In a world that glamorizes doomsday headlines, I often hear individuals say they feel they can’t make a difference in addressing the complex and daunting issues that our society faces. It can be easy to feel immobilized by the negativity that filters through our screens every minute—not to mention the illusion of perfection that social media boasts, leaving us feeling small and isolated.
While navigating the new world and its minefields can be challenging, I’m here to happily share that good things in fact are happening, and furthermore, you don’t need an impressive headline of millions of dollars to make a lasting difference in your community.
An unrestricted gift to the Community Foundation allows our team to address funding opportunities and needs as they emerge in White County. Rather than restricting donations to support a specific cause or organization, unrestricted gifts can support our mission of strengthening and transforming White County with limitless possibilities. As our community’s needs fluctuate and evolve, the flexibility that unrestricted gifts provide allows for the greatest impact.
For instance, when COVID challenged our world as we knew it, unrestricted dollars were proactively awarded to immediately provide food for families at all four White County schools and mobilized a COVID Relief Fund at White County United Way to begin addressing the devastating impacts brought on by the pandemic. Without unrestricted dollars, we wouldn’t have been able to respond to this specific need so rapidly.
Last year, of our $356,562 granted to support local efforts, 27% of those grants were funded by unrestricted dollars, supporting initiatives that provide prenatal support, access to mental health services, free public transportation, nourishment to families facing food insecurity, beautification to our downtowns, plus so much more.
This year with unrestricted gifts, the Foundation is offering three Community Cares grant cycles, open to all eligible 501©3 organizations. The spring and summer cycles have concluded, with the fall cycle remaining with $25,000 available to award.
2023 Spring Community Cares grants addressed food insecurity through the Tri-County summer meal program, animal wellness at Helping Paws of Monticello, STEM education in industrial classrooms at Twin Lakes High School, and more. Our summer grants are still being reviewed by our grants committee, with awards to be announced in early August. A full listing of grants awarded can be found on our website, www.cfwhitecounty.org.
In addition to our Community Cares grant cycles that address a wide range of opportunities, unrestricted dollars this year are funding a new grant cycle with a focused impact: mental wellness. In response to data collected during Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VII Planning Grant, the Foundation is spending the next five years focusing its efforts on mental wellness in White County. In our first year, a total of $50,000 will be available to support organizations seeking to expand mental health services, reduce the stigma around mental health, build protective factors, provide evidence-based programs that impact mental wellness, or provide education/training for parents and youth workers. Mental Wellness grant applications and guidelines can be found on our website, and are not limited to mental health service organizations, but all eligible partners who wish to make an impact in this space.
Your Community Foundation of White County’s endowment consists of over 100+ funds, each with their own purpose and story. Of those funds, 23% of the assets are unrestricted and created by donors who recognize the Community Foundation as a knowledgeable leader to address ever-changing needs in the community. Donations to support any of our funds made be made at any time for any amount. We also have the unique ability to receive many different types of gifts: cash, stock, real estate, life insurance, and mutual funds.
To learn how your dollars can uplift the White County community, donate online today toward any of our funds at www.cfwhitecounty.org, or talk to director, Lucy Dold about establishing your own fund. (574) 583-6911.