The Community Foundation of Grant County has deep roots in our community. We were established in 1984 as an organization that could pool our resources for the benefit of improving the local quality of life. We serve as a means through which those of us who live or earn a livelihood in Grant County could build, over time, substantial endowment funds for Grant County through contributions large and small. To learn more about the seeds of generosity being planted by people like you at the Community Foundation, read our current Annual Report.

Our Mission

The mission of the Community Foundation of Grant County is to connect people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact towards the betterment of Grant County.

The Community Foundation of Grant County serves donors, nonpro­fits, and the community with the intent of building endowments to provide income for local charitable causes now and forever.


  • Develop a permanent endowment for the community.
  • Serve donors with various interests at various levels of giving.
  • Assess and respond to emerging and changing community needs.


  • A commitment to ethical behavior
  • A welcoming and inclusive environment
  • A spirit of openness and collaboration
  • A desire for continuous learning and innovation
  • An appreciation for geographic boundaries
  • The celebration of success
Meet the Team

Dawn Brown

President / Chief Executive Officer & Donor

Sherri Rush

Chief Financial Officer & Donor

Shelly Jones

Development Manager & Donor

Meagan Mathias

Community Investment Manager & Donor

Hannah Yopp

Solutions Coordinator & Donor

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Dan Carey, Board Chair
Dr. Kyle Speakman, Board Vice Chair
Marty Harker, Board Treasurer
Cory Powell, Board Secretary
Valerie McHarry, Past Board Chair

Mark Atkinson
Carol Brown
Heath Crouch
John Gould
Jeannette Hoeksema
Chris Kennedy

Jennifer Lee
Mylon Logan
Eric Marshall
Dru McCoy
Andre Payne
Keith Puffer

Our History

1984 - 1985

1984 What began as an idea and then a Chamber of Commerce Task Force; The Community Foundation of Grant County, Indiana, Inc. was incorporated. Founding Board Members stepped forward to serve. Chuck Osterholt named first Executive Director. Gannett Foundation made first $40,000 gift.

1985 Began meeting, established statement of purpose and formed committees. Developed criteria for the distribution of funds. Received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Held first Annual Meeting.

1986 - 1990

1986 First funds were established. First grants were awarded. Held first “Skins Game” to raise funds for the Foundation. Second major gift of $30,000 received from Gannett Foundation bringing total gifts to $132,000 since inception.

1987 Began educating Board Members on Planned Giving concept. Developed first marketing plan.

1988 Developed Executive Director job description and contract. Hired Lois Ball as second Executive Director. Printed the scholarship survey notebook. Conducted first strategic plan. Total assets exceeded $100,000

1989 Published first newsletter. Help fund and participate in COMPASS community needs assessment. Began “Give Five” program to give five hours a week and five percent of income to philanthropy. Visit from professional consultant Helen Monroe.

1990 Number of Funds has grown to twenty-two. First Fund Raising Workshop held. Established a clearinghouse for nonprofit furniture, equipment and supplies. Assets reach nearly $150,000

1991 - 1995

1991 Hired Elizabeth Wright as Executive Director. Began receiving GIFT (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) grant monies from Lilly Endowment Inc. Established goal to reach $5 million by year end 1996. Lilly Endowment Inc. granted $107,620 for operations and $1.7 million for endowment growth.

1992 Formal Investment Policy adopted and first professional money manager hired. Bylaws were revised and updated. Specialized software was purchased to monitor all fund activity. 27 endowed funds and 15 non-permanent funds. Assets grew to more than $1.3 million with $500,000 major gift from L. Hewitt and Amelia Carpenter.

1993 Staff increased to include two part-time individuals. One accountant and one clerical support person. Fund raising and grant writing workshops were held. Marketing efforts increased tribute gifts to the Foundation. Total funds reached 62 in number. More than one million in endowed gifts generated slightly over $500,000 in Lilly matching dollars.

1994 Local Rotarians challenged other clubs and organizations in the community to contribute for matching dollars. Funds exceed the 70 marker. Accounting and estate planning seminars held. Reference Library on grant writing was purchased and housed at Marion Public Library. Assets total nearly $2.5 million. A special project grant of $100,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. helped with the $200,000 raised locally for the Waterfront Parkway Project and the Business Education Partnership Program expansion.

1995 Funds have increased to over 90. Hosted not-for-profit organization seminar. Completed Lilly Endowment asset building challenge six months early with outstanding community support and a million-dollar gift received from Robert and Janis Board bringing total assets to nearly $5.5 million.

1996 - 2000

1996 Helped to establish new community foundation for Blackford County with Executive Director serving as a consultant/part-time director. Hosted strategic planning, grant writing and endowment building seminars. Made first proactive grant. Applied for GIFT Phase II grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Funds total 120. Assets have grown to nearly $7 million and more than $1 million distributed back to community.

