GREENFIELD — To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Hancock County Community Foundation will kick off 2017 with a $50,000 investment in area schools.

The nonprofit Hancock County Community Foundation, founded in 1992, has adopted the theme of “bright future,” with an updated mission statement and strategic plan, for 2017, said Mary Gibble, foundation president.

And that bright future begins with the county’s youth, officials said; an amount of $50,000 has been set aside to be split among the education foundations of Hancock County’s four school districts, said Kara Harrison, community investment and grants officer.

Up to $10,000 of the $12,500 to each school may be used as the education foundations please, Harrison said, but at least $2,500 must be used as matching funds to grow the four education foundations’ endowments, meaning each foundation’s endowment fund will grow by $5,000 this year.

The education foundations supporting Eastern Hancock, Greenfield Central, Mt. Vernon and Southern Hancock schools receive funding from the community foundation and give grant dollars as they see fit; in the past, the foundation handled the grant requests but decided to put those decisions in the hands of the education foundations, which have more regular contact with teachers.

“It’s been a really wonderful relationship,” Harrison said

The foundation has encouraged the education foundations to use the matching fund aspect as a development opportunity, Harrison said. By reaching out to multiple donors, the foundations will be able to build relationships that in turn bolster their endowment funds.

The remaining portion of the funding can be used in different ways to improve the school districts, from programming and marketing to classroom supplies, Harrison said.

This $50,000 gift to county education foundations is not the only assistance the foundation will provide in 2017, Harrison said. The foundation’s youth board, Y-GIVE (Youth _ Granting, Investing, Volunteering and Engaging), which comprises four students from each of the county’s four high schools, will provide assistance to the education foundations as well.

“They can fundraise for the endowment match, or help plan the school foundation’s social media strategies,” Harrison offered as examples. “However those students decide to work together is great.”

Foundation timeline


Tom Miller, Bert Curry, Bob Strickland, Ron Pritzke and Joe Smith meet to explore the idea of creating a community foundation.


Ron Pritzke writes articles of incorporation, which are approved by the state of Indiana to establish the Hancock County Community Foundation.


The foundation establishes a board of directors; the endowment totals $2,325.


The foundation completes its first strategic plan.


The Pasco family donates the former Pasco Mortuary to the foundation for its headquarters.


The foundation receives a $4.9 million Community Alliances to Promote Education grant from the Lilly Foundation.


The foundation’s endowment reaches $10 million.


Mary Gibble is named president of the foundation.


The foundation creates the Women’s Fund of Hancock County, which supports grant funding for women’s issues including education, child care, arts, family support programs and other needs.


The community raises $204,989 for 11 local nonprofits in 24 hours during Match Day.


Thirty-eight new funds are created


Endowment reaches more than $30 million.


Enrollment begins for the Imagination Library program, which provides books to Hancock County children.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or