Grant dollars make a big impact across Jackson County. Recipients attest to their effect.
“We see families daily enjoying the Discovery Stations and the kids just don’t want to leave,” Jackson County Public Library head of youth services Lola Snyder told me recently. She was talking about learning and discovery stations installed at the libraries in Crothersville, Medora and Seymour.
A $2,238 grant last autumn from the Community Foundation of Jackson County’s fall grants cycle helped purchase the equipment. We’re delighted with the learning stations’ success.
Elsewhere in our community, Grassy Fork Township Volunteer Fire Department bought hoses and other equipment for its new tanker truck with a $5,000 fall grant, including a $2,500 match from Jackson-Jennings Co-Op.
And young children from Crothersville to Medora and from Norman to Brownstown and from Seymour to Reddington will benefit this next school year from a $5,000 fall grant to the On My Way Pre-K program, administered by one of our community partners, the Jackson County Education Coalition.
The staff at the foundation and our 20-member board of directors, with a little help from other community volunteers, do our best to prudently administer more than $10 million in assets to generate earnings that are granted for scholarships, classroom education grants, community impact grants and our fall grants cycle.
Work on this year’s fall grants is already underway. Over the next several weeks, foundation vice president Sue Smith and I answer questions, review drafts and accept applications. Forms are available online at cfjacksoncounty.org. The deadline for receiving applications is Aug. 1.
Once the deadline passes — there are no deadline extensions — Sue will review the applications for compliance (all applications must involve 501(c)3 organizations or governmental units), our grant committee, which consists of Board members and community volunteers, will conduct site visits to review the applicants’ requests and their needs.
Two factors that can play a role in determining grants include whether a nonprofit organization’s board is engaged financially and whether other funding sources are being pursued for the project. We like to see board members with skin in the game, and we support the concept of bringing funding partners together to deal with community issues and needs collectively.
Once the site visits are completed, the foundation staff and grants committee convene to determine which applications will be awarded grants. This will take place in September, and our full board of directors will consider the recommendations in October. While we’d like to say every organization that applies receives funding, we can’t.
Last year, for example, the foundation approved 20 fall grants totaling $35,244 with earnings from unrestricted and field of interest funds. Eleven other grant requests, however, were denied last fall. There simply weren’t enough grant dollars.
This year, the foundation board of directors approved a granting rate that will pay out more than $345,000 in grants from scholarship funds, donor advised funds, designated funds, agency funds and unrestricted funds. That’s up from $328,073 approved for 2015 and includes more than $38,000 for the fall grant cycle.
We hope to see the amount of earnings available for scholarships and grant opportunities bump up in the next couple of years because of our success in bringing in more than $1 million in newly endowed gifts through the recently completed Lilly Endowment GIFT VI program.
And your gifts, of course, can help make those grant dollars grow, too. If you would like to donate to any of the foundation’s endowed funds or to create your own fund, call me at 812-523-4483. We can discuss your interest in helping others in the community and how to make your assistance a reality.
Your endowed gifts can, through prudent investment, generate earnings for scholarships, classroom education grants, fall grants, agency grants and community impact grants to help people all across Jackson County. Over and over, year after year.
Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County. The foundation administers m
ore than 140 funds with assets of more than $10 million. For information about how you can make a donation to any of the funds administered by the foundation or how you might start a new fund, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.