1997 First Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship offered for 1998 graduates. Specialized software for community foundations purchased. $250,000 special project grants were awarded including $50,000 to the Waterfront Parkway Project and $50,000 to the Business Education Partnership. Completed GIFT Phase II challenge early by raising $500,000 locally to generate $500,000 for unrestricted endowment. Completed GIFT Phase III in six weeks by raising more than $1 million in new gifts to generate another $1 million in match from Lilly Endowment Inc.

1998 Adopted special affiliation with the United Way. First Youth Grant Program was established to teach youth about philanthropy. Developed mission: To enhance an improved quality of life in Grant County. Assets exceeded $10 million with 144 funds being administered.

1999 Participated in Lilly Endowment Inc.’s GIFT Phase IV Program. Office Building was acquired, renovated, decorated and equipped with Lilly matching monies. Leased office space to the United Way. Hosted legal training seminar. Executive Director traveled to Russia representing Indiana Community Foundations. Assets total more than $16 million with 153 funds. In three years, Blackford County Community Foundation assets total more than $3.5 million.

2000 Supported and acted as neutral convener of Framework for Change. Began community strategic planning sessions for CAPE (Community Alliances to Promote Education). Adopted Ethical and Operational Standards for Community Foundations. Completed Taking Stock Self-Assessment of the Foundation funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Successfully completed GIFT IV raising $100,000 locally to receive $300,000 for operations from Lilly Endowment Inc. and $1.2 million to receive another $1.2 toward endowed funds.

2001 - 2005

2001 Received $50,000 CAPE Planning Grant for community convening to identify greatest educational need. Awarded $300,000 to CAPE Consortium of all Grant County schools. Applied for GIFT Phase V from Lilly Endowment Inc. $5 Million CAPE grant was submitted to Lilly Endowment Inc. 40 organizations applied for Foundation’s $600,000 impact grant monies. $200,000 was awarded to St. Martin DePorres Community Center and $400,000 was given as a challenge to the YMCA toward their building campaign. Received $5 million CAPE (Community Alliances to Promote Education) for Grant County community with Indiana Wesleyan University acting as grantee with Foundation’s endorsement.

2002 Conducted an updated strategic plan for the Foundation. Hosted a grant writing workshop for area nonprofits. Successfully completed GIFT Phase V operating challenge raising $100,000 locally to receive another $100,000. We received nearly $300,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. matching a like amount raised for unrestricted endowment.

2003 Hired professional investment consultant to monitor investment portfolio. Revised investment and spending policies. Total funds were at 185.

2004 Celebrated Foundation’s Twentieth Anniversary. Gave special $20,000 grant. Executive Director traveled to Eastern Europe representing Community Foundations. Provided special $40,000 last dollar needed to complete Boys’ and Girls’ Club new facility campaign. Participated in United Way 4-Community grant for Grace House. Funds exceed 200 with $14 million in endowed funds.

2005 Applied for CAPE III funding of $800,000. Project Leadership staff funded by CAPE II were moved to Foundation Office. Statement of Ethical Principals adopted. Total funds at 225. Foundation’s total assets reached $17.7 million mark. $800,000 was received from Lilly Endowment Inc. for CAPE III to further sustain existing CAPE II programming. $250,000 was also received from Lilly for Sustaining Resource Development to help the Foundation become self-sufficient.

2006 - 2010

2006 Created Community Development Officer and Clerical support positions. Lower level of Foundation building was remodeled to accommodate CAPE staff. Funds total 228 with new gifts totaling $1,624,896

2007 Spirit of Philanthropy Awards created to recognize philanthropic endeavors. Partnership established with IWU, Taylor, Ivy Tech, Economic Growth Council, Gas City and Marion to promote educational opportunities.

2008 Total assets exceed $18 million with 243 individual funds. $1.3 million distributed in grants, program support and scholarships. Foundation celebrated 25th Anniversary. Averaging more than $1 million in new gifts annually and giving back more than $1 million to the community.

2009 Celebrated our 25th Anniversary $1.6 million in new gifts received with $1.8 million in payouts. Fund total reaches 245.

2010 Property behind Foundation office building was acquired and dilapidated structures removed improving appearance of the neighborhood as well as providing additional space for parking. Total assets reached over $19 million with more than 275 funds. Foundation one of first to be reconfirmed as in compliance with the Ethical and Operational standards for Indiana Community Foundations on July 20, 2010.

2011 - 2015

2011 Executive Director Elizabeth Wright announced retirement plans for 2012. Efforts to make Project Leadership its own separate entity were undertaken.

2012 Executive Director Elizabeth Wright retired; Dawn Brown hired as new Executive Director. Project Leadership receives its own 501(c)(3) and becomes an official non-profit organization.

2013 Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Economic Growth Council, and Community Foundation partnered together to create Garfield Garden in the lot behind the Foundation. Our Operating Endowment reached the level of 100% sustainable. We hit $19.M in assets…a longtime goal and amazing achievement.

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Thriving Grant County

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