WINCHESTER, INDIANA – After announcing the establishment of the Randolph County Covid-19 Relief Fund last month, The Community Foundation of Randolph County is surveying area non-profits to assess needs related to the pandemic that will inform funding criteria for the CFRC Board of Directors in the near future. In addition to the new fund being established, CFRC regularly stewards the Community Enrichment Fund and other unrestricted dollars to assist non-profits in annual spring and fall grant cycles. The Foundation recently awarded grants to twelve area organizations, many with pre-pandemic plans when the grant cycle opened as usual earlier in the year. Nearing the spring deadline, the story about a new or ‘novel’ virus affecting a remote area of the globe was a buried headline barely on anyone’s radar. By the time the CFRC grant committee was ready to review applications in early April, new questions about the process emerged. “We had to make informed decisions about issues of logistics and funding that are not normally a part of the process,” according to CFRC Program Officer Ruth Coffey. “Suddenly, the basic plan for not when to meet, but how to meet came to the forefront.”
The Community Foundation of Randolph County, following orders from the Indiana Governor’s office to work remotely and cease in-person business transactions took action on March 23rd, just a few days before the established deadline for spring grant applications. A sign went up on the front door of the foundation office instructing alternative plans of communication, grant delivery methods and instructions for how to reach staff who were still available, but not in the usual manner.
According to CFRC Executive Director Lisa Jennings, many decisions were being made at the same time. “Like everyone else, we began going into a mode of preparation for providing services and communication to donors and the public while making sure that staff was connected to the office and to each other.”
There were, and still are, many sources of information and guidance for the variety of work being done by community foundations. There were remote calls and webinars with not only the CFRC Board of Directors but online idea-sharing among state entities about awarding grants and scholarships in a world with no in-person contact. Considerations for everything from staff meetings to how to host a live, public panel review of regional Indiana Arts Commission grants administered by CFRC, became a full-time endeavor.
Within a couple of days, remote philanthropy was a reality for Jennings, Coffey, and for Amy Weimer, the Office Coordinator for CFRC and the Winchester Foundation. Amy quickly designed an electronic spring grant application to the Foundation website before leaving for the day. That same day became her last one in the Winchester office before working full-time from her home in Farmland.
Donations, meetings, fund administration, mail, and daily communication continued daily to stay connected in a physically disconnected world. Area scholarship recipients were also being reviewed and selected during that time. “We were reluctant to ask area schools to modify plans to select and award scholarships given their immense challenge to shift to online education,” said Coffey. But with just a week delay, they rallied to complete the process, for which the foundation is grateful. “We were amazed, but not surprised, at their great communication and response!”
The CFRC Grant Committee, having reviewed grant applications based on established criteria and scoring, met by conference call to make decisions. The following organizations were selected to receive support for the 2020 Spring Grant Cycle;
|Dylan Williams Forever All-Star Foundation||$2,500.00||Sports Field Improvements for Drainage and Safety|
|Monroe Central Athletic League||$2,500.00||Refurbishment of North Ball Diamond|
|Randolph County Literacy Coalition||$2,000.00||Elementary School Book Distribution Program|
|Randolph Economic Development||$4,950.00||John Maxwell Live2Lead Simulcast County Businesses and Schools|
|Indiana Lions Foundation -Union City Lions Club||$1,000.00||Gas Griddles for Fundraising Events|
|Randolph County 4-H Club, Inc.||$7,000.00||HVAC and Lighting Repair for Husted Hall at Best Way Disposal Center|
|Art Association of Randolph County||$2,000.00||Facility and Office Equipment for Education and Collection Maintenance|
|State Line Heritage Days, Inc.||$4,000.00||State Line Heritage Days Festival Entertainment|
|Randolph County Veteran's Shelter, Inc.-The Journey Home||$6,000.00||Homeless Veterans Housing Retention Program|
|PAWS Animal Rescue & Shelter||$1,140.00||Computer Equipment for Office|
|YMCA||$10,000.00||Classroom and Outdoor Space Improvements for YMCA Beynon Childcare Center|
|Preservation Society of Union City IN-OH, Inc.||$6,000.00||Mural and Statue - Downtown Union City|
Grants were paid based on generous support from the Community Foundation Enrichment Fund, Union City Community Fund, Randolph County Heroes Fund, Wick’s Employees Giving Fund, James & Linda Noffsinger Fund, Thom & Janice Powers Fund, Starr Family Fund, Chip & Ruth Loney Fund, Chris & Doreen Culy Charitable Fund, Rural Randolph Agricultural Endowment Fund, and Whitacre Family Charitable Fund.
As of Monday, May 4th, the Community Foundation of Randolph County is back in the office at 120 West Washington Street in Winchester. Precautions are in place to work on-site, with hopes of opening doors again to the public as safety and state and local guidelines permit. Besides working to build the Relief Fund, CFRC continues to collaborate for future funding opportunities and other organizational support through The Lilly Endowment, United Way of Randolph, Henry and Delaware Counties, The Indiana Arts Commission, and other local, state and national resources.
“The decision-making process for nearly every part of our lives, as individuals and as a community, continues to demand flexibility and innovation,” according to Director Lisa Jennings, “But our mission to bring people and resources together remains strong and is growing during this challenging time.”
Please contact 765.584.9077 for more information or visit www.randolphcountyfoundation.org to learn more or to make a donation.