Community Foundation gives update on giving, granting and impact at Annual Report to the Community

President and CEO Tina Peterson welcomes attendees at the 2017 Annual Report to the Community. View more photos.

Foundation announces Thrive by Five fundraising campaign and new funding for Monroe County’s first transitional home for women recovering from substance abuse disorders.

CFBMC held its 2017 Annual Report to the Community on Thursday, November 2. The annual event provided an opportunity to celebrate the organization’s activities that connect caring people, important causes, and community resources. The Foundation gave updates on its endowment, fundraising, granting and leadership initiatives. The theme for the event was “A Vehicle for Change.”

“As an organization built on endowments, our mission is focused on both today and tomorrow,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “We know that change today is positively essential to sustaining this community’s tomorrow. Our job, as an organization, is to empower those people, organizations, and nonprofits that drive the change Monroe County needs to succeed.”

Peterson shared that the Foundation received $1 million in gifts during the past year, growing its endowment to $30.9 million, and adding 12 new funds.

“The vehicle for change that the Community Foundation is entrusted to steer has many seats – each one filled by individuals, families, and businesses who have a passion for this community,” added Peterson. “Those passions are diverse – arts, animals, education, essential needs, community development, youth development, those with disabilities, and the environment. Fortunately, our bus is a big one, and there are seats available for all who wish to be the change they want to see in our community.”

Grants and distributions from the Community Foundation’s 217 funds often serve as the vehicles to advance important causes and improve the quality of life in Monroe County. As needs and opportunities arise in our community, the Foundation also provides proactive funding to respond to pressing needs and compelling opportunities. Peterson gave updates on several of these leadership initiatives:

  • expanding early childhood education opportunities,
  • responding to the opioid crisis in our community, and
  • advancing Southwest Central Indiana’s regional economic and workforce initiatives.

The event was also an opportunity to recognize Monroe County’s ten 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Finalists and area nonprofit organizations that have received Community Impact Funding Initiative grants. At the end of the program, the Foundation distributed more than $270,000 in grant checks to 65 nonprofit organizations from its agency and designated endowment funds.

Early Childhood Education

“For the past 6+ years, the Community Foundation has deliberately focused on early childhood education as a key solution-based approach to ensuring that children, families and the community succeeds,” said Peterson. The Community Foundation has invested more than $1.2 million on Monroe Smart Start initiatives to increase access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education especially for children from less advantaged circumstances.

Monroe Smart Start has been supported through distributions from the Community Foundation’s unrestricted funds, selected field of interest funds, and donor advised funds. Earlier this year, Monroe County was selected to join 19 other counties eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K, Indiana’s first state-funded prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds from low-income families. Participating counties must provide a local funding match to support the program. To support this match requirement and to continue the growth of Monroe Smart Start initiatives, the Foundation announced the Thrive by Five Endowment Campaign. The goal of this $1 million endowment building fundraising campaign is to ensure the sustainability of Monroe Smart Start’s early learning initiatives. When funded with $1 million, this endowment will generate $42,500 in interest income to expand the Community Foundation’s early childhood education initiatives, which currently cost more than $150,000 per year.

Peterson introduced CFBMC Board Member Jessika Hane, human resources director at Oliver Winery, and Jessica Merkel, partner at Bunger & Robertson, as chairs of the Thrive by Five Campaign. Hane and Merkel indicated that they were proud to serve as chairs because their own children (five between the two of them) have benefited from high-quality early childhood education programs in Monroe County.

“As working moms, we depend on these programs,” Merkel said. “If childcare is so necessary for us, I can only think of how critical it is for families struggling to make ends meet. The affordability and reliability of childcare can determine whether a parent keeps a job, makes a rent payment, has food for their family, or can fill a prescription. It is invaluable to have quality, affordable childcare in our community. It not only improves the lives of our children but their entire family as well.”

The Foundation’s Thrive by Five fundraising campaign committee has already raised $380,000, including a leadership gift of $100,000 by local real estate developer Elliot Lewis. This lead gift establishes the Lewis Fund for Early Childhood Education as the official name of the Thrive by Five Campaign endowment.

