As needs and opportunities arise in Monroe County, the Community Foundation is poised to help our community respond to its most pressing needs and to seize it’s most compelling opportunities.  While competitive granting from over 200 funds often serves as the vehicle for addressing areas of urgency or opportunity, the Community Foundation Board may also elect to provide proactive funding in areas of particular significance to our community.  Currently, the Community Foundation, while still offering funding through competitive granting in a broad range of focus areas, is providing focused leadership to Monroe Smart Start and Regional Opportunity Initiatives.  Over time our pool of flexible resources will allow us to address different areas as community needs dictate.

Monroe Smart Start

In 2007, Monroe Smart Start began as a coalition of educators, parents, business leaders, and others focusing on children’s’ first five years of life and the importance of quality early learning opportunities for school readiness. After a thorough analysis of early childhood opportunities in our community, it became clear to the Community Foundation that Monroe County did not have the resources necessary to provide early childhood education to the populations that are most in need of support. The Community Foundation has been working on building our capacity as a community to prepare our children for success in school and life.

Why Early Learning Matters

Today, Monroe Smart Start is a leadership initiative of the Community Foundation working on behalf of our community’s youngest learners. Since 2009, the Community Foundation has invested more than $1.4 million in early childhood education initiatives, including:

  • increasing access to high-quality education;
  • improving quality of programs;
  • cultivating family engagement and community partnerships;
  • developing training opportunities for educators; and
  • providing community match funds for On My Way Pre-K

Check out the new Monroe Smart Start website to learn more about these initiatives and find valuable resources for families, child care providers, and Monroe County residents.

You can help make high-quality early learning a reality for more children. Donate now to help give Monroe County children the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives

In 2014, the Southwest Central Indiana steering committee released The Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana, which identified key strategies and action steps essential to the success of our region. In 2015, Lilly Endowment awarded Regional Opportunity Initiatives a $25,870,000 grant for its education and workforce initiatives and a regional opportunity fund to support key strategies.

In 2016, ROI was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. Housed in the same office space, the Community Foundation and ROI also share executive leadership, accounting services, and communication and marketing resources.

ROI’s mission is to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of what is now called the Indiana Uplands region. Through education and workforce initiatives and quality of place development, ROI is supporting progress in the region that encompasses Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties. Learn more about ROI at www.swcindiana.org.

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