06 Jul Go Big or Go Home
In the words of the great philosopher, Katie of Gas City, (my 8-year old niece), “Go big or go home. And since we’re already home, we have to go big.” Well, there you have it folks. If you’re already home, you have to go big. And, Grant County is our home, so we really have no choice, now do we?
There’s been a wholelotta ‘going BIG’ going on at the Community Foundation lately. We just ended our fiscal year, and although the final count isn’t in yet, it looks like our donations exceed $3.3M this year. The generosity around here just boggles the mind.
In addition to that, we completed our inaugural BIG IDEA grant cycle. For the first time ever, we offered our local charities the opportunity to apply for a grant of +/- $150,000! That’s a considerable amount of money when you see that our average grants in the past were approximately $6,500. There were 38 BIG IDEAS submitted. Thirty-eight! That’s a lot of applications to review and nearly 6 months of meetings before we came to a decision. We had many sidebar meetings with local stakeholders, conducted a great deal of due diligence, and then had even more discussion before we decided to fund not ONE, but TWO BIG IDEAS.
The largest grant was awarded to Launch Marion, a dynamic, affordable business accelerator, small business center, and co-working environment for entrepreneurs, non-profits, small businesses, start-ups, students, and all other types of independent professionals. This new business incubator will provide comfortable, professional work stations, as well as a variety of business resources, to help the people and businesses of Grant County thrive. A grant totaling $170,000 was offered to Launch Marion in the following way:
- July 2015 $50,000, plus a $40,000 incentive if a downtown location is chosen
- July 2016 $2,000 per member up to $40,000
- July 2017 $2,000 per member up to $40,000
In recent polls of local leaders and community members, plus a robust SWOT Analysis, we learned that jobs and job training were top of mind to our local citizenry. Launch Marion is just another type of arrow in our quiver that will allow us to hit the jobs bulls-eye even harder.
Team7 is the second BIG IDEA grant which was awarded to the Affordable Housing and Community Development Corporation in partnership with Project Leadership and Circles of Grant County. This $115,885 grant will allow Circles of Grant County to implement more family mentoring and will emphasize the 40 Developmental Assets through Project Leadership’s Passport program. Both of those programs were born out of the 2012 Synergy Community-wide Forum and both aim to build stronger families…families in poverty, families seeking a better quality of life. As if that trio of a partnerships wasn’t enough, the funding to make it happen was also a triad as the Foundation thankfully partnered with Vectren Foundation who offered a $50,000 donation allowing us to utilize $25,000 of the Lilly GIFT VI matching grant as well. Without those two collaborative partners, we wouldn’t have been able to fund TWO BIG IDEAS! We had to Go Big!
Add those BIG IDEA GRANTS to our regular grants this past quarter and you’ll be wowed: The James Dean Birthplace Memorial, Cardinal Greenway’s Deer Creek Erosion Project, Project Leadership’s Sanborn Scholars Program, Hope City’s New Home for Women Recovering from Addiction, the Courthouse Square Beautification Project, and Family Service Society’s 100 Good Men Program. So, yeah, we took Katie’s phrase to heart, Go big or go home. And since we’re already home, we had to go big. I think it’s going to be a BIG year for Grant County. BIG IDEAS, BIG HOPES, BIG DREAMS, And it makes me happy to call this place home.