The GIFT that keeps on giving

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Generations of non-profit groups and other charitable organizations will no doubt be served by the work of a few in this community.

When the Clay County Community Foundation reached its $500,000 fundraising goal earlier this month, there was a sigh of relief for board members who worked tirelessly to collect the money including, themselves, donating to the cause.

Known as Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow or (GIFT), the initiative started over 25 years ago by Lilly Endowment in the hopes that communities in Indiana would develop the philanthropic capacity to address their own needs and challenges. With assistance from Lilly Endowment, all 92 counties in Indiana are served by a community foundation or an affiliate.

Locally, GIFT VI was the sixth phase of the initiative and offered a grant of up to $1 million in Vigo County and up to $500,000 in both Clay and Sullivan counties to build unrestricted endowment funds. Unrestricted endowment funds provide permanent community capital to support programs and projects within each county.

Unrestricted gifts to the Community Foundation were matched $1-for-$1 through GIFT VI Initiative, and unrestricted gifts from board members were matched $2-for-$1.

Forty-two new unrestricted funds were created in this most recent fundraising effort for Clay County. The new funds will mean the community foundation can award $70,000 annually -- more than twice the amount distributed now.

For many non-profits and groups struggling to good for the community, a portion of that annual funding will do wonders. Whether it's supplying needed equipment for volunteer fire departments and rescue organizations or providing the food or materials needed for those groups that help the less fortunate, every dollar matters.

Now, there's another Community Foundation fundraising movement known as 100 Women Who Care of Clay County, which has already given thousands to local groups in need. And, the county will soon have a similar charitable group up and running for men, as well.

Whether you're on the giving or receiving end of these funds -- or somewhere in the middle -- it's good to know that there are people out there who care and have the foresight to see that money help generations to come.

It's also one thing to have the financial ability to be able to give, but it's another to want to put it to such a good cause.