SCCF has received a Community Leadership Grant of 100,000

22 Oct SCCF has received a Community Leadership Grant of 100,000

Starke County Community Foundation has received a Community Leadership Grant of 100,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative.  With the grant, the Community Foundation will be promoting arts and cultural opportunities throughout Starke County. At the beginning of the process, The Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) partnered with the Constellation of Starke Executive Committee (COS-EC) to identify needs within the community. Their efforts have included many public input meetings, surveys, and the development of local and regional Comprehensive Plans.

Starke County Community Foundation is one of 84 foundations in Indiana receiving grants through this round of GIFT VII grantmaking. Lilly Endowment created GIFT in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges. It launched GIFT VII in 2018 and made available a total of $125 million to help foundations strengthen their leadership capacities in the towns, cities, and counties they serve. Lilly Endowment expects to make additional GIFT VII grants in the coming months.

As part of GIFT VII, Starke County Community Foundation was awarded a planning grant of $50,000 in 2019 to convene local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and assess opportunities and challenges in Starke County. In March 2020, the Starke County Community Foundation was invited to apply for a GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant to implement strategies and activities identified during the planning period.

“We at the Community Foundation are so grateful for the many opportunities provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.,” said Jessica Martinovic, Director of Development for the SCCF. “Through the planning grant, we got to explore the needs in our community. Several members of the Constellation of Starke committee were even able to travel to Seattle to learn about placemaking initiatives and enhancing the quality of life in our communities, and we’re excited to put some of those ideas into place here in Starke County. We hope this will be just one small step to continue to build momentum that will lead to more exciting things in the place we call home.”

The SCCF and COS-EC plan to address this need in the community through the following programs: Support of the Constellation of Starke Creatives’ Network, which was established as a sub-committee of the COS-EC, sponsorship of local artistic events and visiting artists or art exhibits, seasonal artisan markets, a mural series throughout the county, and an in-scale model of our solar system.

Martinovic noted that many community needs were identified during the planning process, including the need for more high-quality grocery store options, access to transportation, daycare, the need to address the opioid crisis, and much more. However, the group felt that placemaking initiatives such as the ones they chose were more attainable with this size grant. Exploration of ways to address other needs in the community will continue to be part of the COS-EC’s ongoing efforts.