Community Foundation announces $560,000 in grant initiatives

Thirteen nonprofits selected to receive $270,000 in Community Impact Grants; additional $290,000 in proactive granting distributed

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has announced that it is awarding $560,000 in competitive and proactive grants this year to local organizations. The grant recipients were honored at a special event on Thursday, January 11 at Hoosier Energy.

Thirteen nonprofit organizations have received Community Impact Grants, a competitive granting initiative totaling more than $270,000. The Community Impact Funding Initiative is co-funded by the Community Foundation and Smithville Charitable Foundation. The Community Foundation also announced that it is distributing $290,000 in proactive grants this fiscal year to serve Monroe County.

“A review of the grants selected for funding this year serves as a reminder of our community’s most compelling needs and opportunities,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “From preparing our young people for a successful tomorrow; addressing the changing face of healthcare and the significance of trauma in derailing success for many of all ages, these grants are both relevant and specific to the very real issues we face as a community.” 

“Dollars endowed by many generous donors over the last 28 years allow us to realize their philanthropic priorities and to fulfill our mission as an organization committed to ensuring that Monroe County is poised to thrive today and in the future.”

Competitive Granting

Grants funded through the Community Impact Funding Initiative aim to strengthen the community by supporting innovative projects with lasting impact by empowering local organizations to address pressing needs and compelling opportunities in Monroe County. This granting initiative is designed to support a broad range of community needs in arts and culture, social and health services, education, recreation, beautification, preservation, the environment, animal welfare, and community development.

This year represents the seventh year that Smithville Charitable Foundation joins the Community Foundation in funding Community Impact Grants. “We’re grateful for this partnership with Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County,” said Darby McCarty, a governor on the Smithville Charitable Foundation Board of Directors and President/CEO of Smithville Communications. “This grant initiative is a wonderful example of a community foundation and a private foundation working together to enrich the lives of people in their community.”

Grants were awarded from an original field of 58 applicants and range in size from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $270,194.

2018 Community Impact Grant Recipients:

Banneker Community Center for a 15-passenger vehicle to expand participation for low-income children and teens in programs that inspire youth to maximize their full potential. – The grant will allow Banneker Center to increase the transportation radius from 1.5 miles to 3.5 miles for the Banneker Camp summer program, Break Days, Teen Drop-In Afterschool Program, and the Teen Mentoring Program.

Catholic Charities Bloomington to expand mental health and counseling services for children, families, and individuals that have experienced trauma, often due to the impact of the opioid crisis. – The grant will fund Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a technique proven effective in decreasing or eliminating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress; Theraplay, a family therapy approach for children with reactive attachment disorder and their families; and positive parenting and education coaching sessions.

Ellettsville Main Street for a paved, handicap accessible parking lot at the Heritage Trail to provide safe access for people of all abilities to Ellettsville’s only recreational pathway for walking, jogging and biking. – The matching grant will help to fund paved parking that will allow users a safer way to enjoy and access the trail.

Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools for the STEM Collaboration Lab at Bachelor Middle School to give students tools and experiences in preparation for careers and pathways in science, technology and engineering. – The grant will be used to create a lab where students can create, invent, tinker, explore, & discover science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in an educationally relevant way.

Girls Inc. of Monroe County for a programmatic needs assessment to identify the challenges and opportunities of Monroe County girls ages 5-18, with a focus on girls of color, those from low-income families, and from rural communities. The grant will facilitate an assessment to evaluate current Girls Inc. programs and enable the organization to better tailor and increase participation in its programs and activities.

Humanetrix Foundation for technology forum events to increase the number of women pursuing computer science, technology and entrepreneurship training and careers. The grant will fund events for college students and professionals to promote technology skills, internships, companies, networking, and careers for women and increase female participation within the greater Bloomington technology sector.

Middle Way House to expand violence prevention programming into elementary schools to reduce the likelihood of future sexual and dating violence. – The grant will aid in hiring a part-time prevention specialist to expand youth prevention to elementary children, with the goal of allowing childhood sexual assault (CSA) survivors to seek help sooner, decreasing peer-to-peer perpetration, and better preparing students for prevention programming at the junior and high school level.

New Hope Family Shelter to support the purchase of property for a new facility to serve more families and children affected by homelessness – This grant will aid the relocation process of New Hope’s temporary shelter for homeless families and expand its low-income child care programs in a new location.

