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I was at a CEO Retreat recently for CoFo leaders. They do this every year because of the stress that comes with the job of being a CoFo CEO. Being around others who do the same job is a good reminder that we’re not alone! There was a time at the end of the Retreat where they did High Fives—where anyone could share a great idea with the group for 5-minutes. What surprised me about that section of the day was how varied the ideas were. You see, when you’ve met one community foundation, you’ve met one community foundation. They’re all so different even though the missions are the same. I wondered about this on the drive home. How is it that we can all be in our communities leading, grantmaking, and fundraising yet still be so remarkably different? And I think the answer all lies in where we choose to say YES. There are so many good ideas! If we say YES to every good idea—even if the idea aligns with our mission—we’d be exhausted and burn out quickly. It was a good reminder that we must do LESS but do it WELL. Yet, it’s hard to say NO; especially if the idea is a good one! I...

Remember your first broken heart? I do…vividly.  I was 6-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary. I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart. So, I tried again. This time with determination. This time with feeling. This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut. Success…my very first paper heart. It was like time stood still and for a moment and all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical heart—and not one of them was to a spouse! I mean I’m all for a date night with my hawt husband! <hubba, hubba> But, Valentine’s Day should be much more than that! It deserves to be a national reminder highlighted with bold chocolates, italicized with flowers, and underlined with $8 dollar Hallmark cards to show and tell those we love that we love them. That means All The People That We Love! In grade school, we never sent just one Valentine—every kid in the class got one! But somewhere...

The Community Foundation of Grant County is collaborating with Creative Insight Community Development and Ball State Indiana Communities Institute to craft a strategic vision for Grant County. According to Meagan Mathias, Community Leadership Director of the Community Foundation, "These listening sessions represent a crucial opportunity for our community to come together and shape the future we want to see for Grant County. By collaborating with residents from all corners of the county, we can ensure that our strategic vision reflects the diverse perspectives and needs of our community." These sessions offer an opportunity for community members to contribute to the shaping of Grant County's future through data snapshots, vision sharing, and collaborative brainstorming on key issues. While each session may focus on regional discussions, they are open to all community members regardless of location. Each session will cover the same materials, ensuring that every participant has an equal opportunity to contribute. The Foundation is hosting regional community listening sessions to gather valuable input from residents. Regional session locations and times: February 8, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM at Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township (121 E South A St, Gas City, IN 46933) February 15, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM at the Grant County Fairgrounds (1403 E State...

We’re working with Creative Insight Community Development and Ball State Indiana Communities Institute to craft a strategic vision for Grant County. Please join us at these regional community listening sessions! Let's shape the future of Grant County together with data snapshots, vision sharing, and collective brainstorming on the big issues. Plus there will be PIZZA!! 🍕 Regional session locations and times:    February 8, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM    Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township    121 E South A St, Gas City, IN 46933    February 15, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM    Grant County Fairgrounds    1403 E State Road 18, Marion, IN 46952    February 22, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM    Sweetser Wesleyan Church    200 W Delphi Rd, Sweetser, IN 46987    February 29, 2024, 8:30-11:00 AM    (morning session)    Grant County Fairgrounds    1403 E State Road 18, Marion, IN 46952    March 7, 2024, 5:00-7:30 PM    Upland Community Building    557 W Washington St, Upland, IN 46989 Though there may be regional discussions at each session, these meetings are not limited geographically. Any community member is welcome to attend any session. For more information, contact Meagan Mathias: Meagan@GiveToGrant.org or 765-662-0065 To learn more about why we are engaging in this work, click to see a copy of our most recent Strategic Plan – A strategy of hospitality...

The Community Foundation of Grant County has received a $60,000 planning grant as part of the eighth phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s initiative, Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VIII). With the grant, the Community Foundation will leverage the Collective Impact Framework as a strategic initiative to bring together cross-sector partners, nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses to work towards a common agenda focused on collaborative community-building to address child poverty and related issues. In 2015, Grant County ranked No. 1 in the state of Indiana for the percentage of children living in poverty. That above-the-fold headline was the catalyst that led partners to work together to seek solutions resulting in the formation of a supporting organization for the Community Foundation of Grant County called Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township. “Thriving is a collective impact initiative driven by residents who are imagining a brighter future,” said Dawn Brown, president/CEO of the Community Foundation of Grant County. “Through the execution of the collective impact method of community-building, we have learned the importance of doing things ‘with people’ and not ‘to people’. This is why we’d like to continue utilizing this approach with our Phase I Planning Grant.” The Community Foundation of Grant County is...

