This week the Community Foundation and the Smithville Charitable Foundation announced the recipients of the 2014 Community Impact Grants. From an original pool of 45 applicants, sixteen organizations received grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for a total of $406,000 in financial support. While every grant funded has the potential for creating substantial impact, several also represent new approaches to addressing significant needs or opportunities in Monroe County.
- Lettuce Works is a social enterprise inspired by a successful model from another state. Through this enterprise, South Central Community Action Program will help low income individuals, primarily those with disabilities, improve their job skills by employing them to work in greenhouses growing hydroponic produce year round using no pesticides or herbicides. The produce will be sold to local restaurants and stores.
- The Bloomington Economic Development Corporation will work in collaboration with the Franklin Initiative in piloting a “Coding School” to provide software coding courses to help area workers and job seekers qualify for technology-based jobs. Additionally, they will offer coding training for area youth to prepare them for employment in the high growth technology sector. Other collaborators include Envisage Technologies and WorkOne.
- Habitat for Humanity will launch a family self-sufficiency program designed to help families stay in their homes or qualify for Habitat homes. The goal is to change habits and alter long-term financial behaviors through intensive budgeting and financial training paired with peer group support. In addition, the participants’ children will be engaged in a mentoring program designed to encourage them to pursue post-secondary educational programs.
In 2011, the Community Foundation shifted its grant making away from smaller, project based grants to focus on funding charitable efforts that have the potential for encouraging change and creating solutions to the issues that impact our community. Smithville Charitable Foundation joined the Community in funding the Community Impact Funding Initiative and, three grant cycles later, 57 grants have been awarded through the initiative for a total support of just over $1.1 million. Requests that include innovation, collaboration, and capacity building receive priority in the evaluation process.
Other grants receiving support through the initiative in 2014 address a broad range of community needs ranging from the arts and graduation coaching in the public schools, to nutrition for those facing food insecurity and capacity building support for area nonprofits. Additional recipients include:
- Susie’s Place – Bloomington will expand their capacity to provide investigation and intervention support in bullying and school harassment situations.
- Stone Belt for Project Search, a program that prepares young adults with disabilities for competitive employment through classroom experiences and total immersion in business internships.
- Stepping Stones for a year-long capacity building initiative designed to help the organization achieve the next level of operational and programmatic maturity.
- Roundabout Opera for Kids will complete the development of 12 unique operas for young audiences in local elementary, middle and high schools.
- Monroe County United Ministries will reopen and sustain a preschool room for 2 year olds in an accredited program for less advantaged youth.
- Monroe County Public Library will complete the startup and implementation of Nonprofit Central, which provides resources, expertise and training to local nonprofits.
- LIFEDesigns will merge two summer camp programs to increase educational retention over the summer months in an inclusive environment for young people with disabilities.
- Ivy Tech Foundation for an Advanced Manufacturing Initiative that will build a regional partnership tasked with bringing advanced manufacturing training and career opportunities to the region. Training will focus on the manufacturing process, safety, maintenance and quality practices.
- Hoosier Hills Food Bank for the Garden Route on Wheel (GROW) to deliver fresh produce to organizations and partner agencies serving those dealing with food insecurity.
- Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Foundation for the Graduation Coach Initiative, which provides one-to-one focused counseling support for at-risk students to ensure they graduate from high school.
- First Book Monroe County to supply 8,000 books to low-income children ages five to eight in area Title 1 schools.
- Ellettsville Fire Department for the purchase and replacement of essential fire hoses.
- Amethyst House for the transition to electronic healthcare records.
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 has granted $18 million to more than 380 local nonprofit organizations. Our $20 million endowment is growing and so is the difference we make 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, they work closely with community foundations in surrounding counties and support a variety of causes related to religion, education, health, relief of poverty or distress, and various public organizations.