Since 1992, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has supported 400 nonprofit organizations through our grant making efforts. As the Community Foundation continues to grow our capacity to support this community we have evolved our grant making strategy.
Community Impact Grants
In January 2023, the Community Foundation awarded 15 nonprofits with Community Impact Grants. A total of $439,083 was awarded as part of this funding initiative.
Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (with Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Foundation serving as fiscal agent) to support the implementation of the Monroe County Economic Vitality Project. – Through this initiative, BEDC is convening input from partners and residents to develop a strategy for improving life in Monroe County in five specific focus areas: land use and infrastructure, housing, business and employment creation, workforce, and quality of life.
Bloomington Refugee Support Network to assist newly arriving families with essential needs, including legal services and medical treatment. – The Refugee Support Network supports asylum seekers, refugees, and other displaced migrants who flee violence in their home countries. RSN helps families with a new start in Monroe County by providing clothing, food, shelter, medical services, school enrollment, transportation, and immigration advice.
Catholic Charities Bloomington Counseling Services to fund 800 Child Therapy Program sessions at Fairview Elementary School. – This evidenced-based therapy program increases the accessibility of mental health care for children experiencing poverty, food and housing scarcity, and generational trauma. By decreasing family barriers such as travel or after-work appointments, this school-embedded program, combined with at-home techniques for parents, serves as a preventative tool to address trauma and prevent future cycles of poverty.
Constellation Stage & Screen for operational expenses associated with the reopening of Waldron Arts Center. – Following the three-way merger of Bloomington Playwrights Project, Cardinal Stage, and Pigasus Pictures, Constellation launched its new business model and will utilize grant funds for the management, renovation, and the recent reopening of the Waldron Arts Center.
Exodus Refugee Immigration for intensive case management services. – In October 2021, Exodus was approved by the U.S. State Department to open a resettlement site for refugees in Bloomington. Grant funding will support needs assessments, language translation services, and financial assistance for an estimated 20-50 refugees in 2023.
Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools for developmental informed trauma training for up to 40 early childhood educators and administrators. – This grant will enable early educators at MCCSC, New Hope for Families, Monroe County United Ministries, and South Central Community Action Program to participate in trainings on trauma-informed practices, including triggers and how to manage them; the role of relationships and interventions in building resilience; and stress reduction strategies for children, families, and service providers. The outcome of these trainings will be the creation of trauma-informed learning environments that help children prepare for success in school.
Girls Inc. for 60 girls ages 9-14 to participate in the SheLeads summer camp program. –This grant will fund camp activities, including scholarships for girls referred by the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). Through a series of challenges and activities that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold, camp participants work together to overcome gender stereotypes, take positive risks, and improve their confidence while focusing on goal setting and independence.
Indiana Solar for All (Center for Sustainable Living serving as the fiscal agent) for the installation of eight solar arrays on low-income homes. – A volunteer-run project of the Center for Sustainable Living, Indiana Solar for All provides low-income homeowners with training, guidance, and the materials to install solar energy systems for their homes. This grant will fund solar systems for homeowners making 25%-80% of the Area’s Median Income to reduce their disproportionate energy cost burden while reducing the community’s carbon emissions.
Lake Monroe Water Fund for water quality initiatives related to fertilizer management. – Phosphorus and nitrogen that wash into waterways from fertilizer runoff contribute to harmful algal blooms and oxygen-depleted water. Algal blooms in Lake Monroe have become more frequent in recent years. This project aims to reduce harmful nutrients flowing into Lake Monroe by partnering with the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) to provide professional soil health advice and free soil testing to landowners on up to 570 properties covering 570-5700 acres in the Lake Monroe watershed.
Monroe County Court Appointed Special Advocates for the “Interrupting Racism for Children” training program for staff, board members, and volunteers that work with children. –Assessments and comprehensive training sessions will allow advocates to confront bias, individual racism, and institutional racism and empower them with tools to create outcomes where children thrive and race does not predict their life outcomes.
Peoples Cooperative Market for the Sponsored Box Program for families served by Middle Way House, Pantry 279, and New Hope for Families. – A volunteer-run farmers’ market, People Cooperative Market promotes food justice for marginalized farmers and access to local food for socially vulnerable populations. Grant funding will be used to buy local nutrient-dense food, including produce, meat, eggs, dairy, and bread, for distribution to individuals and families who utilize pantries or shelters and are experiencing food insecurity.
People and Animal Learning Services (PALS) for the Changing Leads program. – A partnership with Amethyst House and Centerstone, this grant will help provide equine-assisted adaptive group therapy to 20 individuals in treatment for substance use disorder. Through this program, participants develop a bond with horses, learn how to build trusting relationships, care for others, control impulses, and decrease stress and sadness.
RoboBoosters for fabrication equipment, tools, and hardware. – RoboBoosters is supporting the transition of two school-based FIRST robotics teams (The Quandrangles & I.C.E. Robotics) to community-based teams. This grant will help to fund replacement equipment to set the teams up for a successful transition and inspire a passion for STEM in a wider audience of students in a new location, the Indiana University Luddy Multidisciplinary Engineering & Science Hall.
