Community Foundation grant initiatives to total $1.5 million this year

Letters of Intent for Community Impact Funding Initiative now being accepted

Thanks to generous donor support and a growing endowment, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County announces $1.5 million in granting initiatives for the current fiscal year that began July 1, a 6.5% increase over the previous year.

“The Community Foundation exists to make our county the best it can possibly be; to give those that live here the best opportunities for happy, successful lives,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “We strive every year to increase our capacity to achieve these fundamental but lofty goals.”

“For almost three decades now, individuals, families, and organizations have given to the Community Foundation to support these overarching goals, and that generosity is paying dividends for friends, our neighbors, and those who call our community home,” added Peterson. “Our endowment has grown by $13.7 million since 2012 (an 80 percent increase), which translates to more funding, more possibilities, and more opportunity to make our community what we all hope it can be for today and for tomorrow.”

Founded in 1990, today the Community Foundation’s total assets of $33.3 million include a growing $30.8 endowment and over 220 funds benefiting Monroe County organizations and residents. From early childhood development to aging, from basic needs to charitable economic development, from the arts to the environment, Community Foundation donors create lasting impact by fueling innovative ideas that make Bloomington and Monroe County a better place for all who call it home.

The Community Foundation’s grant initiatives include both competitive and proactive granting opportunities, donor-advised fund grantmaking to area nonprofits, agency fund distributions to nonprofits and designated fund distributions, educational scholarships, and leadership grants in areas of particular significance to Monroe County.

Competitive & Field of Interest Granting

This year’s grant initiatives include three competitive grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Competitive grant initiatives are funded through unrestricted funds, collaborative funding from regional partners, and field of interest funds established by donors to support specific areas of focus.

  • Community Impact Funding Initiative – Programs funded through this competitive grant cycle aim to strengthen the community by enabling local organizations to address pressing problems or pursue compelling opportunities in Monroe County. This year’s grant initiative, co-funded with the Smithville Charitable Foundation, will award grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to area nonprofits. Grant funding is designed to support a broad range of community needs such as arts and culture, social and health services, education, recreation, beautification and preservation, animal welfare, the environment, and community development opportunities. Letters of Intent are now being accepted for this initiative, and are due September 12. View details.
  • Precision Health Granting Initiative – Precision Health Network Fund grants assist with the proactive development or enhancement of community health education and health outcomes in Brown, Daviess, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, and Owen Counties. Programs selected to receive grants have stated goals that include prevention of disease, self-management of chronic disease, and/or promotion of health and healthy lifestyles that relate to wellness and disease management/prevention. This year, the Foundation will focus on prevention efforts in schools to help students avoid substance abuse and improve students’ social and emotional well-being. More details on the Precision Health grant opportunity will be announced soon.
  • Innovation Grants – As an extension of the Community Impact Funding Initiative, the Community Foundation will conduct a pilot grantmaking cycle in early 2019 that will incentivize innovative proposals by encouraging local nonprofits to think creatively in addressing solutions to our community’s needs and opportunities. The innovation grantmaking cycle will award a total of up to $50,000 and incorporate a short written application process in the initial stage, followed by a “pitch-style” presentation for invited applicants. Donors and the community will be invited to attend the pitch competition event that will result in five grants of up to $10,000 each.

In addition to these competitive granting initiatives, grantmaking also occurs throughout the year from more than 20 Community Foundation field of interest funds. Community Foundation staff use their expertise to identify, evaluate, and award grants to the most qualified and deserving organizations and programs in areas identified by each field of interest fund.

Leadership Initiatives

While many granting initiatives address areas of urgency and opportunity, the Community Foundation Board may also elect to provide proactive funding in other areas of particular significance to Monroe County. Over time, our pool of endowed and flexible resources allow us to address different areas as community needs dictate. This year, the Community Foundation will distribute more than $200,000 to support strategic leadership initiatives.

“The Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to convene common voices around issues, take risks, and support innovative programs that improve the quality of life in our county,” said Jennie Vaughan, president of the Community Foundation Board of Directors. “Our leadership initiatives allow us to partner with civic, private, and nonprofit organizations to leverage resources to create a better future for all that call Monroe County home.”

  • Monroe Smart Start – The Community Foundation will once again provide proactive funding to Monroe Smart Start, its early childhood education initiative. Funding will be used to grow preschool capacity, increase high-quality early education, provide professional development for educators, support family engagement and community partnerships, and facilitate enrollment for On My Way Pre-K, Indiana’s pre-K program for 4-year-olds from low-income families.
  • Community Development Finance – Leadership funding will also be used to support strategies to attract community development financing to Bloomington. You can learn more about this partnership initiative with the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association by reading the March 28, 2018 announcement: Bloomington Launches New Strategy for Attracting National Financing for Community Development.
  • Advancing Out-of-School STEM Learning Grants – This grant opportunity was made possible by Regional Opportunity Initiatives, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation. In 2017, ROI granted $25,000 to each of the 11 counties in the Indiana Uplands to advance K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs that engage youth through hands-on activities that add value and extend the school experiences. Out-of-school STEM learning occurs outside of the traditional school day, including before and after school and summer programs, and may be provided by school districts, community organizations, nonprofits, and cultural institutions such as libraries and museums.

