Community Foundation awards fall grants


Staff Reports

The COVID-19 pandemic played a role in many of the applications for the 2020 fall grant cycle at the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

One of those will help fight suicide, promote self-esteem and offer mental health materials at area middle and high schools across Jackson County.

Another fall grant will help victims of domestic violence.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Yet another will help feed children enrolled in Jackson County schools.

They are among 18 grants recently awarded through the foundation’s fall grant program. The grants totaled $84,676. Last year, the foundation approved 18 such grants totaling $54,924.

The foundation approved a grant of $7,563 for Mental Health America of Jackson County. The grant will help fund several mental health programs in the community, including suicide prevention awareness, a preschool self-esteem program, mental health materials to middle and high schools, mental health provider referrals and online screenings and social events for people with a mental health diagnosis.

“We believe our work has and will continue to have a positive impact on our community,” Executive Director Melanie O’Neal said of the grant.

“Individuals with mental health diagnosis need and deserve to obtain appropriate mental health treatment,” she said. “We believe with our continued efforts that the stigma associated with mental health diagnosis will be reduced and appropriate treatment options will be obtainable by community members. Our goal is improved mental health while reducing suicide rates in Jackson County.”

She and others in the community have been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating the problem of mental health issues. They are not alone.

“The pandemic combined with social distancing does appear to create a very stressful situation, and a fairly high number of people are exhibiting mental health symptoms, such as depression or anxiety,” said Zoe Peterson, a professor in the Indiana University School of Education’s Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology.

Her comments and findings were reported in a June 29 report from the university.

Increased stresses from the pandemic also were cited in a grant request from Turning Point Domestic Violence Services. The agency received a $1,500 grant to help provide for client financial assistance.

“COVID-19 has severely impacted many clients with elimination of jobs, reduction of hours and furloughs,” Julie Orben of Turning Point said. “Many clients and their families have been struggling to meet household budgets, especially for items such as food and gas.”

Increasing access to client financial assistance is an important part of the long-term stability of Turning Point’s direct service to clients, Orben said. Client financial assistance is defined as support provided to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to help with whatever hurdles need to be cleared between the survivors and safe, stable housing.

The foundation approved a $7,500 grant to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to help fund its school-based pantry program to help students and their families struggling with the issue of food insecurity.

This is a switch from Gleaners’ BackSacks Weekend Food for Kids program at schools, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Haley Nagila of Gleaners.

Feeding America’s 2020 Map of the Meal Gap shows 17.4% of Jackson County children face food insecurity, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from or when, according to the Gleaners grant application.

“Due to layoffs and school closures as a result of the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response, we expect this number to increase over the next several months,” Nagila said.

Gleaners has established school-based pantries at Brownstown Central High School, Seymour High School and Medora Junior-Senior High School that are open to the public.

The agency expects during the 2020-21 school year the program will serve at least 130 duplicated households each month of operation, distribute 18,000 meals to the food insecure in Jackson County and provide 3,000 pounds of produce to the food insecure.

These three grants along with the 15 others provide a wide swath of impact across Jackson County, foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Davis said.

“The foundation’s grant committee, board of directors and staff work hard to ensure that our unrestricted and field of interest earnings provide as large an impact as possible throughout Jackson County,” he said.

The grant committee strives to ensure grant dollars see a wide distribution and impact, said chairwoman Priscilla Wischmeier.

“This year, we’ve approved grants that will assist projects and programs in Brownstown, Crothersville, Medora and Seymour and places in between,” she said.

Earnings from community and field of interest funds generated through prudent investment of the endowed gifts from individuals and businesses fund the fall grant cycle.

A portion of the earnings from those investments remains in the endowed funds to protect against inflation, while other earnings become grant dollars that are awarded through impact grants, president’s grants and classroom education grants.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

The following grants were approved by the Community Foundation of Jackson County:

Actors Community Theater of Seymour, $1,575 for video equipment

Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, $2,600 for a technology upgrade

The Arc of Jackson County, $5,000 for handicap-accessible playground equipment and flooring at Gaiser Park in Seymour

Boys and Girls Club of Seymour, $5,196 for junior staff and building workforce readiness

Brownstown Christian Church, $6,425 for a fixed structure in the child care playground area

Developmental Services Inc., $7,800 for technology equipment for group homes and day services

Girls Inc. of Jackson County, $1,000 for the Friendly PEERsuasion program

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Inc., $7,500 for the school-based pantry program for Jackson County schools

Jackson County History Center, $6,725 to help repair a concrete floor in the livery barn

Jackson County United Way, $5,000 for the Covering Kids and Families program

Medora Brick Plant and Historical Sites Inc., $7,800 to replace roofing on the brick plant barn and shower house

Mental Health America of Jackson County, $7,563 for mental health initiatives in Jackson County

Riverview Cemetery, $4,000 for removal of ash and other old trees

St. Peter’s Child Care Ministry, $3,992 for furniture and educational materials

Seymour Christian Church, $3,000 for a handicap-accessible electronic door opener

Seymour Fire Department, $3,000 for paint and a railing at a new fire training facility under construction at Freeman Field

Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, $5,000 for classroom gallery space and art supplies

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, $1,500 for client services financial assistance program

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Unrestricted funds

The Community Foundation of Jackson County administers the following unrestricted endowed funds:

Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. Endowment

Donn Bishop Memorial Endowment

Don Bollinger Memorial Fund

Jackson County Community Endowment

Jackson County Unrestricted Endowment

Bob and Kate Hall Endowment

Thomas J. Lantz/Montgomery, Elsner and Pardieck Community Endowment

Psi Iota Xi Sorority, Alpha Beta Chapter Endowment

Potts Family Endowment

SIHO Insurance Services Community Endowment

Virginia G. Otto Endowment Fund

Irwin Union Bank and Trust Co. Fund

Larry and Joanne Sunbury Community Endowment

Michael and Ardith Fleetwood Unrestricted Endowment

Nehrt Family Community Endowment

Mary Evelyn Mellencamp Memorial Fund

Mark and Sue Smith Community Endowment

Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 655 Community Fund

John and Kay Beatty Community Endowment

Seymour Oktoberfest Community Endowment

Sarah M. Waldkoetter Community Fund

Schneider Nursery Community Endowment

Field of interest funds

The Community Foundation of Jackson County administers the following field of interest funds:

Cartwright Endowment for the Arts (performing arts)

Granger H. and Ruth M. Smith Drug Abuse Prevention Fund

Carl Hemmer Memorial Fund (performing arts)

Tri Kappa Endowment (charity, culture and education)

The Shelter Fund (homelessness)

Nippon Steel Pipe America Inc. Charitable Endowment for Education

Jackson County Youth Foundation

Donor-advised fund

One other fund administered by the foundation contributed earnings for the 2020 fall grant cycle:

Orville and Mary Schnitker Memorial Endowment


No posts to display