Community Foundation awards Impact Grants to 11 Monroe County organizations

A total of $331,980 has been awarded as part of its Community Impact Funding Initiative.

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (CFBMC) recognized 11 nonprofit organizations on Thursday, December 12, at its annual Community Impact Grant Awards reception. A total of $331,980 has been awarded as part of its Community Impact Funding Initiative.

This competitive granting program, co-funded by Smithville Charitable Foundation, is designed to fuel innovative ideas and lasting impact in Monroe County through funding opportunities to meet our community’s most pressing needs and seize its most compelling opportunities. This year, priority consideration was given to projects and programs identified as potential solutions in the Monroe County Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan.

“Aligning our impact grants with the quality of place priorities identified by our community through ROI’s Ready Communities process allows the Foundation to deploy our grant funds in a locally relevant and meaningful way,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson.  “Both the response to our request for grant proposals and the projects proposed inspired and impressed our evaluation team. We’re proud that each of the grants awarded this year has the potential to enhance our community for the benefit of all and make Monroe County and even better place to live, work, and play.”

Grants were awarded in amounts ranging in size from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $331,980.

Be Loved Transportation, Inc. to purchase a lift van to provide wheelchair-assisted individuals transportation to non-emergency medical appointments, including Medicaid-approved care. – Supporting approximately 40 per week with this wheelchair accessible van, Be Loved will provide reliable transportation to improve the health and quality of life of individuals in Monroe County.

Bloomington Housing Authority to fund a portion of construction and operation costs for a high-quality early Head Start center in the Crestmont neighborhood. – The Summit Hill Center will serve 16 infants and toddlers, support a BHA resident cohort of childcare educators, and include three rental apartments for low-income families.

Cardinal Stage to facilitate the production of “Ada and the Engine,” the story of female mathematician Ada Byron Lovelace, recognized as the first computer programmer. – The 2020 play will include discounted and free matinee performances with show-specific activities for students to learn more about the history of Lovelace as a pioneer and STEM role model.

Community Justice and Mediation Center for a project manager to coordinate a collaborative program providing mediation, legal assistance, and social services to tenants and landlords involved in eviction and housing challenges. – The Housing and Eviction Resource Table seeks to reduce eviction, preserve housing, provide comprehensive access to social services, facilitate tenant and landlord education, and improve overall housing stability for renters in Monroe County.

Ellettsville Main Street to engage stakeholders from all sectors of the community in a visioning process to create a long-term plan for the town of Ellettsville. – The grant will fund a professional firm to conduct research, facilitate community-wide input to define priorities, distill findings, and develop a shared action plan for growth.

Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County to fund a portion of construction costs for a recycled shipping container home. – With lower construction costs and mortgage payments than typical homes, this pilot project will allow Habitat for Humanity to explore the feasibility of homeownership for lower-income households earning 25% of the area median income.

Indiana Limestone Symposium to launch a series of free limestone lectures, demonstrations, workshops, and carving events at Karst Farm Park to increase community awareness and appreciation for our region’s limestone heritage. – Grant funds will be used for tools, materials, carvers, educational materials for teachers and students, and public art placement.

Monroe County Board of Commissioners to help fund site safety and accessibility upgrades for phase one of Quarries in the Uplands, a new 100-acre park and regional destination to be developed near the intersection of I-69 and SR46. – The park, which will be developed in phases, will showcase seven quarries and honor our region’s limestone heritage through interpretive exhibits, gardens and walking paths, and spaces for a variety of community, educational, and performing arts events.

Monroe County Public Library for equipment, appliances, and supplies to establish a teaching kitchen at the new Southwest Branch Library. – Scheduled to open in 2022, the library’s kitchen will provide free, hands-on cooking and nutrition programs for all ages, increasing food security and advancing literacy, math, and science.

New Hope for Families for architectural design fees associated with a new shelter and early childcare facility to be developed at 1200 S. Morton Street. – Estimated for completion in 2021, New Hope’s new location will shelter up 12 families experiencing homelessness (up from seven in its current location) and 48 low-income children in its high-quality early learning program (up from 16).

Stone Belt to pilot the Boost program, a classroom and internship gateway experience for local high school students interested in careers in healthcare and human services. – The 10-week paid internship opportunity will equip up to 15 graduating seniors with training, knowledge, and hands-on experience to empower and support people with disabilities to lead self-directed lives and participate fully in our community. Upon graduation, participating interns may be offered full-time or part-time positions as direct support professionals at Stone Belt.

