A Message From Dawn

I think I might be old. I don’t feel old. And no small children have pointed at me in Hobby Lobby and innocently exclaimed, “Look at that old lady, mom!” But, 2019 has flown by. Holy cow—it’s April and Spring already! My grandma always used to say that the older you get the faster time would fly. If your time is also flying, please remember this:  you are the pilot. We live this out at the Community Foundation and, as pilots of our destiny, plot our course intentionally at every turn. In fact, the new President/CEO of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Claudia Cummings, visited our office recently. The first thing she said when she walked in was, “Wow, I feel like I’m at Disney World!”  We couldn’t have said it better. The look and feel of our office represents our culture, and it was designed on purpose. Sure, Disney’s marketing budget is much bigger their ours, so they can claim the title of the happiest place on earth. But in reality, the happiest place on earth is really our office; it’s just that Disney doesn’t know it yet. It’s also one reason that we’ve adopted the moniker this year of “The Happiness Laboratory”....

“We’ve got a good one for ya today!” bellows Steve Harvey nearly every weekday evening as we’re preparing dinner and decompressing from the day. Jerry and I always compete to try to outwit each other. He’s pretty good. We laugh at the answers—good and bad, theirs and ours. We laugh at Steve Harvey—he’s so much funnier than Richard Dawson used to be; he just kissed every female contestant, and that was just gross, even back then. And, we laugh at that fifth family member. You know the one; they never have good answers, but they cheer wildly for their family. No doubt, that’s part of the fun; it’s the recipe for game show gold. And, we always judge whether we think they picked the best two family members to play Fast Money. We wonder if they predetermine that decision or if they wait to see who plays the best? We don’t know for sure, but what we do know is that Steve always hits them on the shoulder with his cue card if they’ve nailed it—always. Just watch. He does it every single time. And there’s something about winning $20,000 in Fast Money that makes full grown adults jump up...

I’ve been tired this week.  All in favor of blaming winter say ‘aye’.  While it’s true that it’s dark when I wake up and dark when I get home from work, ultimately, I think that re-entry is hard…even if you love your job.  The time off during the holidays spoils you.  Cuddly blankets by the fire and predictable Hallmark movies on 24/7 where Nick (his name is Nick most of the time) always wins the girls heart in the end--you know this because he finally kisses her and the most beautiful white snowflakes begin to fall.  Add all that to staying up late, sleeping in later, decadent food, and the frivolity that extra time provides for friends and family and what do you get?  You get entering 2019 tired.  Or in my husband’s case, entering 2019 re-tired. I know what you’re thinking--how can someone so young and vivacious as me possibly be married to someone old enough to retire?  LOL!  Probably the same way I’m old enough to have a son with a beard!  Somewhere along the way, we blinked, and the years caught up with us. Beware, it happens when you least expect it. As most of you know, my husband...

Remember that scene in Elf where Buddy is in the mail room?  He said, “This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop, except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.” I laughed out loud when he was sticking mail through the tube and declaring it was ‘very sucky’? Well, we haven’t exactly replicated that at our house, although having a son in Afghanistan is pretty sucky. But, we have set up a  mini-post office in our kitchen. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my son has been in Afghanistan for the past five months.  Five months that felt more like five minutes—under water.  So, to help the time slip away a bit quicker, for us and him, we send care packages…every week.  So, at all times, we have a couple of corrugated boxes that we’ve snagged from anyone who has recently got an Amazon shipment and we fill them up a bit each day.  Since he’s at a base camp, and not an actual base, there are no grocery stores or amenities like we enjoy.  So, if he’s craving some Oreos, he can’t just drive down to a convenience store or up to...

She was feisty. No one would argue that fact. Well, they could try, but they wouldn’t win. I think it must run in our family. The feistiness. Or maybe that’s just what feisty people say. No matter what you call it, the stories are worth remembering and, I think, repeating. Her name was Elvie. Not ElviS, as in the King of Rock and Roll. But ElviE, as in the Queen matriarch of our family. She was as beautiful as she was bold. As an adult, I totally get her—she made things happen. As one of her grandkids, I was occasionally mortified. I know my cousin Cathy remembers well, ‘that one time’ when we were nine-years-old, following our grandma to the back of Kmart. Elvie was in Indiana visiting and took us ‘into town’, as she called it. Her mission that day was a new set of pots and pans for my mom. Chances are my mom didn’t even know she needed a new set of pots and pans. But, Elvie thought she did, so it was happening. However, since grandma wasn’t from Grant County, she didn’t know the layout of the store, so she was having some difficulty locating exactly...

