Throwback Thursdays

A new bike-sharing program at Taylor University is hoping to entice students to ditch the cars and instead pick up a bike for campus travel. Dubbed “Taylor Taxi,” the private Christian college’s newest program designed to promote and encourage sustainability transforms abandoned bicycles and turns them into public, free to use bicycles students can use to get around campus. Mike Guebert, professor of earth and environmental science at Taylor and the program’s director, said the bike-sharing program is part of the university’s focus on providing sustainable and healthy options for students. The program is part of the larger Up-Cycle Project that aims to make a sustainable transportation plan, with an emphasis on use of bicycles for student and faculty use, both on and off campus. Funding for the Up-Cycle Project came from grants by the Woman’s Giving Circle, the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Community Foundation of Grant County. In all totaling a little under $30,000 was raised for the program. “We want to make it more appealing to students to ride their bike instead of their car around campus,” Guebert said. The project launched with a total of 33 repurposed bicycles painted yellow and marked to let students and faculty know it’s a...

Every year, 12.7 million people in the United States are raped, stalked, or physically abused. Hands of Hope, a division of Family Service Society, has the goal to eliminate that risk in Grant County for everyone at risk, male or female. They provide a shelter for victims to stay in for up to 45 days, counseling, support groups, and legal process assistance. Hands of Hope “exists to prevent domestic and sexual violence and stalking through education, advocacy, and intervention strategies.” The Community Foundation of Grant County has given multiple grants to Hands of Hope to help them fulfill that purpose. One recent of $5,800 went towards counseling domestic violence victims and their travel expenses, health and prescription medicine for clients, and a store at the shelter for clients to purchase goods they need. Another grant in December 2013 of $19,458 helped with much-needed repairs and maintenance, like utilities, lawn care, snow removal, carpet cleaning, and new sheets, that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. It also helped kick off Expect Respect, a campaign geared towards motivating young people to not tolerate stalking or domestic violence. Linda Wilk, the director of Hands of Hope, and Susan Miller, Director of Compliance and Resource Development, have the goal...

With increasing economical pressures and greater demands for particular job skills, having the knowledge and ability to get a job and knowing how to manage finances is becoming a necessary skill. Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana meets the needs of 4th through 12th grade who need to learn about these real world experiences by blending them with what is already being taught at schools. Junior Achievement’s goal is to expose students to basic business concepts and the skills that enable them to understand real-life economics. This gives them understanding regarding economic choices and consequences and prepares them for economically independent futures because of their financial management skills.  They execute this through two programs: Finance Park and BizTown. Finance Park is a one-day field trip to Fort Wayne for middle and high school students where they explore and develop financial literacy and money management skills. Adult volunteers lead them through financial issues like incomes, budgets, personal and family expenses, savings, and retirement planning. They also get the chance to look at potential job interests. BizTown is an interactive classroom experience simulating and encouraging active participation in a developing community. Students learn about the economy, enterprise, philanthropy, and government as they start their own...

With rising school costs and growing needs in the Marion community to support young women and their career develop, an organization that gives them the tools and empowerment needed to realize dreams and make them happen can be a life-saver. Thankfully, GROW Nurses in Grant County does just that, as they work to provide an avenue for women to do so. In 2014, GROW Nurses received a $5,600 grant from the Community Foundation to take their students who needed to be exposed to outside health care arenas, like hospitals and education programs, on field trips. Field trips provide students a way to see hospitals and long-term health centers in action, which sets them up for job opportunities and career advancement. The mission of GROW Nurses is “to reduce health disparity in Grant County through a community-wide partnership to encourage and assist local, diverse individuals to become nurses and nurse educators.” Their partnership between Indiana Wesleyan, Ivy Tech, and Tucker Center “has been very energizing to collaborate rather than compete,” according to Carol Bence, coordinator of GROW Nurses. “It helps to empower students and come alongside them who may not have a lot of support to help navigate career options outside of high school,”...

The Marion community has become a place that welcomes creativity and expression through music, dance, and theater thanks to organizations like Marion Community School of the Arts (CSA) and the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). Recently these organizations have started to partner together to create more opportunities for people to get involved and see Grant County citizens creating great art. One way this happened was through a joint grant of $10,000 in spring 2014 from the Community Foundation. Two thousand dollars of grant supported a beginning violin program at CSA to purchase books, music stands, furniture, and to tuition assistance for students. The remaining $8,000 was split between CSA and MPO to advance the Nutcracker performances on December 5th and 6th. The violin program has allowed young people desiring to learn the basics of the instrument to get quality instruction in an encouraging environment through weekly lessons and small groups. Christina Brandle teaches the classes at CSA and is really encouraged by “lots of little eyes watching from the other side of the glass windows when we do both lessons and group,” which she believes will help others catch on with the idea to do something similar too. The second annual Nutcracker performance has...

Cancer Services of Grant County received their first grant from the Community Foundation in 1999 and since then they have helped thousands of cancer patients in Grant County. The Community Foundation has given numerous grants to them throughout the years that have provided cancer education, essentials for keeping the office running, and much more. Because of the funding given to them, Cancer Services of Grant County’s impact has changed the lives of countless people.  The Community Foundation has mainly contributed to the purchase of educational resources that have helped people in Grant County detect cancer before it takes over. Because of these resources, lives are saved every year. Grants have also contributed to the purchase of office essentials like copiers, printers, cabinets, and much more that have made daily operations of the office more efficient. Jennifer Lane-Riefler has been the Executive Director of the organization since 1999. They received their first grant from the Community Foundation in December that year and have continued getting them since. She is marked by a passion to know people and to equip them to fight. Her desire is to provide a holistic outlook to patients; deeper than cancer treatment and prevention itself friendship, joy, and the...