BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. has announced 12 grants totaling $1.86 million have been awarded to organizations in the Indiana Uplands. The funding is part of the organization's Ready Communities program.

The Ready Communities competitive grant program focuses on communities who are seeking to launch initiatives to improve quality of place and grow regional capacity for workforce development and attraction.

“At Regional Opportunity Initiatives, we are inspired and humbled by the innovative and transformative projects that are occurring across the Uplands in response to the Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction planning process,” said Chief Executive Officer Tina Peterson. “The grants we are funding through the Ready Communities initiative will set in motion strategies that will catalyze progress in our region and speak to the determination of our communities to ensure a prosperous future for all who call this region home.”

Funding categories for the grants include aesthetics and beautification enhancements, connectivity infrastructure development and community cohesion support initiatives.

The grant recipients include:

Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County to renovate the teen building and create The Launching Center, a multi-use STEM space featuring robotics, a makerspace, and tech shop for elementary school children and teens in after-school programming.

Brown County Regional Sewer District for a wastewater strategic management plan. 

CDFI Friendly Bloomington for seed funding to support this new nonprofit.

City of Bedford  to establish the Avoca Fish Hatchery as Lawrence County’s first public park.

Bloomington Parks Foundation to enhance the Banneker Community Center.

Daviess County Economic Development Foundation to fund a portion of construction costs for the Commons of Daviess County Downtown Plaza and Event Pavilion.

Jasper Public Library to create, equip, and staff a mobile makerspace.

Monroe County Board of Commissioners to help fund site safety and accessibility upgrades for phase one of Quarries in the Uplands, a new 100-acre park and regional destination to be developed near the intersection of I-69 and SR46.

Owen County Community Foundation for the MYPath Trail System, a series of connecting trails through Owen County that stretch from McCormick’s Creek State Park.

Pride in the Park Inc to renovate and add exercise, health, and wellness amenities at Humphreys Park in Linton.

Summit Hill Community Development Corp. to fund a portion of construction and operation costs for a high-quality early Head Start center in the Bloomington Crestmont neighborhood.

White River Valley School District for the Precision Machining Program, a dual credit pathway in partnership with Purdue and Vincennes Universities.

The next round of grant funding will be available in spring 2020.