SHIRLEY – $4,000 boosted the efforts of a volunteer fire department. Another $3,000 went toward medical care for rescue animals.

Nonprofit organizations throughout Hancock County recently received nearly $25,000 in grant funding from the White Family Foundation, with the causes covering a number of local needs.

The funding distributed through the Hancock County Community Foundation is part of an annual effort by the White Family Foundation to help with community development, particularly in Shirley, the town where the former GasAmerica Services owned by the Whites was headquartered and where the White family still lives.

Siblings Stephanie White-Longworth and Keith White, previous owners of GasAmerica, lead the family’s philanthropic efforts. They now own Pride Investment Partners, which primarily deals in real estate and private equity investments, according to a news release.

The White Family Foundation Fund is a donor-advised fund of the community foundation, which means the family has the opportunity to make recommendations about where grant funding goes each year, said foundation president Mary Gibble.

Donor-advised funds represent only 10 of the more than 270 funds stewarded by the community foundation, Gibble said. The arrangement means the administrative burdens of overseeing a private foundation become the community foundation’s responsibility, but the family still has input into the destination of the funding.

White family members are actively involved in the grant process, splitting up to make site visits to organizations applying for funding, then deciding as a group how to divvy up the money, Gibble said.

“What I loved about the recommendations this year was you could see the passions of the different family members reflected,” she said.

One part of the money granted means The Landing Place will be able to help kids in the eastern part of the county.

The White family gave $3,000 to The Landing, a Greenfield facility running support and recovery programs for county teens. Director Linda Ostewig said the money went toward the purchase of a mini-bus, which will pick up and drop off students from the Eastern Hancock and Mt. Vernon school districts.

Many students in the Fortville and Charlottesville area don’t have transportation to The Landing; the White family’s gift means they will be able to take part in the fellowship and counseling provided there, Ostewig said.

Grants help the small nonprofit stay afloat and help as many young people as possible, she said.

Support of youth is a mission Nameless Creek Youth Camp, another grant recipient, shares.

Leaders of the nonprofit camp sought funding for building a lodge on their property in southeastern Hancock County in an effort to better support young families that use the facility.

The White family gave $2,000 toward the 3,600-square-foot lodge facility. Earlier this year, leaders bemoaned delays in construction, which unexpectedly added $25,000 to the lodge’s $150,000 price tag.

The grant will go toward a 60-foot deck on the lodge, said president Jerry Bell. Nameless Creek’s leaders appreciated the support from the foundation, he said.

Applications for that support totaled some $100,000 in grant requests, so it took some time to narrow down where the money would go, Gibble added.

One place the money went is right in the heart of Greenfield.

Greenfield Main Street, an organization promoting business and events in downtown Greenfield, received $1,200 toward efforts to add more decorations and interactive exhibits in the North Street Living Alley, an event space that runs from Main Street to North Street, parallel to State and Pennsylvania streets.

Director Shelley Swift envisions colorful banners and hands-on features to complement the handmade percussion instruments that now line the walls of the space.

Greenfield Main Street was thrilled to receive the grant funding, she said.

“It’s always nice when a group like the White family sees the importance of enhancing the quality of place of our community,” she said. “We couldn’t do this without them.”

2017 White Family Foundation Grant recipients

Ten county organizations received nearly $25,000 from the White Family Foundation grant fund, overseen by the Hancock County Community Foundation. They were:

  • Frenzy Animal Rescue, $3,000, spay, neuter and medical care for rescued animals
  • Knightstown Main Street, $1,500, downtown beautification
  • Nameless Creek Youth Camp, $2,000, Lodge completion
  • Jane Ross Reeves Octagon House, $5,430, community kitchen
  • The Landing Place, $3,000, program expansion
  • Town of Kennard, $1,800, town beautification
  • Town of Wilkinson, $4,000, Wilkinson Volunteer Fire Department
  • Eastern Hancock Aquatic Club, $2,000, Eastern Hancock Swimming and Diving equipment/renovation project
  • Knightstown Board of Parks and Recreation, $1,000, playground restoration
  • Greenfield Main Street, $1,200, downtown placemaking
Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.