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Heritage Fund getting monetary boost from Lilly initiative

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Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County will be one of many beneficiaries of a Lilly Endowment fundraising initiative.

As part of the Lilly Endowment’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative, all gifts to the Heritage Fund through March 31, 2016, will be matched dollar-for-dollar — up to $1 million — as part of the GIFT program initiative.

“We’re excited,” said Heritage Fund Executive Director Tracy Souza. “We’re in the middle of a capital campaign — this gives us a little steam. People like matches.”

As Bartholomew County’s largest community foundation, the Heritage Fund provides gifts and grants to nonprofit organizations in Bartholomew County that are funded by community donations and fundraising.

The Heritage Funds assets were valued at $61.7 million at the end of 2013, up from $53.8 million at the end of 2012.

In May, the community foundation launched a five-year capital campaign with a goal of raising $20 million by 2018.

This is Lilly’s sixth GIFT initiative. Since 1990, Lilly Endowment’s GIFT program has provided $258 million in asset building grants and endowment grants total some $985 million statewide. Through the previous five gift programs, the endowment has provided to the Heritage Fund matching funds in the amount of $12.1 million.

The 2014 GIFT initiative is the first since 2002.

“The community foundation field has been eagerly awaiting GIFT VI,” Souza said.

GIFT VI is a chance to attract new donors, Souza said. Funds raised beginning Aug. 1, 2014, are eligible for the matching grants. Funds from private foundation donations are ineligible.

“Lilly always has a purpose behind their challenges,” Souza said. “This one is really about building unrestricted funds and bringing new money into the arena.”

Under the GIFT VI program, Lilly will distribute $66 million to community foundations throughout Indiana.

Community foundations are eligible to apply for funding under GIFT VI based on the population of each county:

Up to 50,000 population (65 counties): $500,000

50,001 to 150,000 (17 counties, including Bartholomew County): $1 million

150,001 to 300,000 (7 counties): $1.5 million

Above 300,000 population (3 counties): $2 million

The endowment’s prior GIFT programs provided the funds for other community foundations to form around the state. Bartholomew County’s Heritage Fund was already in place in 1990, but statewide, community foundations have been formed and flourished since the program’s inception.

“When Lilly began this, there were about a dozen community foundations in Indiana,” said Rosemary Dorsa, vice president of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and Director of the GIFT Technical Assistance Program. “Now we have 94 community foundations. The Indiana community foundation landscape has been dramatically changed.”

“Applying for a grant like this is very easy,” said Dorsa, who served as an adviser to the Heritage Fund. “Lilly has allocated a certain amount of money for every county. All the foundation has to do is say, ‘Yes.’”

GIFT VI funds will be distributed by the end of 2014. Should the Heritage Fund not raise $1 million by March 2016, Lilly will deduct the missing amount from future GIFT program endowments.

With the matching-dollar incentive, Heritage Fund leaders see fundraising — including funds for their capital campaign — as an easier venture.

“If you’ve been thinking about planned giving or your estate planning, now would be the time,” said Heritage Fund chairperson Kevina Schumaker. “You’re going to get more bang for your buck. There isn’t any greater way to support the community than giving through the community fund.”

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