CFBMC & Smithville Charitable Foundation partnering to fund 2017 Community Impact Grants

Grant initiative to prioritize projects this year that empower youth.

 The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County announced today that grants are available through the Community Impact Funding Initiative. The grants, co-funded by Smithville Charitable Foundation, aim to strengthen the community by supporting innovative projects with lasting impact and enabling organizations to address pressing problems or pursue compelling opportunities in Monroe County. The 2017 grant initiative will award more than $300,000 to area nonprofits and will prioritize projects that “empower youth to reach their potential.”

Local 501(c)(3) organizations and other organizations exempt from filing for 501(c)(3) status may apply for the 2017 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: empower youth to achieve their full potential; offers innovative or transformative solutions to critical community issues; or foster collaboration across organizations and/or sectors to increase impact and effectiveness.

“Indiana has the 15th largest population of children in the United States with more than 1.5 million children younger than 18 living in our state,” said Tina Peterson, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. “Yet many of our children live in conditions that are less than ideal and struggle with issues beyond their control.”
For example, Indiana ranks:

  • 30th for the well-being of its children
  • 32nd for family and community strength
  • 44th for the number of residents with Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 4th for the number of children who have thoughts of suicide
  • 10th for the number of children attempting suicide
  • 39th for per capita income
  • 31st for overall health
  • 44th for obesity and smoking

“We believe the best way to move the needle relative to these significant issues is by focusing on the potential of young people,” added Peterson. “This year, we are asking for grant projects designed to allow nonprofits and other exempt organizations to prepare young people for success and provide them with skills, knowledge and awareness to inspire and equip them to reach their full potential.”

Youth development grants are intended for programs with broad scope, influencing and addressing educational, career and general life issues. Potential examples include grant projects that promote and facilitate character development, leadership skill development, career awareness, positive mental health, prevention of substance abuse, tolerance and acceptance of others, soft and interpersonal skill development, entrepreneurship education, and preparation for STEM-related training and/or careers.

“We are hoping this year’s focus on youth will be a strong call to action in our community,” added Peterson. “Only 12 of Indiana’s counties have experienced an increase in child population since 2008 and Monroe is one of those counties. This gives us a unique opportunity to become a leader in addressing the many challenges Indiana faces while empowering youth here at home.”

To be considered for funding, applicants must first submit a two-page letter of intent and verification of tax-exempt status to CFBMC by 5 p.m. on September 19. Following review of the letters of intent, selected organizations will be invited to submit full grant proposals, which will be due November 7. Grants will be awarded January 9, 2017.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of CFBMC donors and the Smithville Charitable Foundation for making this grant initiative possible,” added Peterson.

“We have seen these funds used in amazing ways to address a broad range of community needs,” added Darby McCarty, a governor on the Smithville Charitable Foundation Board of Directors. “We’re excited once again to invest in this initiative and are looking forward to seeing the funded projects make a difference in the lives of Monroe County residents.”

A few examples of recent Impact Grant projects include:

  • Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools – development of curriculum to enable Grandview Elementary become Bloomington’s first state-accredited STEM school.
  • New Hope Family Shelter – establishment of an Early Childhood Education Center, a high-quality care and education program for children experiencing poverty in Bloomington and Monroe County.
  • WonderLab – utilization of a museum-planning consultant to reimagine its environment and exhibits to enhance visitor experience and add science learning throughout.
  • Centerstone – funding to support three certified mental health first aid instructors to train 200+ concerned Monroe County citizens to support children, adults and veterans facing a mental illness or substance use disorder.
  • Cardinal State Company – implementation of a new online box office and ticketing system to streamline operations and improve long-term financial management and organizational stability.
  • Sycamore Land Trust – creation of a 30-acre nature preserve within the Bean Blossom Conservation area, a parcel that is part of larger effort to connect already protected areas between Lake Lemon, Griffy Lake and the White River.

Guidelines and instructions for the 2017 grant initiative are available online at For more information on eligibility and application procedures, contact CFBMC Program Director Marcus Whited at (812) 333-9016 or [email protected].

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 $24 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $26 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes and community resources.

About Smithville Charitable Foundation: Inspired by altruism, The Smithville Charitable Foundation was established in 2007 as a desire to enrich lives by creating opportunities and bringing necessities to the communities served by Smithville Communications. As a private foundation, Smithville Charitable Foundation works closely with community foundations in the 17 counties of its service territory to support a variety of causes related to religion, education, health, the arts, relief of poverty or distress, and various public organizations.