A Message From Dawn

I got a wicked sinus infection last week that had me down for the count all weekend.  I only tell you this as a mild excuse for binge-watching the entire first season of Fuller House on Netflix on Saturday.  Uncle Joey with his ‘cut it out’ line, Uncle Jessie’s ‘have mercy’ mantra, and Stephanie’s ‘how rude’ refrain gave me the nostalgia feels. Maybe it was because the show aired before I had either a car payment or a mortgage, but times seemed simpler then.  The humor, innocent; the jokes, corny.  Times were simpler. As kids we would play outside all day long in the summertime…ALL DAY LONG.  The rule was that we had to be home when the street lights came on and even then we’d negotiate to play just a little bit longer.  I remember well coming home hot and sweaty, lathering up in a hot bath, putting on cool PJ’s, and filling a Dixie cup with precisely counted M&M’s as our snack while we watched the Donny and Marie variety show—she was a little bit country; he  was a little bit rock and roll.  We really knew how to squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of life before we started...

There’s nothing quite like working with Millennials that will make you feel older than discussing songs, bands, actors, or shows that they have never heard of in the entirety of their young lives. Sherri and I have taken it upon ourselves to educate our teammates on Def Leopard and their one-armed drummer, Rick Allen. Then this past weekend we got to explain that the star of a current hit movie is actually the daughter of Don Johnson…which they vaguely knew as ‘The Miami Vice Guy’. So, I knew there was no way they would know about a favorite show of mine from my childhood, Family Affair. The show featured Sissy, Buffy, Jody, and their caregiver Mr. French. Played by Sebastian Cabot, Mr. French was an English gentleman’s gentlemen to bachelor-uncle turned instant-parent, Bill Davis, in this sitcom of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although there were many episodes of the show that I remember fondly, I loved the one where Mr. French prepared the children a meal of ‘Untidy Josephs’. After all, you can’t really be cultured if you’re eating regular ol’ Sloppy Joes now can you? I love the simplicity of this concept. The meal was basic hamburger mixed with some...

Once upon a time I only cheered for two football teams, the Colts and whoever was versing (as my son used to say) the Patriots. But, when Peyton Manning went to the Broncos in 2012, part of our Hoosier hearts went to Denver. A new era dawned where it was officially acceptable to begin supporting a new team. We had an Orange Crush on the Denver Broncos. It was 1998 when both my family and Manning moved to Indiana—coincidence? Peyton had signed a ginormous rookie contract with the Colts franchise; we were simply coming back home. My guess is that Manning had no idea at that time that he would think of Indiana as home one day, too. As any Hoosier knows, Manning wasn’t just another quarterback. He was different. Special. Reporters and fans alike began to see signs of just how special early on when he was asked what he was going to do with a record-breaking, rookie-making $48M salary. The 22 year-old Manning replied, “Earn it”. And that he did. He would live, eat, and breathe football. That’s what makes him a football genius. Yet some accounts depict him as completely inept as basic tasks like hooking up a DVR or...

It’s true.  Even in the middle of a bitterly cold Indiana winter where the wind chill is as negative as the nightly news, it’s all rainbows and lollipops at the Community Foundation.  We can’t help it; it’s our mission.  We connect people who care with causes that matter like it’s our job—because it is!  None of us are shy about sharing what we are blessed to do for a living.  In a nutshell, we get to help the most generous people in our community learn how to make donations to help the most worthy organizations and people in our community...

Like many of you, I had a couple of days off over Christmas so I gave myself the gift of reading.  A friend of mine loaned me a book he enjoyed titled Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Sadly, no relation…because he’s a brilliant writer).  I’m so glad Keith shared this book with me because if he hadn’t, I assure you I never would have picked it from a shelf.  I’ve never been accused of being athletic, or event coordinated, so the sports genre isn’t my ‘go-to’—and this book is about the 1936 American Olympic Rowing Team.  I laughed.  I cried.  I was inspired.  I was sad when I finished it.  There is something to be said about the story of an underdog…or a team of underdogs.  Add in an Olympic berth and you can’t help but cheer on the salt-of-the-earth, work-for-all-you’ve-got, never-say-die group of nine men that brought home the gold from Germany in 1936.  Then, the author threw in a bit of romance and he had me at hello!  This book had all the ingredients of a great story…and so does Grant County. Last year brought us contradictory statistics noting our children as the first most impoverished...

