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“Some people swear there’s no beauty left in the world, no magic. Then, how do you explain the entire world coming together on one night to celebrate the hope of a new year?”, so says Hillary Swank as Claire Morgan in the movie New Year’s Eve. I’m a sucker for a rom-com, but an ensemble rom-com like this one, wherein the characters intertwine in each other’s lives, weaving a tapestry by the end of the movie that makes you feel like you’re wearing your most comfortable, weekend sweats. All of the plots, literally, twist! Ahhh, it just makes you feel so good. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve needed to call in the reserves lately for all things that bring tidings of comfort and joy. Thus, why I am just adoring the fact that this past Sunday, on January 17, 2021, the classic girl next door, Betty White, celebrated her 99th birthday. If a calendar could give a hug, this would be the day it would happen! It’s just so heartwarming to think of America’s sweetheart marking her 99th trip around the sun, albeit in quarantine. Optimistically, she said she’s looking forward to safely celebrating with her favorite friends...

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” Sound familiar? While it seems like it could have been written just yesterday, it comes from A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens (yes, that one!) in 1859. The passage suggests an age of radical extremes—and if that doesn’t describe 2020, I don’t know what does. Oddly enough, it made me think of an old quote from Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look...

We’re gearing up for the holiday season here at the Community Foundation, And we’re taking some fresh advice from BIGFOOT on how to be a Social Distancing World Champion with our 2020 Holiday Gift Giving Guide. Let us do the 2020 Santa-tized, hand-washed, socially-distanced, face-covered, warm-hearted Gift Giving for you! We even promise to not lick the envelope. (That made us laugh out loud, but we’re 100% serious!) First, our mission is to connect people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact for the betterment of Grant County. So, we’re taking a moment to connect you with a few resources that will assist you in your 2020 Holiday Gift Giving with a donation that will last far beyond the holiday season. Below are a few strategies for end-of-year giving that will provide you some tax savings advantages if you make your gift by December 31st. It’s as easy as 1-2-3: Step #1: Decide WHO is on your 2020 Holiday Gift Giving List; especially think of those people who ‘have everything’ or are difficult to buy for: Make out your 2020 Holiday Gift Giving List. Include their names and addresses. You’re also welcome to include a short message to customize your Holiday Tribute card....

275 people living in poverty. 100 residents. 45 influencers. 18 leaders. One word. Why? That question, asked of leaders in the for-profit, non-profit, education, and church sectors has driven every inquiry, every activity, every meeting across our community for the past year as we engage in community-led strategies for systems change. It is what has led to this day, these conclusions, and this proposal. Why? Why does Grant County have the highest state child poverty rate? Why is child poverty the most challenging and important systemic issue our community faces? Why? Our Story: Grant County, Indiana, is caught up in what it used to be. False narratives paralyze us into believing plant closings, brain drain, and the twists and turns of a changing economy preclude our county from becoming a thriving place to live, work, and raise a family. “Grant County is always looking in the rearview mirror, managing demise instead of envisioning a future,” says one frustrated resident. The Result: Community values set long ago have not shifted to today’s reality. Grant County ranks among the worst counties in: child poverty (#1); food insecure children (#1); mothers who smoke during pregnancy (#1); single parent families (#2); students passing IREAD at 3rd grade (#6),...

Donors, like you, entrust the Community Foundation of Grant County to be your CHARITABLE CAMPSITE, to focus on the most pressing local needs and to continuously ensure your charitable goals are met. Thank you! When you make a gift to the Community Foundation, you are part of a community that believes Grant County can become even stronger in 2021 than we were in 2019. Who cares about 2020, right? When you work for a non-profit charity, you quickly learn two things: (a) not all wealthy people are generous, and (b) not all generous people are wealthy. Once you realize this, your main job consists of two things: (1) making a strong case for people to give, and (2) making giving easy for everyone. And, in 2020, there are two things that became abundantly clear for your CoFo Team: 1) WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and 2) even in these unprecedented times, there are still many donors that have charitable goals they’d like to meet. Introducing, the creation of our ACORN FUNDS, allowing you to choose the cause you want to support while also giving you the time you need to reach minimum fund balance, and create your very own FAMILY-NAMED FUND! Here’s How It Works:...

