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Bartholomew County’s largest foundation will offer nonprofit organizations a chance for bigger awards of $20,000 to perhaps six figures under a grants program restructuring unveiled Tuesday.
That’s just one part of the new, four-pronged grants alignment outlined by leaders of the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County during a meeting with nonprofit groups at YES Cinema and Conference Center downtown.
The new Community Investment Grants program, the biggest piece of the restructuring, is meant for an agency to address a community need or issue with perhaps a multiyear, big-impact effort.
Foundation leaders said one previous example would be the two-year, $40,000 grant the foundation gave in August to Columbus Young Professionals, Columbus Area Multi Ethnic Organization and Leadership Bartholomew County to work together to make Columbus more welcoming to a diverse population.
Tracy Souza, Heritage Fund’s president and CEO, said she wants to see agency leaders further stretch their thinking and also have time to nurture projects that may require more than a year to form or complete.
She said the bulk of grants given last year were $20,000 or less.
“So we said, ‘Let’s start there with this,’” Souza said.
The fund’s Community Investment Grants, which can include multiyear grants, now will have a floor of $20,000.
She emphasized that large grants of $200,000 to $3 million in recent years for projects such as Mill Race Center and The Commons came from the capital fund, separate from the investment grant program.
Another grant program, The Positive Change Grant, involves gifts to nonprofits of up to $20,000. One example would be a recent grant of $10,000 to the kidscommons children’s museum for one of its new exhibits.
Also, the Bartholomew County Public Library received $4,000 to build a nonprofit resource center.
Under the new Targeted Grants Program, the Heritage Fund will solicit small project ideas from nonprofits.
Two years ago, for example, the foundation awarded 13 diversity-oriented grants of small amounts as part of its Welcoming Community II initiative.
That included $4,000 given for a cricket camp highlighting the game’s popularity with the local India Association.
“Those grants made things happen,” Souza said.
Opportunity Grants will be one-time, short-term grant requests of $3,000 or less. They will focus on board governance and staff training.
“We’re looking for fresh, innovative ideas,” said Lyn Morgan, the fund’s program officer.
“And we believe the way we get to community solutions is through combined minds.”
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