Community Foundation: Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion from Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation has granted over $20 million to more than 380 local nonprofit organizations.  Our $25 million endowment is growing and so is the difference we make by connecting caring people, important causes and community resources.

About 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, they work closely with community foundations in surrounding counties and support a variety of causes related to religion, education, health, relief of poverty or distress, and various public organizations.