A Message From Dawn

The year was 1983. It was the beginning of big things to come, even though I didn’t know it yet.  That was the year that my now-husband, Jerry, and I went to prom together.  Well, technically, not together-together. We double-dated. He went with my friend Janet. I went with his friend Jimmy. And, although it was a memorable night, it wasn’t a great one. Jimmy got pulled over for speeding… and got a ticket—so it sort of ruined the mood. But that evening was just a precursor to 1984—when Jerry and I officially started dating and then later when we had our prom encore (promcore 😂) and went to prom together-together <insert all the heart eyes here>. Several hand-written letters, zip codes, and phone calls stood between that summer and July of 1993, when we finally got married. How did those years seem to move slower than dial-up internet; but somehow the last 28 years flew by quicker than a Jeff Bezos rocket to space?  We’ve traded those long-distance letters for text messages, long road trips to see each other to planting roots and making a home and family. And from selling our plasma to pay the long-distance phone bills for...

Christmas in July happens on the Hallmark Channel, but Christmas in June happens when this mama has both of her boys home and gets to say, “Brown, Party of Four” once again.  As many of you reading this know, once they leave the nest, the times when everyone is all under the same roof again are few and far between.  Our dog, Rocket, is plumb tuckered out.  He has played until he was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the hardwood floor.  We enjoyed several campfires, a few s’mores, and a big family cookout.  God bless my husband for cooking over a hot grill on one of the hottest days we’ve had yet this summer.  By the surprised look on the ‘face’ of the grill, even it was stunned that someone would be standing over a fiery Char-Broil in 90+ degree weather.  But that’s what a man who loves his family does and I love him for it. I had to laugh when I realized that the grill face resembles my own face when I ponder why, in 2021, they still sell packages of 8 hot dog buns yet packages of 10 hot dogs.  Seriously, folks, what kind of conspiracy...

Serving as a board member is one of the most challenging and rewarding of volunteer assignments; especially with a community foundation—we are amazingly complex. So, our team thanks you for considering a position with one of the best non-profit organizations in all of Grant County! While appointment to a board is an honor, board members also have important legal and fiduciary responsibilities. There are three things you'll need to know before you consider serving as a Board Member or Committee Member of the Community Foundation—like a TRIDENT!   [vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" el_class="center"][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text] 1. Annual Giving: Time, Talent, & Treasure [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3" el_class="center"][vc_column_text] 2. Legal Responsibilities: Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, Duty of Obedience [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text] 3. Business Model: Asset Development, Grantmaking, Community Leadership [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" el_class="center"][vc_column width="1/3"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3" el_class="center"][vc_empty_space height="64px"][button size="medium" target="_self" hover_type="default" text_align="center" text="2021-22 BOARD/COMMITTEE MEMBER APPLICATION" link="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CFBoardApp"][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

I love a good rom-com.  Heck, I even love a moderately adequate rom-com—like you’d find on the Hallmark channel any given day of the week.  Sure, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are a quality go-to when you need a tried-and-true pick-me-up.  But you can only watch Sleepless in Seattle so many times—the actual number varies from person to person; I might be holding on at about +/-200.  LOL, please don’t judge me. And that’s why Hallmark comes in so handy.  In the winter months, it always snows at the end of a Hallmark movie…just as they kiss. The lighting is just right and it’s so romantic. Of course, it’s the big, white, fluffy snowflakes, too.  None of those snowdrifts are covered in the gray sludge that you might find on an Indiana street in December, February, or even a random April! Quick sidebar:  What the even heck is going on out there anyway?!  I wonder what April snow showers will bring?  Snow flowers? [vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]   Anyway, the entire 120 minutes of self-care is the classic boy meets girl formula—it’s their hallmark, you might say. The leading lady is always missing something from her life and she’s...

Have you ever seen that movie where the slacker boyfriend arrives to pick up the beautiful daughter for a date with his credo tattoo, ‘NO RAGRETS’, emblazoned boldly across his chest like a Happy Birthday banner? The dad takes one look at his daughter’s poor decision-making and says, “No regrets, huh? Not even a single letter?” It’s funny—if it’s not your daughter. Ironically, I thought of this movie scene recently as I read about a more serious concept—the difference between victors and victims. Two letters. In the book, Victors & Victims, author Ken Harrison posits that those who find success and joy in life are those who know who they are and give it versus those who know what they want and take it. Wow. Let that knowledge nugget sink in for a minute. That’s a powerful thought—made even more powerful by a jovial discussion that happened in the CoFo office this past week. You see, there are a couple of teammates in the office who have actually said OUT LOUD, in front of people—as in not secretly—that they’re beginning to like 2020. <<insert GASP here>> For now, these two colleagues shall remain nameless, although I don’t think they’d even mind if I...

I’ve always said if someone made a movie about my life that Jimmy Fallon would play my husband and Queen Latifa would play me. Why Queen Latifa? I don’t know really. She just always strikes me as a strong, independent woman, and I love her movies. Why Jimmy Fallon? Because I think he’s hilarious. And Jerry is one of the funniest people I know! If you haven’t watched any of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show tapings from the comfort of his own home, with his wife representing the entire camera crew and his daughters, Winnie and Franny, stealing the whole show, you’re really missing out. When Winnie and Franny ‘Boo’ during his Tonight Show monologue, your ears could not hear more joyous little giggles. And for some reason, those tiny soprano ‘Boos’ reminded me of another Fallon skit that he did on SNL…back when SNL was still funny. Remember the “Move” skit? This skit took place in an office environment where they were having a bit of technology trouble—we’ve all been there, right? Instead of helping his officemates figure out how to fix their computers, he simply barks out a demanding “Mooooove!”  I’m sure we’ve all met this tech guy before....

As Shelly said a couple of weeks ago, ‘We’re back’!  That means my blog’s back, too.  Hurray! If feels good.  I’ve missed writing it. I’ve missed the words.  I’ve missed you.  The truth is, Lilly Endowment Inc. blessed Grant County with what I think Texans call a couple few grant opportunities. I’m not sure if that term is a real thing or not.  All I know is that the GIFT VII grant opportunity knocks on more than a few doors and less than some doors—so, a couple few doors. And we’re not about to make them knock twice. As soon as news of this huge investment Lilly Endowment Inc. made in Grant County arrived in my inbox, a different couple few things happened immediately:  (1)  I ran to ring our celebration bell to harken anyone who happened to be in hearing distance at the time to the workroom, (2) I took a big breath and then announced this amazing donation, (3) cheers of elation ensued, (4) followed by an unchoreographed happy dance, (5) then 12 quiet seconds [typically timed on Meagan’s cell phone, for accuracy—since 12 seconds is much longer than you think] to think about this amazing gift just long...

The Community Foundation of Grant County received a $75,000 Community Leadership Planning Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This grant will deepen the Foundations understanding of the challenges facing Grant County due to our high rate of child poverty, the opportunity to convene key local solution-oriented stakeholders, and both the time and funding to further explore how we can effectively play a leadership role in implementing initiatives—all strategies that enhance the quality of life in Grant County. Lilly Endowment Inc. challenged 94 community foundations across the State of Indiana to become stronger community leaders. This grant will better position Indiana foundations to serve their communities and lead the charge to prioritize the issues they are best positioned to address. This grant is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s seventh phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative.   The GIFT initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen Indiana communities and has been a priority of the Endowment since the first phase of GIFT in 1990.  The initiative’s primary aim is to help Indiana community foundations develop the philanthropic capacity to identify, prioritize, and address local opportunities and challenges. The Planning Grant will give the Community Foundation both the time and money to...

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...