The East Central Indiana region of Grant County, Blackford County, and Jay County has received a $60,000 planning grant as part of the eighth phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s initiative, Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VIII). With the grant, the partnership between the Community Foundation of Grant County, the Blackford County Community Foundation, and The Portland Foundation will join forces to tackle critical workforce challenges and enhance opportunities for students in the region. The collaboration, driven by shared concerns over the aging workforce and economic disparities, aims to prepare 4,623 students in grades 7-12 for successful careers. The regional partnership is one of 92 community foundations and affiliate funds in Indiana receiving planning grants through GIFT VIII. These grants are designed to help community foundations collaborate with local partners to engage broad and diverse stakeholders in their communities and deepen their understanding of their communities’ highest-priority challenges and opportunities. In 2024, the community foundation partnership will have the opportunity to request funding to implement strategic initiatives and activities developed during the planning period that address especially compelling needs in the East Central Region. The joint planning initiative, facilitated by Project Leadership, seeks to bridge the gap between education and employment. By...

The Community Foundation of Grant County is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Grant County - Adrian Jeter (Mississinewa) and Ian Davis (Mississinewa). Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are known for their community involvement, academic achievement, character, and leadership. Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years. The scholarship is for full-time undergraduate students leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects both current scholars and alumni with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and Indiana Humanities. In determining Grant County's Lilly Endowment Community Scholar nominees, consideration was given to financial need, work history, community service, school activities, and interview performance by the Community Foundation LECSP Nominating Committee. After the field of applicants was narrowed down, nominees were submitted to ICI, the statewide administrator...

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and the Community Foundation Team is ready to assist you with your year-end giving. To provide you with the best service and to ensure your charitable gifts qualify for a tax deduction, we’ve put together the following tips and important reminders.   Donate gifts to a charitable fund - Charitable donation check: Must be postmarked on or before Sunday, December 31, 2023. - Charitable donation online: Donate via the Donor Marketplace on or before Sunday, December 31, 2023. - Charitable stock donation: Must be received in the Community Foundation's brokerage account (Schwab) by 4PM on Friday, December 29, 2023. Delivery periods can vary; please consult with your advisor to plan accordingly. - Wire and ACH transfers: Instruct your financial institution to ACH/wire your contribution to be delivered on or before Friday, December 29, 2023. - Gifts of Cryptocurrency through FreeWill: Must be received into the Community Foundation's account by 4PM on Friday, December 29, 2023. Delivery periods can vary from 2-5 days. - Review other ways to give that will support your charitable goals here.   Make a grant from your donor-advised fund - Submit your request by 4PM on Friday, December 15, 2023. - To expedite grant processing, submit your request(s) through the Fund Contact Portal.   Holiday hours Our...

Lilly Endowment Inc. has launched the eighth phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative, allocating up to $210 million to help Indiana community foundations strengthen the quality of life in the towns, cities and counties they serve. The GIFT initiative is based upon Lilly Endowment’s longstanding belief that community foundations are uniquely positioned to play central roles in building the prosperity of communities throughout Indiana. Through this new GIFT phase (GIFT VIII) Lilly Endowment has invited the Community Foundation of Grant County and other eligible Indiana community foundations to participate in three funding opportunities designed to help them grow their financial resources to enhance their effectiveness and promote long-term viability; further strengthen their abilities to lead on important community priorities; encourage board engagement; and support and develop strategic efforts to enhance quality of life in their communities. The grant opportunities include: • Matching Fund Grants, which will enable community foundations to develop unrestricted assets, implement projects and programs that address community needs, and build their internal capacity. Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $135.3 million for this opportunity. • Community Leadership Grants, which will enable community foundations to continue to seek input from a diverse range of community stakeholders and,...

FreeWill makes it easy and convenient to create your last will and testament. Despite the critical role that estate planning plays in safeguarding one's legacy and providing for loved ones, nearly 67% of Americans still do not have an up-to-date will. This information serves as a reminder that taking action on estate planning is essential for individuals and their families. Estate planning is the process of leaving comprehensive instructions for managing various aspects of life, including finances, healthcare decisions, and more. These plans govern asset management, future care preferences, and the charitable legacies individuals wish to leave behind. Additionally, estate planning simplifies the probate process, appoints guardians for minors and pets, prevents conflicts over asset distribution among loved ones, and facilitates charitable gifts. Key components of an effective estate plan include personal identification documents, last will and testament, revocable living trust, beneficiary designations, advance health care directives, financial power of attorney, deeds or titles, and funeral instructions and wishes. Contrary to common misconceptions, estate planning is not limited to the wealthy. It is a crucial step for individuals from all financial backgrounds. As over $80 trillion is projected to pass from today's older generations to their heirs in the next two decades, the importance of...