The Wabash Valley Community Foundation has topped a $2 million challenge grant from a Lilly Endowment Inc. initiative. The foundation is eligible for the grant after raising more than $3 million in additional funds in the span of 20 months.

The grant was part of the endowment’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative, a $66 million statewide challenge to community foundations. The Wabash Valley Community Foundation had until March 31 to match the $2 million. As a result of meeting the goal, the endowment grant will provide $500,000 each in Clay and Sullivan counties and $1 million in Vigo County.

Foundation Executive Director Beth Tevlin says the grants will have a lasting impact on the region. He is estimating that, by its 2018 fiscal year, "the full amount of the unrestricted gifts and the Lilly Endowment challenge grants will be fully providing additional and recurring community capital to fund worthwhile programs and projects."

Sullivan County Community Foundation Asset Development Committee Chairman Howard Unger says the organization’s leaders "have begun to dream about the difference we can make with the (annual $30,000) increase in funding."

Lilly Endowment’s GIFT initiative aims to help local Indiana communities address challenges and take advantage of opportunities through philanthropic efforts. Since 1990, the endowment says the value of community foundations that have regularly participated in the program has grown from $30 million to nearly $2 billion.

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