The Community Impact Funding Initiative is funded through unrestricted funds at the Community Foundation and designated field of interest funds established to support particular areas of focus. This year also represents the 10th year that Smithville Charitable Foundation joins the Community Foundation in funding Community Impact Grants.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Smithville Charitable Foundation and Community Foundation donors for entrusting us to invest in innovative programs and ideas to improve the quality of life for all who call Bloomington and Monroe County home,” added Peterson.

“The McCarty Family and The Smithville Charitable Foundation are proud to partner with the Community Foundation on this important grant initiative aimed at enriching the lives of the people in Monroe County and our region,” said Darby McCarty.

Several grant recipients shared how these grants will impact their organizations and people in Monroe County:

“The Summit Hill Childcare Partnership team is thankful to the Community Foundation for supporting our project to increase access to childcare that is affordable, year-round, aligned with transit, high-quality, and prioritizes infant care,” said Amber Skoby, executive director of the Bloomington Housing Authority. “Early childhood is such a critical period of development, key to breaking barriers and creating lifelong potential. Within early childhood development, Early Head Start is an effective model due to its whole-child, comprehensive, and multi-generational approach, so we look forward to bringing this program and the facility to families in the greater Crestmont neighborhood.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation and the Community Foundation in developing the Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan,” said Christa Curtis, chairperson, of the Envision Ellettsville committee. “The plan provides a clear plan for improving quality of life for all Monroe County residents and we are thrilled that Ellettsville Mainstreet Inc. has received this community impact grant. We look forward to engaging Ellettsville residents, organizations, and business owners to build a shared vision and plan that benefits everyone in our community.”

“The Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM), with partners, the IU Maurer Tenant Assistance Project, Justice Unlocked, and South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities, are excited about the opportunity to build “quality of place” in partnership with the Community Foundation through The Housing and Eviction Resource Table Project,” said Liz Grenat, executive director of CJAM. “In a very short time, our collaborative has been inspired by how these direct and compassionate interventions benefit both tenants and landlords, and are working to improve overall housing stability. We commend CFBMC for their continued vision and commitment to investing in innovative and solutions-based programming. This funding will serve to strengthen our project locally and has the potential to become a model for other courts across our region that are dealing with the devastating impacts of the growing eviction epidemic.”

“Be Loved Transportation is so grateful to receive this grant from the Community Foundation to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle,” said CEO Dwayne Cole. “We will now be able to provide much needed rides for wheelchair bound individuals in the Monroe County area. Decreasing the rates of missed rides to scheduled medical appointments helps to ensure that people have more healthy lives in our community.”

“Monroe County audiences will be entertained by the fascinating true story of the Victorian-era female mathematician who is now widely considered to be the world’s first computer programmer,” said Gabe Glolden, managing director of Cardinal Stage. “Ada and the Engine will also support the growth of Monroe County’s knowledge-based economy and addresses the gender gap prevalent in most STEM fields. By presenting inspiring role models on stage for area middle and high school students, Cardinal is working together with our education and business community to eliminate cultural barriers to workforce attraction and retention.”

“The Southwest Branch Library teaching kitchen will advance literacy and serve as an innovative space to provide free, hands-on health, wellness, and nutrition education to the community,” said Mandy Hussey, communications and marketing manager for the Monroe County Public Library. “It will also provide opportunities for new residents, remote workers, and young professionals to meet, network, and become part of the community. We look forward to developing this inclusive space.”

“Stone Belt’s Boost program combines its Direct Support Professionals (DSP) training with paid internships for high school students enabling participants to apply what they learn through on-line and classroom instruction in a real work environment,” said Adam Hamel, development manager at Stone Belt. “The certifications and competencies earned during the internship are applicable to other healthcare positions and are portable to other developmental disability providers and health facilities throughout Indiana. The goal is to provide the interns with the skills to grow within the agency and/or seek higher education in a field such as nursing, counseling, or another field benefitting those with developmental disabilities.”

“How better to experience Quality of Place than by carving Indiana limestone – the bedrock of Monroe County,” said Mary Anne Sterling, board member of the Indiana Limestone Symposium. This generous funding not only advances Indiana Limestone Symposium’s mission to teach and share the art of carving, it also pays tribute to our shared history and connections to limestone.”

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 $30 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 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.