“When children have high-quality learning experiences, it impacts the prosperity of the entire community,” added Hane. “Children who are prepared for school and prepared for life have the capacity to change the world.”

Opioids in Our Community

In September, the Community Foundation was the lead sponsor for the first South Central Opioid Summit in Bloomington. The event brought more than 600 people together from across the region with a goal of increasing collaboration around the growing drug epidemic.

“An inspiring and humbling event, the Summit gave those in attendance a greater understanding of the challenges faced by individuals struggling with addiction, the frightening impact the epidemic is having on children and families, and the importance of working together to find solutions,” said Peterson.

Peterson announced that the Foundation is partnering with Centerstone to establish Monroe County’s first transitional housing for women recovering from substance abuse and their children. Through a $50,000 seed grant, Centerstone will secure a facility to support up to 6 women and their children initially. It is anticipated that the program will eventually serve up to 36 women and their children annually.

“Women with addictions are much less likely to seek and receive treatment due to many barriers, including fear of social stigma, domestic violence, lack of adequate childcare, or fear of legal intervention that may result in the loss of their children,” said Peterson. “When mothers do not get treatment, the impact is devastating for their children and often results in trauma that affects a child for a lifetime.”

The program will provide a safe therapeutic environment to serve as a bridge between initial treatment and re-entry into the community. In addition to housing and treatment, the program will help women develop the coping, life, and parenting skills necessary for recovery, self-sufficiency, and stability. The facility will prioritize placement for pregnant women and women with young children.

“Similar programs in Indiana that allow young children to stay with their mothers are showing tremendous and promising long-term trajectories for women and children,” added Peterson. “Centerstone has the staff, the training, and the expertise to support these women and their children and we are grateful for the opportunity to support their life-changing work.”

Regional Economic and Workforce Initiatives

In 2016, the Community Foundation established Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) as a supporting organization and separate 501(c)(3) entity. The mission of the organization is to support economic and community prosperity in the 11-county region of Southwest Central Indiana through education, workforce, and quality of place initiatives. Peterson also serves as the CEO of ROI and its ten-person staff shares its offices with the Community Foundation.

“Ultimately, ROI’s goal is to ensure that this region prospers,” said Peterson. “As the largest county and employer in Southwest Central Indiana, Monroe County stands to benefit a great deal from the opportunities ROI makes possible.”

Funded by a $26.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, ROI is working with the region’s key industry sectors – advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and national security and defense – to establish partnerships and to begin to implement initiatives for strategic alignment.

“For the region to prosper, we believe we must focus on alignment between our key economic and workforce assets and the communities, institutions, and programs that support them,” said Peterson.

Peterson highlighted some of the ROI initiatives currently underway to support these efforts.

Ready Schools – Six regional school districts are currently working with ROI to apply design thinking principles in realigning, K to 12, educational delivery, and curriculum with the workforce needs of the region.

STEM Fellows – Fifteen regional elementary educators were nominated by their school principals and selected by ROI to serve as STEM Fellows within their schools. Fellows participate in professional development and community engagement opportunities to create more relevant STEM learning experiences for students and better prepare students for careers in our region.

I-69 Interchange Analysis – ROI is working with HWC Engineering to analyze the I-69 interchanges in the Southwest Central Indiana region. The goal is to establish a cohesive vision for the system of new interchanges along the I-69 Corridor, outline of the opportunities/constraints to development at each interchange, and identify key strategies necessary to implement plan recommendations.

Competitive Positioning/Regional Branding – ROI is working Dartlet and Fourth Economy to develop a competitive identity strategy for Southwest Central Indiana that will be used to attract talent, business, and investment to our region. This fall several hundred regional partners participated in messaging workshops. Results from the workshops will be combined with information from Southwest Central Indiana’s existing Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Development, Occupational Needs Assessment, I-69 Interchange Analyses, and other regional data to help inform the competitive identity process.

More information on these and other ROI initiatives can be found at SWCIndiana.org.

About Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County:

Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted $25 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $30 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.

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On November 3rd, 2017, posted in: News by
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