Community foundation working on fall grant cycle


The Community Foundation of Jackson County encourages giving and provides grants to help programs and the people they serve throughout our community.

The foundation staff and our 20-member board of directors, with help from other community volunteers, do our best to wisely administer more than $17 million in assets to generate earnings that fund scholarships, classroom education grants, community impact grants and our fall grant cycle.

Those grants make an impact across Jackson County. Last year, for instance, we awarded 21 fall grants and helped people and programs in Brownstown, Crothersville, Medora, Seymour and places in between.

Those grants totaled $125,138, the most ever funded through the fall grant cycle and included grants that will help fight food insecurity across Jackson County, help improve security at the Boys Girls Club of Seymour and provide diapers for families in need through the Sweet Cheeks Diaper Pantry at First Presbyterian Church in Seymour.

“Meeting the needs of people was a top priority for the grant committee in reviewing the grant applications and making our recommendations,” said Donald Schnitker, a member of the foundation’s board of directors and chairman of the committee. The committee reviewed 25 applications totaling requests of $190,628.

Work on this year’s fall grant cycle is under way with a July 31 application deadline. Over the next several weeks, foundation Vice President Sue Smith and I will answer questions, review drafts and accept applications. Forms are available now online at While Sue and I do not have a vote in the fall grant cycle, we can help agencies fine-tune their grant applications. Be sure to contact us with any questions.

Once the deadline passes and Sue reviews them for compliance (all applications must involve 501(c)3 organizations or qualifying governmental units), our grant committee will conduct site visits to investigate the requests and their needs.

Two factors can play a great role in determining grants: whether a nonprofit’s board is engaged financially and whether other funding sources are being pursued for the project. We like to see board members with skin in the game (our board members certainly do), and we support the practice of bringing funding partners together to deal with community issues and needs.

Examples include how the foundation worked with Jackson County United Way to meet the needs of nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic and is working with Child Care Network and other community partners to leverage support and assets for operating that agency’s community child-care center.

Once the site visits are completed, the foundation staff and grant committee convene to determine which applications will be recommended for grants. This will take place in September, and our board will consider the recommendations in October. While we’d like to say every organization that applies receives funding, we can’t. Applications often total more than is available for granting. Tough decisions are made.

In 2014, the foundation approved $32,536 in fall grants. That number was $38,195 just five years ago, and this year we expect to have more than $130,000 available. That growth has come through conversations with potential donors and long-time donors, explaining the importance, value and versatility of community funds, enabling the foundation to respond to emerging needs.

The number of endowed community funds has increased, a result of the foundation deciding in 2015 to focus on such funds. Then, we had 13 community funds. At the end of 2023, the number had grown to 35.

The fall grant cycle is also funded in part with earnings from our field-of-interest funds. Those funds target areas such as the arts, homelessness, education, youth, substance abuse prevention, the town of Brownstown and Seymour Community Schools.

Your new gifts, of course, can help make those grant dollars grow in the future as well. If you would like to donate to any of the foundation’s endowed funds or to create your own endowed fund, call me at 812-523-4483 to set up an appointment. We can discuss your interest in helping others in the community and how to make your assistance a reality.

Your endowed gifts can, through prudent investment, generate earnings for scholarships, classroom education grants, fall grants, agency grants and community impact grants to help people across Jackson County. Over and over, year after year. Forever.

Dan Davis is President CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County. The foundation administers more than 200 funds with assets of more than $17 million. For information about how you can make a donation to any of the funds administered by the foundation or how you might start a new fund, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to Dan Davis at [email protected] .

No posts to display