Top Ten Community Foundation Stories of 2018

This time of year is more than holiday celebrations. It’s also time for top 10 lists. Every year we look back at all of the events and happenings of the year and relive some of the biggest stories of the year. Here’s our annual Top Ten Stories of the year for your Owen County Community Foundation.

At number ten, our “100 for 100” Campaign broke a record this year as our donors once again joined together to provide $15,820 in gifts to help pay for our operating expenses. We appreciate the support. These gifts help us pay the bills so we can provide services to the community. These gifts helped us, once again, finish “in the black” as we covered all of our operating expenses.

Our number nine story, our matching grant of $5,500 for Area 10 Agency on Aging’s Rural Transit operation helped the local organization raise the matching amount and secure other funding to complete the purchase of a new bus. Rural Transit is an important part of life for many of our neighbors and funding has been a challenge. We supported Rural Transit with a grant for operations in 2017 and hope Owen County, including our local government, can continue to find ways to support the only public transportation in our county.

The number eight story of the year was the total of $187,000 in grants made to the community during 2018. Growing from the gifts made to your OCCF over our 24 year history, investment earnings allowed us to support programs in education, purchasing food for food pantries, upgrading public buildings around the county, provide scholarships to local students, and many other charitable projects. Our continued growth, thanks to your support, helps so many do so much to help our communities.

Coming in at number seven, the SMV Realty / Jim Fulford Open broke a record for our net take at the 16th annual event with over $22,000 coming in to support the operations of your OCCF and to celebrate the contributions of Jim Fulford our first executive director. Our thanks to all the golfers, sponsors, and prize providers for their help.

Our scholarship awards are the number six story of the year. Your gifts allowed a total of $56,300 to be paid out to 27 students and their schools to help these local residents continue with their educational plans. Our awards help graduating high school seniors, students already enrolled in post-secondary education, and adult students returning to school to improve their situation. Our scholarship program is a great way for donors to help improve educational achievement in Owen County.

Our number five story is about the great support we received from our volunteer board. During 2018, our volunteer directors stepped up to help the staff when challenges arose and helped keep us on track to accomplish our mission. At the end of this year, two ten-year vets will be stepping down after serving their full ten years. Bob Livingston served us as a director and for two years as the board chair. Bob’s thoughtful approach to his oversight duties serves as an example for our current and futures board members. Josh Clark also finished his ten years after originally joining us as a former Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. Josh’s sacrifice of time to be a part of this non-profit at a very busy time in his personal life and career was greatly appreciated. Also in board news, Nancy Lorenz will finish her term as board chair and will be succeeded by David Friedel in January. We thank Nancy for her leadership and hard work. Another peaceful transfer of power!

At number four is our ongoing support for education in Owen County. We are proud to support the great work of our Spencer – Owen and Cloverdale Community Schools in their efforts to help our children learn. We completed the STEM learning projects in both school systems that were funded by a $25,000 grant from your OCCF and the Regional Opportunity Initiative. We continue our grants to Spencer and Cloverdale Elementary Schools that are used as scholarships to help families afford pre-school attendance. And our MYPath Trail System has become a living laboratory for our local schools. Thanks to great donor support, we gave a record amount in “Teacher Mini-grants,” the small grants of up to $250 for Spencer – Owen teachers that help them enhance the learning experience in their own classroom. This year’s Mini-grant total was $4,339.

The annual announcement of our Owen County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship was the number three story from just this week. This year, we awarded the prestigious scholarship to Andrew Mauder of Owen Valley High School. Drew will use the award to attend Purdue University. Congratulations to Drew and his parents Renny and Jeff Mauder.

Our move to a new home at 60 E. Market Street on the south side of the Courthouse Square was the number two story of 2018. After 24 years of help and support from the Owen County State Bank, we moved from our longtime bank home into this new space obtained in a long-term lease from Trillium Woods LLC and Mike and Denise Sudol. We have been overjoyed at the way our community has helped with this move and we are so very pleased with the way folks have taken our offer and come to visit us. Our ribbon cutting ceremony put on by the Chamber of Commerce and EDC and our first Christmas at the Square have been great indicators of the community’s excitement about coming in to visit their OCCF.

And the number one story of 2018 was the exciting new match offer from Lilly Endowment, Inc. Starting now any gift made to your OCCF for one of our unrestricted funds, like the Community Fund, will receive a $2 match for every $1 donated. The match is available for gifts up to a total match of $500,000 that we receive by the end of 2020. Donors can also make gift pledges for payment through December 31, 2022 to receive the match. There are many ways to join in with this exciting offer. Just give us a call for information on which funds qualify for the match. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you have. We hope the community is as excited as we are about increasing the total amount that we can grant each year to support Owen County.

2018 was another wonderful year for philanthropy in Owen County and for your OCCF. We thank our wonderful donors for their support and we thank the non-profits and charities for their fantastic work. We’re proud to partner with all to help Owen County.

Your Owen County Community Foundation is committed to helping our Owen County communities become better places to live, grow, and work. We value community involvement and charitable spirit. As another year comes to an end, the board and staff of your OCCF wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We thank you for your wonderful support of our organization and our communities.

If you would like to know more about how you can help, give us a call at 812-829-1725, email me at mark@owencountycf.org, visit us online at www.owencountycf.org, or stop by and visit us in person at our new office at 60 E. Market Street on the south side of the Courthouse Square in Spencer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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