Thriving Mill Township – a new supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Grant County – is launching its work this fall to build a prototype community in the Gas City and Jonesboro area that tests, implements and evaluates systems change and solutions to alleviate child poverty. Earlier this year, the Community Foundation Board of Directors, as part of an ongoing effort to grow the Foundation’s community leadership footprint, approved transitioning Thriving Grant County into a supporting organization under the leadership of the Foundation. With that transition, Thriving will address needs identified during a planning grant phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative. In September, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded the Community Foundation a Community Leadership GIFT VII implementation grant of $150,000 to support Thriving Mill Township. In crafting its grant proposal, the Foundation built on a Thriving Grant County movement that uses a nationally recognized Collective Impact Framework driven by local residents imagining a brighter future.  Thriving was born out of a need to address the critical need of child poverty in Grant County, which currently has the highest child poverty rate in the state of Indiana The goal of collective impact is for community members...

The Community Foundation of Grant County has received a Community Leadership Grant of $150,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative. With the grant, the Community Foundation will grow its community leadership footprint by launching Thriving Mill Township – an initiative designed to drive systems change and solutions to alleviate child poverty. “Every day, 4,469 Mill Township residents living in poverty – or just beyond it – face a resource desert for needs such as food, childcare, and transportation,” Community Foundation President and CEO Dawn Brown said about the Grant County township, which encompasses Gas City, Jonesboro and parts of rural Marion. “This grant will allow the Community Foundation to launch Thriving Mill Township in a community well suited for scaling impact and promoting sustainable solutions.” The Community Foundation of Grant County is one of 84 foundations in Indiana receiving grants through this round of GIFT VII grantmaking. Lilly Endowment created GIFT in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges. It launched GIFT VII in 2018 and made available a total of $125 million to help foundations strengthen their leadership capacities...

Launching soon, is the Bridge the Gap Loan—a new alternative to payday lending in Grant County will provide financially vulnerable families with convenient, small-dollar, low-interest, flexible-term loans. This innovative hybrid loan program will provide families with immediate access to the cash they need to provide some much-needed financial stability—especially due to COVID-related financial strains—while also helping them build a savings account for future financial security. The alternative payday lending program is made possible through a unique partnership between Afena Federal Credit Union and the Community Foundation of Grant County. The alternative payday lending program was designed to help financially under-resourced families in three ways: 1) By providing affordable financing to assist families in getting back on their feet once they return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic, 2) By helping financially under-resourced families build an emergency savings account, and 3) By helping income-vulnerable families improve their credit scores. Using an impact investment strategy, the Community Foundation has agreed to invest $1,000,000 in the alternative payday lending program for the next  five-years. The Foundation’s commitment will be used as collateral for the loans, allowing Afena to provide payday alternative loans for as many individuals as possible until the five-year program timeline is completed...

Indiana Wesleyan University and the Community Foundation of Grant County have partnered to establish the CAPE II Career Exploration Grant. The purpose of this grant is to financially support Grant County, Indiana organizations that offer career exploration experiences, provide career guidance and counseling, and encourage workplace internships and job shadows. Indiana Wesleyan University and the Community Foundation of Grant County will partner to determine distribution of funds. “It’s so wonderful to be able to talk to the community about how IWU and the Community Foundation are working together in this meaningful way,” said Dawn Brown, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Especially, since our next grant cycle will focus on building stronger relationships with community partners, just like this!” The Chair of the CAPE II Career Exploration Grant Committee will be the Associate Dean of Life Calling and Career at Indiana Wesleyan University (a non-voting position), two additional members appointed by Indiana Wesleyan University, and two additional members appointed by the Community Foundation of Grant County. Funding will be administered by the CAPE II Career Exploration Grant Committee with these applicant priorities: • A preference will be given to existing organizations that serve Grant County students. • Provide career assessments and/or career resources to...

First of all, we miss you! We miss nouns! We long to see people, go places, and do things. But, until these unprecedented times return to precedented times, this eNewsletter will have to suffice. We’re writing today to remind you how important the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors and Team believe it is to communicate with you as to how the recent economic trends have impacted our organization. For instance, instead of diamonds, many are choosing to invest in commemorative jewelry such as these stunning earrings to always remember the year 2020—like we’d ever be able to forget 2020! ALL KIDDING ASIDE, the Community Foundation prudently follows nationally accredited policies that govern our investment practices in good times and in bad. Our funds are managed by Capital Cities LLC, a team that is knowledgeable regarding the long-term investment philosophy shared by community foundations across the country. We are also fortunate to have a dedicated group of local volunteers serving on our Finance Committee. This Committee meets quarterly to review investment performance, and, when necessary, adjusts our asset allocation to align with the policies that are in place. These individuals serve with a strong sense of fiduciary responsibility and love for Grant...