Monroe County has a wealth of quality STEM programming but lacks the resources to advance coordination, collaboration, and shared training to make the ecosystem as valuable as it could be for local students. This year, the Community Foundation will grant $25,000 to support out-of-school STEM learning by providing resources and professional development to local educators.

  • Be More Awards – Additional leadership funding will support the Be More Award recipients. The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network Be More Awards recognize outstanding community volunteers each year. In recognition of their selfless contributions, the ten recipients are awarded $500 checks from the Community Foundation that they can use to support the nonprofit organization of their choice.

Donor-Advised Distributions

The Community Foundation’s endowment includes over 45 donor-advised funds that will distribute more than $210,000 this year to support charitable and nonprofit organizations. These funds give donors the opportunity to play an active, personal role in their charitable giving. Each year, donors recommend recipients for grants from the fund while relying upon the Foundation’s staff for expertise in fund administration, record keeping, investing and grant making. These funds offer the ability to involve an entire family, group, or organization in making grant recommendations.

“The primary reason that I started a Donor Advised Fund was to teach my children the importance of helping others,” said John Hurlow or Hurlow Wealth Management. “When the time came to make annual distributions, I let the kids pick where they wanted the money to go. My daughter has had chronic migraines, and she wanted half of the money to go to the Riley Hospital Children’s Neurology Department to help other children suffering from migraines. My son is a huge animal lover and wanted half to go to the Monroe County Humane Society to help animals that have been abused. The kids talked about how awesome it was that we are doing this and they felt it was the first ‘adult’ thing they have ever done. The kids now look forward to picking a cause each year, and they also understand compounding interest and how this money will continue to grow and give back forever.”

Agency and Designated Funds

Over eighty Community Foundation funds are designated to benefit local nonprofit agencies every year. These endowed funds may have been established by the organization or by a donor with a particular affinity for a specific agency. Agencies may use designated grants to support their charitable operations in any way they feel appropriate. This year, the Community Foundation will distribute over $400,000 in agency and designated funds.

“Our relationship with the Community Foundation is about 20 years old,” said Monroe County Court Appointed Special Advocates Executive Director Kristin Bishay. “The Community Foundation has helped us become stronger and more financially stable. Our agency endowment fund has been a reliable source of annual support for us, while the Foundation has also provided support of their resources and expertise. We’re grateful that the Community Foundation has always been willing to be innovative with us in fitting their services to meet our needs.”

Educational Scholarships

The Community Foundation administers over 20 scholarships each year to support the educational aspirations of community members. Scholarship funds can be used to support students across the spectrum of educational attainment. This year, the Community Foundation will distribute more than $20,000 to help members of our community pursue educational opportunities.

Additional Programmatic Initiatives

In addition to this year’s grant initiatives totaling $1.5 million, the Community Foundation will also support the following programs and organizations this year:

  • Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship – The Community Foundation will once again administer the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program on behalf of Monroe County. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are awarded four-year, full tuition scholarships to pursue baccalaureate degrees at colleges or universities in Indiana. Funding for this scholarship program is provided by the Lilly Endowment, and the Community Foundation collaborates with Independent Colleges of Indiana to award this scholarship each year. Applications are currently open for this scholarship opportunity through August 26, 2018. View details.
  • Regional Opportunity Initiatives – The Community Foundation will also continue its commitment to support Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.

In 2014, the Southwest Central Indiana steering committee released The Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana, which identified key strategies and action steps essential to the success of our region. In 2015, Lilly Endowment awarded ROI a $25,870,000 grant for its education and workforce initiatives and a regional opportunity fund to support key strategies.

In 2016, ROI was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. Housed in the same office space, the Community Foundation and ROI also share executive leadership, accounting services, and communication and marketing resources.

ROI’s mission is to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of what is now called the Indiana Uplands region. Through education and workforce initiatives and quality of place development, ROI is supporting progress in the region that encompasses Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

“Monroe County has a symbiotic relationship with the other ten counties in the Indiana Uplands,” added Peterson. “Through the work of ROI, we have the opportunity to address challenges and opportunities like workforce attraction and retention, and advancing economic prosperity in a way that is exponentially more impactful than going it alone.”

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 $27 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $30.8 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.