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, someone who works at the Community Foundation may or may not have been born in a car in the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie Grocery Store.  Unfortunately, her parents didn’t name her Dixie, so it could be any one of us.  We all have a story.  We’re all writing our story each day in what we do, how we help, who we love.  I write this blog just to tell you about a few of them, because they’re remarkable.  Author Donald Miller says, “A good writer can make just about anything interesting because they know everything is.”  I love that!  I believe that.  That’s exactly why our annual report this year was titled, “Not All Superheroes Wear Capes”. We’ve been having big fun at the Community Foundation toying with our theme.  We’ve been saying things like ‘truth, justice, and the American Way’, talking about the variety of superpowers at our disposal, and dropping action words like BOOM!, POW!, and yes, Sherri Rush…BIFF! like they are part of our common, everyday language.  But, the best part of it all has been concentrating on all of the humble, ordinary people in Grant County doing extraordinary...

-by Dawn Brown Our community has failed our children. Under no circumstances will people say, We care for the next generation. That’s an untruth, the reality is Our community has been an utter disappointment. In believing that We actually succeeded Is destructive. It’s true that Looking out for #1 Is what’s best. Working together, for the greater good, with hopefulness Is a ridiculous notion. Disregarding our children Will be a difficult task, but we should do it anyway. Making Grant County a better place Isn’t something we’ll be remembered for. Abandoning hope Is how we approach adversity. All-hands-on-deck Isn’t going to happen. We all know that Most think we are destined for failure. It’s probably true, Unless we decide to flip the script. (Now read this poem from the bottom up.)              ...

The taller the hair, the closer to Jesus.  I’m not sure if I learned that during the Aqua Net era of the 80’s or while I lived in Texas.  But, the 80’s are long gone and everything’s still big in Texas, so that should tell us all something. It was the fall of 1990 when I met a fellow teacher, future roommate, and lifelong friend, Julie.  As a Hoosier, known as a Yankee in those parts, I was just learning the lay of the land in the Lone Star state.  I wasn’t even saying y’all, fixin’, or drinking sweet tea yet!  And I certainly wasn’t prepared for my first car ride with Julie—the one where I learned two important life lessons from the state of Texas:  (a) Nothing happens as fast as Texans drive fast and (b) Like it or not, country music is a stellar storyteller. You see, in Texas there is the fast lane and then there’s the really fast lane—that’s it.  You lead, follow, or get out of the way.  And while that may work in on Texas highways, it rarely works anywhere else—especially in communities trying to make significant change or sustainable impact.  Dr. Wright, President of IWU,...

Someone once told me, “If Clorox Bleach, the county fair, and M&M’s could all use your mission statement, then it’s probably not tight enough.”  True enough.  That’s the beauty of the Community Foundation of Grant County.  Our target area is easily defined in our very name…Grant County.  And our mission is true to form:  Connecting people who care with causes that matter.  So, in our little section of the world it’s paramount that we do our best to help the most generous people in our community find the most worthy causes in our community.  I guess we’re like philanthropic matchmakers…not eHarmoney, but pHarmony! So, when we began noticing ‘donation dumpsters’ littering the parking lots all across our community, we thought we should check them out.  Sure, the bins seemed to provide a concrete convenience and their request to feed them with donations pulls at your emotional heartstrings…seems like a match made in heaven, right?  Wrong.  This is what common-day marketers refer to as sticky. The old Trix Cereal campaign from the 1960s (YES, that long ago!) was sticky; Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.  The message sticks with you even after all these years.  Sticky messages are straight forward, yet tug at your...

It’s getting close to Halloween.  How can I tell?  Well, my 8 year-old niece keeps offering to do small chores around our house if we agree to pay her in Hershey bars.  Deal!  (Her parents may not be aware of this arrangement; it may be best—for me and her-- to keep it that way, if you don’t mind.)   This is one reason why Katie loves to come and visit the Community Foundation; Halloween or not, we have a year-round Candy Bar.  It’s a unique way to interact with donors and county visitors when they walk in to drop off donations, mail, or simply to learn more about Grant County.   One donor comes in several times a month instead of mailing her donations.  She said her husband likes it when she picks up some “sweets for her sweetie”.  We ran into another donor at lunch who said he was going to be stopping by soon and hoped we would have his favorite York Peppermint Patties when he came by.  (Meagan ran over to CVS right after lunch and we were ready when he came in to make his donation a few days later.)  Our little Candy Bar is just part of...