Community Foundation of Grant County Secures $60,000 GIFT VIII Planning Grant

Funding will Drive Collective Impact Initiative Addressing Child Poverty

Community Foundation of Grant County Secures $60,000 GIFT VIII Planning Grant

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 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 will have the opportunity to request funding to implement strategic initiatives and activities developed during the planning period that address especially compelling needs in Grant County.

“The Community Foundation believes our most pressing challenges are our most pressing opportunities—a chance to make a significant difference for people who need it most,” said Brown.

Despite progress in child poverty rankings, the Foundation recognizes the ongoing need, especially amid the challenges exacerbated by COVID. Community listening sessions will be conducted to gather updated insights, ensuring responsiveness to evolving needs. Thriving Grant County emphasizes its role as a convener, bringing local groups together for strategic and collaborative funding efforts.

To propel this initiative forward, the Foundation has made strategic organizational changes, appointing a new Community Leadership Director and actively participating in regional development initiatives. The Foundation’s role as a leader is evident through its involvement in various community planning committees and collaborations with educational institutions.

The Foundation outlines a comprehensive plan encompassing stakeholder collaboration, data assessment, consensus facilitation, future planning, and community data sharing. The Foundation aims to be a data-driven resource for the community, tracking progress on key issues through a public data dashboard.

Recognizing the importance of collaboration, the Foundation will renovate a building to house multiple local nonprofit organizations, fostering a collaborative spirit and promoting shared resources. The move is aligned with the Foundation’s goal to be a role model for collaboration, ensuring a collective approach to community improvement.

Learning from previous grant opportunities, the Foundation acknowledges the importance of external expertise and capacity building. Engaging Transform Consulting Group and Ball State Indiana Communities Institute for strategic planning and community visioning, the Foundation aims to execute a transformative plan that will positively impact Grant County for generations to come.

Lilly Endowment created the GIFT initiative in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges and work with other organizations to help their communities thrive.  Through GIFT VIII, Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $210 million to support Indiana’s community foundations in growing their financial resources and further strengthening their ability to address their community’s highest-priority challenges and opportunities.


About Lilly Endowment Inc.: Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

About the Community Foundation of Grant County, Indiana, Inc.: The Community Foundation of Grant County is an advocate for local philanthropy and is dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Grant County area. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1984, the Foundation works with donors to establish charitable funds and supports nonprofit organizations through a variety of grantmaking efforts. The Community Foundation connects people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact for the betterment of Grant County. Currently the Community Foundation holds over 400 charitable funds that support a variety of charities and charitable causes in Grant County. For more information, please visit or call 765-662-0065.

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