The Community Foundation of Jackson County says it has raised more than $1 million in new gifts and matching dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. The money will support classroom education, agency and community impact grants.

May 14, 2015

News Release

New donations combined with matching dollars from Lilly Endowment brought more than $1 million in endowed funds to the Community Foundation of Jackson County over the past nine months.

The gifts can boost grant-making to the community by an additional $40,000 annually, depending upon earnings.

“That’s $40,000 in additional scholarship, Classroom Education Grants, Fall Grants, agency grants and Community Impact Grants to help people all across Jackson County,” said Dan Davis, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Over and over, year after year.”

Lilly Endowment made $500,000 available to the Foundation through the Lilly GIFT VI initiative, which kicked off Aug. 1, 2014. The Foundation brought in $540,862 in donations and pledges to qualify for the matching dollars. That totals $1,040,862 in newly endowed assets.

The short time needed to earn the full $500,000 in matching Lilly Endowment dollars illustrates the value the community places on the grant funds and programs administered by the Foundation, said Denise Connell of Vallonia. An attorney with Montgomery Elsner & Pardieck in Seymour, she is chair of the Foundation Board of Directors.

“I think it speaks well of the appreciation for and understanding of the valuable work that the Foundation does with the community’s generous gifts to improve life in Jackson County,” Connell said.

The number of individuals making pledges through the program is another strong indicator of the community’s support for the Foundation’s work, added Jim Johnson of the Board’s Executive Committee. A total of 208 individuals, businesses and organizations made contributions to the GIFT VI initiative to earn matching dollars.

Gifts increased the assets of a number of existing endowments and created five new funds that the Foundation will administer.

As the name indicates, GIFT VI was not the first time Lilly Endowment has assisted community foundations across Indiana.

“Lilly Endowment played a pivotal role in the creation of the Community Foundation of Jackson County and many others across the Hoosier state with its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiatives,” Davis said. “Its guidance and matching dollars helped start this organization in 1992, and in the years since it has continued to help our Foundation grow and to benefit people and programs all around Jackson County.”

This GIFT program greatly enhances the local community and Indiana as a whole. In 1990, when the first GIFT grant was made, Indiana was home to only a dozen community foundations. Now, there are 94 community foundations and county affiliate funds in Indiana, serving each of the state’s 92 counties.

Local leaders and community volunteers make decisions that positively address their own unique community needs, said Rosemary Dorsa of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.

“The grant is in line with a long-time vision of Indiana communities growing their capacity to make critical decisions for their own people now and in the future,” Dorsa added of GIFT VI.

Since 1990, the value of Indiana’s community foundations that have regularly participated in GIFT grew from $30 million to almost $2 billion, and more than $915 million went back into the communities through local grants.

Statewide, this latest challenge continues that growth and could add about $132 million in new money, which would generate $6 million or more in additional grants every year, forever, Dorsa said.

This year, the Community Foundation of Jackson County approved a granting rate that will pay out $328,073 in grants from scholarship funds, donor advised funds, designated funds, agency funds and unrestricted funds. That’s up from $299,000 approved for 2014 and can be expected to grow in coming years as a result of the GIFT VI initiative.

Approving a rate that reflects an increase in grant-making capabilities was an important message to send back to the community after area residents and businesses stepped up and helped raise the more than $1 million in gifts and matching dollars through GIFT VI, Connell said.

“Their gifts to the GIFT VI program are already paying dividends to the community,” she added.

Those gifts will continue to benefit the community through prudent stewardship of endowed gifts for the grant-making process while also protecting the funds against inflation, Davis said.

“These gifts from generous donors – and the matching dollars from Lilly Endowment — keep raising grant dollars year after year after year, forever and ever,” Davis said.

Donors to the GIFT VI initiative included a mix of long-time supporters of the Foundation, area businesses and new donors, Davis said. One hundred percent of the Foundation Board of Directors and staff participated in the program. There was also strong support from the Foundation’s former board members, area banks and other businesses and individuals.

A GIFT VI Development Committee of current Board members Denise Connell, Kevin Gabbard, Andy Royalty, Ron Sibert and former board members Chris Klaes, Gary Myers, Jim Potts and Dave Windley helped the Foundation staff talk with potential donors to obtain pledges and donations to qualify for the full $500,000 in matching money.

“It was rewarding to see the positive reaction of former board members, individual donors and business managers who understand the value of the services and grant dollars that their gifts and the Foundation’s work deliver to people throughout Jackson County,” said Gabbard, a vice president at MainSource Bank in Seymour.

A bulk of the new gifts and matching dollars will increase the Foundation’s unrestricted funds, which finance grants for the agency’s Classroom Education Grants, the Fall Grant Cycle and Community Impact Grants. Donations into those funds, including the Jackson County Community Endowment Fund, total $226,234 and earned $342,686 in matching dollars.

The increase in unrestricted funds could produce nearly $25,000 in additional grant dollars annually, depending upon earnings.

Among unrestricted endowments are two new funds created through the GIFT VI program, including the Michael and Ardith Fleetwood Unrestricted Endowment.

“We wanted to establish an unrestricted fund to provide for general grantmaking to help the Community Foundation continue to identify and address needs in our county,” Mike Fleetwood of Seymour said of the family’s decision to start the fund.

“Unrestricted funds are critical to ensuring that the Community Foundation can work to positively impact our county,” he added. “Unrestricted funds provide the greatest flexibility in impacting developing and current issues facing this area.”

Fleetwood, who earlier served 10 years as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, rejoined the board in April. He is the director-in-charge of Blue & Co. in Seymour.

The Fleetwoods make charitable gifts and volunteer in the community to fulfill what they contend is a responsibility.

“We believe that each of us has a responsibility to give back in some way to our community,” Ardith Fleetwood said. “Whether that be our time or our financial support, we all have a shared responsibility to work to improve where we live.”

“Jackson County is a reflection of all of the past efforts of others, and we feel strongly that our current efforts should also be invested to continue to ensure the development and improvement of this county,” Mike Fleetwood added.

The remainder of the newly endowed dollars, $314,628 in gifts and $157,314 in matching dollars, will bolster other funds administered by the Foundation, including scholarship, donor advised and designated funds. Among those is the new Orville and Laura Lu

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