Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Finalists 2020

Six Blackford High School seniors have been named as finalists for the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. These six students are (front row) Nicholas Otwinowski, Bethany Elkins, Nolan McConnell, (back row) Ellie Langdon, Straton Stone, and Natalie Thurman.

The winner will be announced in December.

The scholarship provides full tuition for four years at an Indiana college or university plus a $900 book stipend each year.

Please Complete This Community Survey

The Blackford County Community Foundation is seeking your input about life in Blackford County.  The Foundation has released a short survey that residents are asked to complete prior to Thursday, October 31st, about the quality of life in Blackford County.  The information received will be used by community leaders to determine the focus of a large funding request from the Lilly Endowment Inc. that will be awarded in spring of 2020.

“The Foundation hopes to hear from residents throughout Blackford County about what they love, don’t love and would change about Blackford County,” said Elizabeth Whitt, Executive Director of the Blackford County Community Foundation.

Residents can complete the survey on the Blackford County Community Foundation website on the Community Survey page or in person at the Foundation’s office at 121 N. High Street in Hartford City.  The Foundation is working with local partners like the Blackford County Schools, Blackford Youth Sports, and the Farm Bureau to reach residents.

Residents are also encouraged to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, November 20th at 6:00 PM at City Hall in Hartford City to learn results of the survey.

Speaking of Yesterday Volume 2 Books Available

The Women of Worth continued their focus on the women and men who have contributed their time and energy in improving the lives of their families and the lives of all those living in Blackford County by compiling a second volume of life stories of local senior citizens. The project was begun in Indiana’s Bicentennial year 2016 as part of the statewide celebration. Seventeen interviews and stories were included in that first volume.

This volume adds another 21 stories. Most of the stories shared come from people born in the 1920s and ’30s. They each tell about growing up, often sharing their perspectives on life during the Great Depression and World War II.

Both volumes are available at the Foundation office for $5 each.

October is Champion Month for Blackford Promise

October in Blackford County will see Blackford Promise supporting specific programming in the elementary schools to encourage all our young students to begin setting their goals for careers and for the education that will be necessary to reach those career goals. Students will be encouraged to add to their education 529 savings accounts (or have their families sign up for an account), and to find adult family members and friends who will commit to helping the student advance toward their career goals. Drawings and prizes are on offer during the month for students who add $25 to their accounts this month.

The focus this month on adding to an education savings plan like the 529 accounts is an activity that comes out of the research on career readiness—students who have even as little as $500 set aside for education after high school graduation are

Parents can help by enrolling their children in a 529 college savings account program that receives matching dollars and additional incentive money. See www.blackfordcountypromise.org for further information or call Elizabeth Witt at the Blackford County Community Foundation 765-348-3411.

Other community supporters may wish to donate funds for matches and incentives. Again, contact the Foundation for more information.

GIFT FORWARD 2-to-1 Match

Thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Blackford County Community Foundation is now offering a 2-to-1 match program (GIFT Forward) for any donation to the unrestricted endowment funds at the Foundation. That means that for every dollar donated to the funds, $2 more will be added. So the total donation is now $3.

Unrestricted endowment funds provide 50% of the money that is awarded each year in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Because these funds are “unrestricted,” they can be used for any need that might surface in the community—hunger, homelessness, abuse, health issues, arts-related projects, safety, education, community development, to name just a few. The uses to which these funds may apply is wide-ranging, that is, not “restricted” to certain areas of interest or certain organizations.

These funds are also “endowed,” meaning only the investment earnings can be spent in any given year. So the same money continues to be invested every year and produces income that turns into grants every year. And the process goes on forever.

So a $1 donation becomes a $3 donation. After a full year of investment, 9 cents to 15 cents is available for grantmaking in the next calendar year; and after the second year, another 9 to 15 cents will go for grants and so on for 7 to 10 years. At that time, the original $1 has been given out to grantees, and yet that $1 donation will continue earning and distributing grants forever after.

That’s how a community foundation continues to serve the needs of its community through many generations to come.

For more information, look here.

Donate online (use “2-to-1 match” in the Purpose blank) or send a check or deliver a check in person to
Blackford County Community Foundation
121 N. High St., P.O. Box 327
Hartford City, IN 47348
765.348.3411

 

71 Scholarships Awarded

Through the Foundation, 71 scholarships were awarded on May 29 totaling more than $67,000. For a list of scholarships and the individual recipients, click here.

Donors to the Foundation frequently wish to contribute to scholarships for local young people. They are aware of the rising costs of higher education as well as the necessity for additional education beyond high school in the 21st century.

Community Grants Awarded

Sixteen grants were awarded in April to sixteen different local projects that will benefit members of the Blackford County community. These sixteen awards total $94,440 to eleven organizations that provide services for local youth, for families in need of food or medical assistance, and for projects that enrich the quality of life in the county. The specific awards given provide many opportunities for youth and several that support the health and well-being of community residents.

The next round of grants will be awarded in late June. Applications are available now and are due May 30 at the Foundation office.

Witt Is New Executive Director

Elizabeth Witt was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Blackford County Community Foundation on January 1, 2019. She is just the fourth person to serve in this capacity since the merger of the Montpelier Community Foundation and the Blackford County Foundation in 1997 that resulted in the current countywide community foundation. Previous executive directors were Ben Oswalt (1999-2011), Patty Poulson (2011-2014), and Dave Bowman (2014-2018).

Elizabeth joined the staff at the Foundation in September 2016 and was the face of the Foundation for those visiting our office.

Elizabeth’s family has lived in Blackford County for many generations. Elizabeth has a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in business administration.

 

Celebrating Foundation Retirements

As 2018 draws to a close, three members of the Blackford County Community Foundation leadership team are retiring. Diana Holsten and Lisa Weeks are each completing ten years of volunteer service on the Foundation’s board of directors. Dave Bowman is finishing his fourth year as the Foundation’s executive director.

As a board member, Diana Holsten has also served as treasurer to the board for four years and vice president for another three. She has been active as a member of the Finance Committee and of the Scholarship Committee.

Lisa Weeks has been the president of the board since 2016. She is active on the Finance and Grants Committees.

Dave Bowman came to the Foundation in 2014 as the third executive director in the history of the Foundation.

Foundation Assets Top $10 Million

In its twenty years of existence, the Blackford County Community Foundation has reached a major milestone. As of August 31, 2018, its assets are $10.4 million. In 1997, the Foundation had only $85,000 when it was formed from the consolidation of the Montpelier Community Foundation and the Blackford County Foundation. That growth has come from the donations of over 2,000 contributors, from grants through the Lilly Endowment Inc., and from earnings on Foundation investments.

Over the past twenty years, the Foundation has awarded approximately $5 million in grants to 83 local nonprofits and their projects. In addition, 812 local high school graduates and local enrolled college students have received scholarships through the Foundation.

The Foundation celebrated the milestone growth with a reception held September 28. Event photos are posted here.

For more information about making charitable contributions or about applying for grants and scholarships, follow the links in this post or contact the Foundation at 765-348-3411 or ewitt@blackfordcounty.org.