GREENFIELD — With mild July temperatures, it’s little wonder the Hancock County Community Foundation was able to enlist Santa for a bit of mid-summer gift giving.
For the first time since 2008, foundation staff, donors and board members embarked on a day-long Christmas in July “community plunge” to get a first–hand look at what the county’s nonprofits do and deliver more than $50,000 in grants to 11 area organizations.
The grants are designed to allow local philanthropic groups to hire consultants, update technology, pay for training or fund any number of initiatives that will help them deliver their services, foundation President Mary Gibble said.
Ranging from $1,800 to more than $10,000, the grants will be used for marketing and communications initiatives, web design, volunteer management and organizational assessment.
The grants were funded by the foundation’s Hancock County Enrichment Fund. The grants funded 80 percent of the nonprofits’ requests; with the organizations required to put up the remaining 20 percent.
This year’s grant cycle was spurred by collaboration last year between the foundation and Greenfield’s Rotary Clubs to provide operational grants for the county’s nonprofits, Gibble said.
“Coming out of those site visits, the grant committee said it’s probably time to explore that topic again,” Gibble said.
In at least one case, the money will be used to help better confront community issues. For example, a trio of conservation groups will use their joint grant of $5,680 for a consultant to map out the groups’ futures.
The groups are Regreening Greenfield, Greenfield in Bloom and the Park Advocacy Research and Conservation Society. All three occasionally struggle with finding enough volunteers and other issues with missions that sometimes overlap.
“All these groups struggle with the same problems: how to maintain and build capacity and coming up with creative ways to pump some new blood into the group,” said Ellen Kuker, superintendent of the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department.
Judy Swift, representing Greenfield in Bloom, said a consultant’s report could show the individual groups how to maximize their activities and tell the organizations how best to consolidate and blend their efforts to work more efficiently.
Danielle Daugherty, education development director for Hancock County Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, the county’s prime resource for residents seeking post-secondary education opportunities, said the foundation’s $10,100 grant – the largest handed out Thursday – will help fund surveys to pinpoint needs and funding sources and develop a plan to further the organization’s mission.
LINK plans to continue its collaboration with an Indianapolis-based consulting firm for guidance on how to meet the county’s educational needs.
“We’re very excited about it because it will help us get some focus from a third-lens perspective,” Daugherty said.
What: Hancock County Community Foundation Christmas in July grants to area nonprofits.
Alternatives Inc., $1,700
Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), $800
Edelweiss Equine-Assisted Therapy Center, $8,700
Families United for Support and Encouragement, $2,400
Hancock County Children’s Choir, $3,256
Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, $10,100
Salvation Army, $1,500
Greenfield-Central School Foundation, $8,100
American Military Heritage Foundation, $6,900
Love INC, $5,448
Regreening Greenfield/Greenfield in Bloom/Park Advocacy Research and Conservation Society, $5,680