Town of Ellettsville to help preserve a historic log cabin and relocate it from Vine Street to the Heritage Trail near the Ellettsville Town Hall. – Following its relocation, this donated 558-square-foot log cabin constructed in the 1880s will undergo restoration so that visitors can enter and learn about its history in the community.
WFHB Community Radio for expenses associated with partnering with Limestone Post on a new weekly series called Deep Dive: WFHB and Limestone Investigate. – Grant funding will be used to conduct audience engagement workshops, reach underserved communities, and cover important local topics, including community health, housing, the environment, and local government.
Heading Home Grants
In Summer 2022, the Community Foundation awarded six nonprofit organizations with Heading Home Grants. A total of $200,000 was awarded as part of this funding initiative.
Beacon, Inc. for a capital campaign feasibility study, architectural designs, and land assessments associated with a new facility that would combine and expand essential services for people experiencing property, hunger, and homelessness. – This grant will enable Beacon, Inc. to explore the development of a multi-tiered building that would centralize and expand essential and emergency services and housing stabilization in one location with co-located space for local health and substance misuse programs.
Bloomington Housing Authority to establish a rent deposit funding program to reduce financial barriers for low-income residents to secure stable housing opportunities. –Available to income-qualified renters, deposit assistance will be provided to an estimated 50-75 individuals per year as zero interest, flexible loans that can be repaid over time in alignment with participant income.
Catholic Charities Bloomington to support the Parent Empowerment and Child Therapy Program, a collaboration with New Hope for Families. – Through this program, low-income families threatened by homelessness will have on-site access to mental health services, including attachment-based child therapy and parenting empowerment support groups. New Hope’s early childcare educators will also receive evidence-based trauma therapy training to support children at the Nest.
Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM) to expand no-cost mediation services through the Housing and Eviction Prevention Project, a program that provides free landlord-tenant mediation services, legal advice, social service/rental housing assistance referrals, and court navigation support. This grant will enable CJAM to provide advanced eviction-court mediation training, develop mediator recruitment strategies, and expand its capacity to serve more clients.
Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) to expand its Self-Sufficiency Center financial assistance program, which provides rent, mortgage, and utility payments for low-income families and individuals at risk of eviction or homelessness. Grant funding will allow MCUM to expand financial assistance to 200 more families and increase Self-Sufficiency Center outreach to landlords and community members.
New Leaf, New Life (NLNL) to enable 35 formerly incarcerated people to move into transitional housing with transportation vouchers and basic needs for employment such as clothing and shoes. In addition to NLNL’s transition navigation services, this grant will provide initial funding for these individuals to establish immediate transitional housing increasing the likelihood of them remaining sober, healthy, and employed.
Creating Community Grants
In December 2021, the Community Foundation awarded nine nonprofit organizations with Creating Community Grants. A total of $154,036 was awarded as part of this funding initiative.
Cancer Support Community South Central Indiana to develop a mural and launch a therapeutic art program – CSCCI has a new building where as many as 1,800 cancer patients, families, and caregivers receive free support programs beyond clinical care. This grant will fund a mural that inspires hope near the entrance and an art therapy program to complement existing support services.
Canopy Bloomington to pilot the “Youth Tree Tenders” program. This education and awareness initiative will employ six high-risk teens to learn about urban forestry, enhance Bloomington’s existing trees, plant new trees in low-canopy neighborhoods, and improve environmental literacy in the community.
Danny Smith Memorial Park to fund renovations to this community park near Unionville. As the only park in northeastern Monroe County, this multi-use gathering and play space serves 5,600 nearby residents through a variety of recreational activities. These enhancements will fund a new playground and update an existing playground and basketball court.
Edgewood Early Childhood Center to construct a new outdoor shelter for outdoor classes and community events. While current COVID protocols do not allow parents or visitors inside the Center, this new covered shelter will include seating for parents and guardians to join their child(ren) for meals and create a permanent gathering site for educational and community events.
Friends of Lake Monroe to support the Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan and a contract watershed coordinator. A watershed coordinator will develop education and outreach to protect and enhance Lake Monroe. The coordinator will organize community forums and launch a pilot program to assist homeowners in maintaining septic systems.
Indiana University Arts & Sciences Council to support the “Granfalloon” event scheduled for June 2022. Inspired by Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut, this festival celebrates civic engagement, independent thought, art, and creativity.Grant funding will support programming and speakers on the topics of advancing local diversity and inclusion, environmental advocacy, and sustainability.
The Project School to install a small learning garden and creative play space. Located on a formerly vacant lot, this “mini-park” will feature raised gardens, storage sheds, art installations, and green space. The multi-use space will be open to the public and used for a variety of educational and recreational programs.
Sycamore Land Trust to restore and stabilize streambanks and trails at the Powell Preserve along Beanblossom Creek. Funding will allow SLT to install erosion control measures, protect access to trails, and improve the water quality along the creek. Once these and other needed enhancements are completed, the preserve will reopen to the public.
WFHB – Bloomington Community Radio to resume the Youth Radio program. This program aims to train youth ages 13-20 with skills in broadcast radio, podcasting, and journalistic reporting to produce live programming each week. WFHB hopes to involve 25 young people in the program each year with an emphasis on underserved youth as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion.
To see more grants awarded in 2021 & 2020, please view the Community Foundation COVID-19 Response page.