Tribune staff reports

Young boys and girls across Jackson County will receive life advice from adult volunteer mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana.

New fire hoses and other equipment will aid volunteer firefighters when their new tanker truck rolls up to a house fire in Grassy Fork Township.

And Jackson County residents needing a hot meal will find a warm, comfortable space this winter to share that meal with others at Matthew 25 Street Ministries.

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Those outcomes result from two members of the Community Foundation of Jackson County board of directors extending the reach of the fall grants cycle with matching dollars of more than $8,300, boosting grants to $43,595.71 total.

Ron Sibert said his employer, Jackson-Jennings Co-op, will fund a $2,000 grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters and a $2,500 grant to Grassy Fork Township Volunteer Fire Department, and Andy Royalty said he and his wife, Misty, will match a $3,894.35 grant to Matthew 25 Street Ministries for a new heating and cooling system.

The grants are among 20 approved Oct. 22 through the fall grants cycle, aimed at improving life throughout Jackson County.

“We appreciate Andy and Ron stepping up when they saw that those grants might go unfunded,” said Dan Davis, president and CEO of the foundation. “Every autumn, the grants committee faces far more requests than we’re able to fund.”

That was the case this year, too, with 33 grant applications totaling more than $186,000. Earnings from unrestricted and field of interest funds that finance fall grants totaled $35,244.

“That’s a real disconnect,” Davis said.

With the unmet needs exceeding grants each year, the foundation’s board of directors and staff are exploring possible ways to narrow that gap. Under consideration is the creation of a matching program to boost the balances and earning power of existing funds administered by the foundation.

“Our experience has shown that many funds started at the foundation do not see follow-up donations once established,” board member Tom Lantz of Seymour said. “We’re exploring ways of re-engaging donors and finding new donors to encourage giving to those existing funds and possibly starting new funds. We need to find ways to help fund those unmet needs each grant cycle.”

Among those unmet needs included applications for grants to assist people struggling to return to the workforce, support services for people who have found new jobs and after-school programming for area children. Some other fund requests were trimmed.

The approved fall grants increase the total of grants awarded by the foundation so far this year to more than $318,000. They include $73,836.67 in scholarships, $130,901 from endowments for nonprofit agencies, $4,178 from donor advised funds and more than $55,000 in grants to various Jackson County charitable organizations.

The foundation’s board of directors approved the fall grants following recommendations from the grants committee, which consists of board members and community volunteers.

“A majority of the grant dollars are funded through what are called unrestricted endowments with the purpose of using earnings from donors’ gifts to benefit Jackson County,” Davis said. “Our grants committee, with the experienced assistance of Vice President Sue Smith, does a thorough job of reviewing applications and conducting site visits to ensure that community needs are being met.”

The foundation offers endowment services, gift planning, charitable gift annuities and scholarship administration. For information or to make a donation, call 812-523-4483.

At a glance

2015 fall grants

The following fall grants were approved:

Actors Community Theater of Seymour Inc.: $1,300 for production equipment

American Red Cross: $1,000 for the Home Fire Preparedness Project

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana: $2,000 for Jackson County mentor programs (with funding coming from Jackson-Jennings Co-op)

Brownstown/Ewing Main Street: $500 for the Ewing Depot restoration

Child Care Network Inc.: $1,000 for 2016 Kids Fest

Developmental Services Inc.: $2,000 for a storage facility for mobility equipment

Fort Vallonia Association for the Joe Jackson Hotel: $2,000 to drywall the first floor of the Joe Jackson Hotel

Freetown Improvement Association: $2,000 for a museum annex

Grassy Fork Township Volunteer Fire Department: $5,000 for hoses and equipment for the new tanker truck (a donation of $2,500 from Jackson-Jennings Co-op will provide half of the grant)

Hoosier Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America: $1,000 to install steps at Maumee Scout Reservation

Houston School Restoration Committee: $500 toward the purchase and installation of year-round heating and cooling units

Jackson County Education Coalition: $5,000 for required matching funds for the On My Way Pre-K project

Jackson County Public Library: $2,238 for learning and discovery stations

Jackson County United Way: $1,500 for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Leadership Jackson County: $2,000 for a literacy book for preschool-age Jackson County children

Matthew 25 Street Ministries: $7,788.71 for a heating and air conditioning upgrade (gift from Andy and Misty Royalty will fund half of the grant)

Reins to Recovery Inc.: $3,469 for the Take the Reins Program

Southern Indiana Center for the Arts: $1,300 for a 15-by-20-foot frame tent

Thrive Alliance: $1,000 for the Foster Grandparents program

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services: $1,000 for Jackson County Latina services

Source of grant dollars

Sources of grant dollars

The following endowments and field of interest funds supported unrestricted grants this year:

Aisin U.S.A. Manufacturing Inc. Endowment

The Donn Bishop Memorial Endowment

The Don Bollinger Memorial Fund

Jackson County Community Endowment

Bob and Kate Hall Endowment

Jackson County Unrestricted Endowment

The Thomas J. Lantz/Montgomery, Elsner and Pardieck Community Endowment

Psi Iota Xi Sorority, Alpha Beta Chapter Endowment

Potts Family Endowment

SIHO Insurance Services Community Endowment

The Virginia G. Otto Endowment Fund

The Irwin Union Bank and Trust Co. Fund

The Cartwright Endowment for the Arts

Granger H. and Ruth M. Smith Drug Abuse Prevention Fund

Carl Hemmer Memorial Fund (performing arts)

Tri Kappa Endowment (charity, culture and education)

The Shelter Fund (homelessness)