People & Animal Learning Services for the construction of new fencing to expand therapeutic and educational programs to help more children, adults and seniors with a variety of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social disabilities, or who are recovering from substance abuse. – The grant will provide for construction of additional fences on the property, which will increase capacity to serve clients participating in therapeutic riding programs.

Teachers Warehouse to expand free school classroom supply services to high school teachers – The grant will facilitate the successful expansion of free classroom supplies to teachers at high schools in Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, and Owen counties, previously only available to elementary and middle school teachers.

Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County for a feasibility assessment of gaining Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status to serve more low income and medically underserved individuals in Monroe and Owen Counties. – The matching grant will allow Volunteers in Medicine to conduct a feasibility study of gaining FQHC status. FQHC status would enable VIM to receive federal and state funding for services.

Wheeler Mission Ministries for the installation of a fire suppression system to expand capacity from 50 to 130 men at the emergency shelter The grant will help fund the installation of a fire suppression system including sprinklers, expanding capacity at the Center for Men. Shelter services are offered throughout the year to anyone regardless of religious preference, gender identification, race, background, etc.

WonderLab Museum for a STEM-focused museum experience for children ages birth to 3 years to meet the needs of an increasing number of visitors in this key age group and establish strong educational foundations for young children. –The grant will help to fund the creation of “Science Sprouts Place,” a new 600 square foot exhibit area with science, technology, engineering and mathematics experiences for children ages birth to 3 years and their caregivers. Experts in early childhood education recognize that effective STEM education begins at birth and that investment in early learning pays off through adulthood, with positive effects on educational achievement and professional success.

Proactive Granting

While competitive granting serves as one vehicle for addressing pressing needs and compelling opportunities, the Community Foundation Board also provides proactive funding in areas of particular relevance to our community. These grants are generally funded from field of interest funds established by donors to address specific focus areas along with the Community Foundation’s unrestricted funds. This fiscal year (July 1, 2017-2018), the Community Foundation is providing focused, proactive funding in the areas of innovative programming for children, parental engagement, health, and the arts. Grants range in size from $10,000 to $75,000 and total $290,000.

Proactive Grants:

Centerstone for transitional housing and treatment for women in recovery The grant will provide seed funding for a six-bed transitional housing and treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse and their children. This transitional housing and treatment center will be Bloomington’s first to serve women who are pregnant or who have young children and will provide childcare support and parenting education along with substance abuse treatment. Currently, there is no housing option for women in recovery that enables them to keep their young children with them, rather than in foster care, a proven best practice and option for children, when feasible.

Monroe County Community School Corporation to support the creation of an additional pre-K classroom at Grandview Elementary School. This will be the seventh tuition-free pre-K classroom at a Title I school that the Community Foundation has helped establish in MCCSC. The goal is to increase access to affordable early childhood education. This classroom will serve another 20 children in need of high-quality learning.

Monroe County United Ministries to support expansion of the Compass Early Learning Center. The Community Foundation grants will support critical infrastructure improvements and bridge funding for additional staff, allowing Monroe County United Ministries to increase the number of children served through the early learning center.

Monroe County Community School Corporation and Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation to support and facilitate the parental engagement program for families of children in early learning programs. The grants will fund a preschool parent liaison position through MCCSC and support the RBBCSC preschool parent engagement program.

Women Writing for (a) Change Bloomington to expand community creative writing programs – The grant will allow Women Writing for (a) Change Bloomington to expand outreach to other vulnerable populations connected to nonprofits in Monroe County such as Stone Belt, Stepping Stones, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and others. The grant will facilitate funding for outreach and new writing classes and workshops for clients, volunteers, and staff.

Community Development Finance Institutions. Additionally, the Community Foundation is working with the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association and the City of Bloomington to explore the potential for employing Community Development Finance Institutions to generate economic growth and opportunity, in particular amongst underserved populations. CDFIs can support communities through attracting private sector investment to support community development initiatives such as affordable housing, job creation, and nonprofit sector financing. 

Several 2018 grant recipients shared how these grant funds will impact their organizations and communities:
“New Hope for Families is thrilled to receive a Community Impact Grant this year to help us begin the process of relocating our services,” said Emily Pike, director of The Nest at New Hope. “We are excited for the future of this project and feel so fortunate to have the Community Foundation as a partner.”
“I am so grateful to the Community Foundation for providing us the opportunity to expand our prevention work,” said Debra Morrow, executive director of Middle Way House. “We feel that it is so valuable to expand in this area as we continuously strive to reach more youth. While the immediate crisis work we do is vital, we must simultaneously work to prevent future violence.”

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 of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted $27 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $32 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference 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.