The Nonprofit Leadership Consortium has started with a full-capacity class of 30 students. The cohort will meet monthly for this capacity building training to earn their Certificate in Fundraising Management from IU’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and also sharpen their leadership development skills with Harris International. This capacity building training is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of the nonprofit. When capacity building is successful, it strengthens a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing the nonprofit’s ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities. Capacity building is whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future. Individuals come from all over the world to earn their CFRM from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The certificate normally costs an individual $5,800+travel expenses. Because the training was brought to Grant County, each student is receiving their CFRM for only $1,500. The remaining costs are being underwritten by a partnership between the United Way of Grant County and the Community Foundation of Grant County. Dawn Brown, President/CEO of the Community Foundation stated, “Although...

Eight years ago, my son’s baseball team had just played their final game of the season and we were looking for a way to celebrate their hard work all summer. In my normal go-big-or-go-home fashion, I had this wild idea that we should take the whole team and their families to an Indianapolis Indian’s game. You’ve probably been to an Indian’s game before—good, old-fashioned family fun. But, I didn’t just want them to go to see a minor league game, although I knew they’d love it. My hope was that they would get to experience some things most of this team had never experienced in their short ten years on earth. We don’t think about this much, but with 1 in 3 children living in poverty in Grant County, some of the team had never been outside of our county before. Not only had they not been to a minor league game, most had never even seen the skyline of a city like Indianapolis. Not surprisingly, they hadn’t done these kinds of things because there just wasn’t money for extravagant activities like this, which would be costly for an entire family. But, they were awesome kids and I was on a...

Here at the Community Foundation, we've been connecting people who care with causes that matter since 1984. That’s why we’re always sharing good news! We do that by telling stories about generous donors and bragging about the multiple successes of local charities and scholarship recipients right here in good ‘ole Grant County, Indiana. If you'd like to learn more, read through a few of our most recent annual reports. 2017-18 The Happiness Laboratory Annual Report 2016-17 Love Where You Live Annual Report 2015-16 Cookbook Annual Report 2014-15 Superhero Annual Report 2013-14 Celebrating 30 Years Annual Report 2012-13 Tattoos, Dog Biscuits & Lemonade Annual Report 2011-12 Many Thanks Annual Report 2010 Transformation Annual Report ...

Here at the Community Foundation, we love connecting people like YOU with causes that matter. We recently revamped our website to make it easier to navigate and make those connections. One way you can help is by visiting our Donor Marketplace and reviewing the information listed on your fund page. Something we have learned throughout the years is that potential donors respond to stories. We all love stories – stories that make us laugh, stories that make us cry, and most importantly, stories that compel us to work towards the betterment of our community. It is often stories that create the impact that leads to action. We want potential donors to read your stories and be inspired to join you, so we encourage you to look at your fund page, especially your fund story, and make sure potential donors’ questions are answered. We've created the brief questionnaire below to help you in helping us to tell your story. It's setup in a way that will allow you to skip the questions that are not relevant to your story. You can even submit photos for us to post on your fund page. Answer all of the questions or only the ones that are...

I count things.  I realize not everything that counts can be counted, but I still count things—by twos.  Some people might think it’s an obsessive compulsive disorder.  I like to think it brings more order than disorder.  And if you read my last blog about Wardrobe Wearabouts, the Dewey Decimal System I created for my closet, I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you.  But, many years before that, back when life was simpler, kids were expected to play outside, and weren’t expected to come home until the street lights came on—that’s how our summers were spent and we loved it.  I remember coming home after playing and sweating in the hot sun all day, covered in dirt, tan from the sunshine, and plumb tuckered out. My siblings and I would take a bath and prepare to watch Donny and Marie or Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters—variety shows were so ‘in’ back then—no wonder America’s Got Talent is so popular these days; it’s good, clean family fun. I’d prepare our pre-show bedtime snack of Coca-Cola and M&M’s, something we looked forward to all day long. The three of us would share a bottle of Coke—a real, 16-ounce, glass bottle that we’d return to...