New Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Application for 2020

Applications are now available for the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program.  Any high school senior whose residence is in Blackford County is eligible to apply. Applications are available for at the Blackford County Community Foundation Office and in the Blackford High School guidance office.

Completed applications are due September 12 at either Blackford High School Guidance Office or the Blackford County Community Foundation Office.

W.O.W. Applications Due August 29

W.O.W and the Blackford County Community Foundation invite nonprofit organizations to submit applications for a W.O.W. grant in 2019. The application is available here and is due at the Foundation office by 4:30 p.m. on August 29, 2019. Four to six $500 grants are available.

2-to-1 Match Opportunity for Donations

Thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Blackford County Community Foundation is now offering a 2-to-1 match program 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


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

Support Blackford Promise

Blackford Promise is a college and career initiative that provides encouragement and financial support for young students in the county to pursue their future dreams. The program provides state and local initiatives through school programming for students in kindergarten through fourth grade to begin their planning now. And it provides monetary incentives to begin planning for financing education beyond high school to meet those career goals.

Parents can help by enrolling their children in a 529 college savings account program that receives matching dollars and additional incentive money. See 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.

Blackford Greenway Trail Taking Donations

The Blackford Greenway has a fund at the Foundation that accepts donations toward improvements and upkeep of the Trail that connects the north side of Hartford City with Blackford High School. Currently, the Foundation will match any donation to the fund dollar for dollar.  The funds will provide for new benches, landscaping, and trailheads.

The Greenway originally opened in late November and was officially dedicated on May 12 in conjunction with the Get Moving 5K Run sponsored by the Hartford City Chamber of Commerce.

Donations may be sent to the Foundation at P.O. Box 327, Hartford City, IN 47348 or contributed online.