Heritage Fund discontinues its holiday Grant A Wish program

The holiday Grant A Wish program, which has raised $355,000 for local nonprofit organizations since 2010, has been discontinued.

The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, which operated the program, notified agencies of the change last week via a message from Kristin Munn, its development director.

“We appreciate all the work that you do and the difference you make in the Bartholomew County community,” Munn told the agencies. “Our hope is to find additional, and potentially more impactful ways to serve the nonprofit community in the future.”

Money distributed to nonprofits through Grant A Wish included match dollars from corporate partners as well as contributions by the Heritage Fund.

Each year, about 45 agencies submitted more than 100 total wishes — items that could be helpful in the agencies’ causes and missions. They were as basic as office supplies, or included scholarships or technical equipment, for example. Because of the winter months, several agencies would request money for coats and gloves for their struggling clientele.

Supporters would then select one of the wishes and fulfill it in the name of friends or family for Christmas or another holiday.

Last year was a record, resulting in about $100,000 donated to nonprofits in Bartholomew County, according to the foundation.

Tracy Souza, Heritage Fund’s president and chief executive officer, acknowledged that although Grant A Wish was effective, it was also labor-intensive, demanding substantial staff time, planning and resources over several months of each year.

“We never originally intended to run it as a permanent program,” she said.

Although no specific replacement program was announced, Heritage Fund leaders stressed that the foundation will continue helping agencies through a wide variety of grant opportunities.

Grant opportunities

For information about grant opportunities through The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, visit heritagefundbc.org/.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.