Grant County Community Corner

Coming to a Community Foundation near you October 13th -17th. [caption id="attachment_1175" align="alignleft" width="295"] Apple Week 2013[/caption] I just love Apple Week.  For those of you just joining us, Apple Week is the way we mark the end of our summer season and the launch into our busiest time of year.  You’ll start to see our information about upcoming scholarships, new grants going out, our annual report, end of year giving, and much, much more in the coming weeks and months. But before we look forward, let’s take a moment to look back on all that Fabulous Foundation Followers helped us accomplish this summer.  (Insert nostalgic music and vignette-styled mental pictures here.) Thanks to 100 volunteer reviewers, our board, and of course, our generous donors, we were able to award nearly $600,000 in scholarship money to college-bound Grant County students.  We switched to an online grant application and had more applicants in one cycle than ever before.  We partnered with AWFA to host a continuing credits seminar on ethics.  We started a new fiscal year with a new budget and had our annual audit.  We hosted a 6-series Board Governance course for our local non-profits, presented by Jim Klusman.  Shelly Jones joined the Foundation team as the new Office...

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but if not, you should have.  Because, when I heard about it, I thought to myself, “Why haven’t I heard about this?”   A couple of weeks ago, Rory McIlroy, playing in the PGA Tour Championship, hit a drive on the 14th hole that ricocheted off a tree, and landed in a spectator’s pocket.  In his pocket!  (Watch the video here.)  Seriously?!  That’s got to be one of the most interesting things ever to happen in the history of golf.  (Personally, I don’t find golf that interesting, so it’s an easy assumption for me to make.) Perhaps more fascinating is how little is being made of such a fantastically ridiculous occurrence.  Even the announcers had minimum incredulity in their voices as they explained the incident.  Just a normal day on the PGA.  Is this not like a million times more extraordinary than a hole-in-one?  McIlroy simply drops the ball near where the guy’s foot was, and plays through.  Extraordinary. The fact is, McIlroy wasn't aiming for that guy’s pocket.  He was aiming at a hole in the ground down the fairway.  And even though he missed the intended target by a wide margin, it turned out to be a much more noteworthy shot. ...

There are many great works of literature out there.  I prefer to read the classics if I have time.  A novel like Anna Karenina can keep me occupied for months.  Or a quick read like The Westing Game can fill an afternoon.  My older brother is a big fan of anything written by Charles Dickens, and my younger brother has been working his way through A Song of Ice and Fire.  My favorite novel is To Kill a Mockingbird.  If you haven’t read it, stop reading this blog immediately, go find a copy, and cancel your plans for the next three days.  But, it seems, I’m leaving out perhaps the greatest book ever written.  I know it must be the greatest book ever written because it causes such high emotion, fighting, and at times, even weeping.  Well, around my house, anyway.  D. J. Steinberg’s, Kindergarten, Here I Come!  Oh, you've never heard of that one?  It’s a must-read.  Really, I must read it every evening when the kids are at my house or suffer the consequences of disappointed children.  Towbin (age 2) thinks KindergartenHereICome is the name of the book’s main character.  And using the clues throughout the book, we’ve been able to...

Dad and I have spent the summer on a killing spree.  Okay, that sounds bad, but we’ve really invested a lot of time and energy into effectively eradicating the weeds in our lawns.  It’s become just short of an obsession for both of us.  Whenever we see each other, the follow-up question to “How are you?” has become, “How is your lawn?”  So far we’ve tried three different weed killers, not including the ground clear.  Dad’s even doubled the recommended concentrate-to-water formula.  We’ve seen clover brown, crabgrass wilt, and broadleaf plantain literally curl up and die, but there’s one weed that we just can’t beat:  Creeping Charlie.  Even the name sounds villainous.  Creeping Charlie is a ground ivy with a will for global domination- or at the very least, domination of your entire lawn.  It chokes out the grass, and even the clover, to become the only green thing in the yard.  Because it’s ivy, it’s hard to pull, and because it’s evil, it’s hard to poison.  Rumor has it that a well-timed application of the herbicide Triclopyr in the fall will keep it at bay the next spring, but I’m somewhat skeptical of a poison with a seven month incubation...

Oh, I know they’re not mine, not really.  When a student receives a Community Foundation scholarship and becomes a #CFScholar, they are one of many many students who have accepted a Community Foundation award over the years.  They are Board scholars, and Lilly scholars, Fessenden scholars, Elztroth scholars, and Grant County Medical Society scholars.  They are Marion, Eastbrook, and King’s Academy scholars.  They are IWU, Ivy Tech, and Ball State scholars.  They are Grant County’s hope, and their parent’s pride and joy. But, I can’t help but feel a personal connection to each one.  After all, I know their names, read their emails, peruse their applications, chat with them on the phone.  I even get to visit with some of them when they come into my office to make sure they’re all set for the year.  Recently an IU-bound freshman stopped in to ask my advice on books and bikes.  We weighed out the options.  This week, a seasoned senior came in to drop off paperwork and shared with me why he loved his school and what he’s planning for his future.  These are the things that make my job the best-job-in-the-whole-world-ever.  More than a name on a check, these students...

