GIFT VII Community Leadership Planning Grant

Press Release

GIFT VII Community Leadership Planning Grant

The Community Foundation of Grant County received a $75,000 Community Leadership Planning Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This grant will deepen the Foundations understanding of the challenges facing Grant County due to our high rate of child poverty, the opportunity to convene key local solution-oriented stakeholders, and both the time and funding to further explore how we can effectively play a leadership role in implementing initiatives—all strategies that enhance the quality of life in Grant County.

Lilly Endowment Inc. challenged 94 community foundations across the State of Indiana to become stronger community leaders. This grant will better position Indiana foundations to serve their communities and lead the charge to prioritize the issues they are best positioned to address.

This grant is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s seventh phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative.   The GIFT initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen Indiana communities and has been a priority of the Endowment since the first phase of GIFT in 1990.  The initiative’s primary aim is to help Indiana community foundations develop the philanthropic capacity to identify, prioritize, and address local opportunities and challenges.

The Planning Grant will give the Community Foundation both the time and money to plan for an Implementation Grant of up to $150K!

The challenge before Indiana is for community foundations to intentionally serve as Community Leaders to address a systemic issue specific to each county.  Since community foundations are primarily known for our Asset Development and Grantmaking prowess, it’s time to strengthen and highlight the third aspect of our business model, our Community Leadership efforts.

The Community Foundation of Grant County has been addressing the county’s systemic issue of child poverty since the start of our collective impact effort, Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County. We believe that the work done through Thriving will give us a solid foundation for which to build our Implementation Grant proposal.

“The Community Foundation team has fearless agility in spades. This organization does nothing because that’s the way it’s always been done. They’re always critiquing, pushing, and changing to ensure the mission is served and resources are championed in a way that drives the most positive impact in the community.”— A Community Foundation of Grant County Board Member

The Community Foundation will focus their Planning Grant on 4 key areas: (1) Community Voices, (2) Data Analysis, (3) Best Practices Inspiration, and (4) Shared Learning.

“Our Board of Directors determined in our latest Strategic Plan that we wanted to work to create greater impact in the community—that’s no small task!  That kind of work must be intentional and often requires asking and answering difficult questions. Because our sights were already set on this course, we were thrilled to receive notification from Lilly Endowment Inc announcing GIFT VII and are excited to embark upon the challenge of raising these matching funds for Grant County. We accept this generous gift with vigor and are committed to seeing the GIFT VII matching fund objectives through to completion. Our enthusiasm for this grant is bubbling over!” —Dawn Brown, President & CEO.

Since 1984, the Community Foundation of Grant County has connecting people who care with causes that matter by serving donors, serving nonprofits, and serving as a catalyst for the future of Grant County. It currently offers more than 400 charitable funds supporting a variety of causes in the community and has assets totaling $22.8 million. Since 2014, the Foundation has made grants of at least $1 million annually – last year the total was $1.5 million. The Foundation has a staff of five employees and a board of directors of 20 community members. Additionally, the Foundation has embarked on numerous community leadership initiatives. The most recent community-building efforts include, Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County, the Downtown Marion Revitalization Impact Grant, and the Nonprofit Leadership Consortium.

The Community Foundation is committed to seeing the GIFT VII Planning Grant component through to completion. The knowledge gained through this grant will be critical for Grant County’s next steps. For additional information contact the Community Foundation of Grant County at 765-662-0065 or by visiting

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company.  The Endowment exists to support causes of community development, education and religion.  Lilly Endowment’s community development grantmaking is designed to support efforts that enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis and Indiana.

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