Celebrating community support, work

Three years ago, Brooke, a Jackson County mother of three struggling to make ends meet, turned to the Coaching for Success program at Human Services Inc., a program supported with Impact Grant dollars from the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

Since then, the program helped Brooke find a stable job in manufacturing, learn new skills and gain confidence.

“Now, I have permanent housing, I’m financially stable and I have resources in the community if I should need it,” Brooke said. “Without the financial support from the Coaching for Success program, I don’t think I would have been as successful taking that bridge from poverty to financial stability.”

Stories like Brooke’s are among the many reasons why the Community Foundation of Jackson County joins more than 900 other community foundations across America to mark Community Foundation Week, set this year for Nov. 12 to 18.

Our goal in participating is to raise awareness about the role of philanthropy and to foster local collaborations and innovations to address persistent civic and economic challenges, including poverty, in our community. The foundation, for instance, is not alone in helping fund the Coaching for Success program. Jackson County United Way is a supporting organization, as well.

The foundation serves all of Jackson County, from Reddington to Crothersville to Medora to Freetown to Seymour and all points in between. A check of our grant and scholarship recipients easily illustrates that point.

Launched Nov. 12, 1989, through a proclamation by former President George H.W. Bush, the first Community Foundation Week included a congressional briefing about the work of community foundations throughout the nation and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private and nonprofit sectors to address community challenges. The first community foundation was established in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Community foundations in Indiana alone made more than $192.9 million in grants in 2019 and hold more than $3.96 billion in assets. Your Community Foundation of Jackson County manages more than $14 million in assets. Last year, it awarded $542,925 in grants and scholarships.

Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson once described the role of community foundations this way: “Community foundations in Indiana play a key role in identifying and solving problems across our state. Each foundation has an in-depth knowledge of local concerns, which enables them to effectively address the root of many issues. They are the drivers of community enhancements and push our state forward.”

The Community Foundation of Jackson County tries to live up to that description through our prudent stewardship of gifts, our annual grant-making cycles, our Impact Grants, our scholarship program and our involvement in the community, including our support in the creation and construction of the Jackson County Learning Center and the Jackson County Education Coalition.

Since its founding in 1992, the Community Foundation of Jackson County has awarded more than $7 million in grants to local organizations and scholarships to hundreds of students to help them pursue their educational dreams. As of Sept. 30, we had awarded more than $479,000 in grants and scholarships so far this year.

The foundation is an advocate for local philanthropy, providing opportunities for donors to make a difference in their own unique ways through charitable giving. Gifts that can keep on giving, perpetually. The foundation celebrates the rich past of Jackson County and looks to a bright future. And as our motto says, “Together, we grow tomorrows.”

Our staff and board of directors, made up of 20 individuals from throughout Jackson County, invite you to explore our website, cfjacksoncounty.org. You’ll access a wealth of information about our organization, our current funds, our grant cycles and how you, too, can become a donor and help make a difference. If you would like, please call to make an appointment to visit with us at our offices.

Our work, funded through the gifts of people like you, help make a difference in the lives of countless people across Jackson County, people like Brooke and her three children.

As we enter the giving season, millions of people from every background will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving — however they choose to give — will have the most impact. And a lasting impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation.

A gift to your local community foundation is an investment in the future of your community. We like to say that community foundations are “here for good.”

At the foundation, we don’t think about the next election or business cycle. We think about the next generation and the next after that.

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The Community Foundation of Jackson County was established in 1992.

It awarded its first grants in 1994.

Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $7 million in grants and scholarships.

The foundation administers 217 funds.

Online: cfjacksoncounty.org

Facebook: facebook.com/CFJacksonCounty/?fref=ts

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Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, IN 47274. For information about donating to the Foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].