If you’ve ever been the caregiver of a two-year-old, you’re familiar with their sneaky ways.  They could be devastated over a toy one minute, tearing through your house the next, and following you around with tears and a blankie, begging you to pick them up, all in a five minute time span.  Though I’ve heard clanging dishes, Lego’s hitting the floor in mass, and the piano being pounded mercilessly, nothing sets me to motion faster than silence.  My suspicions go on high alert and I become the sneaky one, creeping through the house to find my nephew at whatever task he’s attempting in curious silence.  I understand his intentions (probably) aren’t devious, but in the two years I’ve known him, I’ve learned he can’t be trusted. For example, yesterday I was sitting at the piano with my niece working on a song.  He was with us for a while, playing and singing, and then vacuuming the floor.  But in a moment, I noticed his absence and perceived that he was in the kitchen.  When I went in to investigate, he was “helping” me by unloading the dishwasher.  What could I do?  I try not to scold positive behavior being executed poorly. So,...

I seem to have misplaced a hippopotamus.  Easy enough to do, really, when you consider all the big things coming in and out of the Foundation office.  Yesterday, no matter which office you were in, the person behind the desk seemed to be doing this: Between Dean’s List Barbie, the Lilly Grant opportunity, closing a fiscal year, and processing nearly $600,000 in scholarship awards, the plates around here just keep spinning.  But we had to pause long enough to get our world-famous eNews into the hands (er, computer screens) of our Fabulous Foundation Followers! We’re going to make some big announcements in the coming weeks, so keep watching our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. And as far as that hippopotamus is concerned, be on the lookout.  He’s gray, he’s adorable, and he’s the size of a postage stamp.  And his head pops off.  Because he’s a USB drive.  Like these guys here:   If found, please return to the Community Foundation, ATTN:  Program Dept. Plate Spinner....

Step 1:  Reconsider. If you want to know how good your relationship is with someone, ask them to move a piano for you.  If they still love you when it’s over, your relationship is rock solid.   But don’t be surprised if instead, you never hear from that person again. An upright piano can weigh anywhere from 300 to 800 pounds.  That’s a lot of pounds.  So, when I asked my dad and two of my brothers if they would move my piano to my house a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was a major favor.  The kind of favor that gets brought up multiple times, for years to come.  But they agreed to it without any murmuring.  Step 2:  Lift the piano onto a dolly. I’m so aware of my own limits and weaknesses that I thought it would be impossible for four men to lift that piano onto a dolly.  I was wrong.  It should be noted that I couldn’t even push the piano one inch, throwing all of my weight into it, even though it was on casters.  Step 3:  Wheel it up the ramp into Dad’s truck- which he drilled holes into the tailgate of, just so we could secure...

It’s a ceremony dedicated to the end of an era.  And yet, it marks the beginning of better things to come.  As a parent, or a doting auntie, there is a rush of emotion when you see your baby walk across the stage as everyone applauds.  For some, it’s an expectation.  For others, it’s an outright miracle.  Where did the time go?  It was only yesterday that they were learning to walk!  It’s both proud and bittersweet.  A moment of joy and tears.  I’m talking, of course, about preschool graduation.   Tonight is a big night in the McKnight household.  Our Emerson is about to become a preschool graduate.  For every family, this is truly a special night, but for our family, it means something a bit more.  We didn’t know if this day would come.  Being diagnosed with Williams Syndrome at three months old, and then undergoing major heart surgery right after her first birthday, we weren’t sure what Emerson’s abilities would be.  Even when she started preschool with her typical peers, there was a struggle determining how she could best learn in a classroom.  But thanks to a lot of prayer, a lot of work, and a lot of persistence...

If no one else reads this blog, my mother will.  That’s true of any blog I post.  And even if no one else likes this post, my mother will.  That’s also true of any blog I post.  A few weeks ago, I got to go to the Switchfoot concert at IWU.  And wow.  Just wow.  I have been a Switchfoot fan since my freshman year of college.  For those of you keeping track, that’s nearly twelve years.  My love for Jon Foreman as a songwriter and a performer has only been solidified and intensified each time I see them in concert.  For the teenagers in the front row, rushing the stage, they’re just the guys that sing Who We Are and Dark Horses.  But for the thirty-somethings in the balcony, these are the guys that sing Amy’s Song and Company Car.  Meant to Live and This is Your Life.  I remember driving to Ivy Tech (out in the Tucker building) in my ’89 Chrysler LaBaron with a new cd player installed in the dash.  I wore out my Beautiful Let Down and Learning to Breath albums…and my vocal chords.  I made some of my most important life decisions somewhere between Garthwaite...