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Heritage Fund grants fulfill nonprofits’ wishes

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What might be a mess at home can become a thing of beauty at the kidscommons children’s museum.

“Parents really like the fact that we regularly provide supplies here for the kids that they might not readily put out, like paint and glitter,” said Diane Robbins, kidscommons’ community relations and marketing manager.

That kind of service is getting a boost from the annual, holiday-time program called Grant A Wish for area nonprofits. The effort, launched by Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County in 2011, aims to allow financial donors to fulfill 114 wishes from 45 area agencies and organizations.

One of kidscommons’ wishes is $25 gifts for supplies for its Kids-At-Art program, which entertains 20,000 youngsters per year. That amount of money also will buy soap for the museum’s bubble room, science experiment supplies and other items.

“Because our Kids-At-Art exhibit is full of consumables, donations allow us to keep the art projects fresh and exciting for guests,” Robbins said.

By a year-end deadline, the Heritage Fund aims to match up to $3,000 per agency and raise at least $20,000 overall as part of a dollar-for-dollar match, according to Kristin Munn, the fund’s community grants and outreach manager. Through Nov. 27, donations stood at $4,810.

How you can help

You can make others’ wishes a reality. Find the complete list of possibilities at

Donation deadline is Dec. 31.

Information: 376-7772.

The Heritage Fund is able to match donations through funding from Elwood Staffing, MainSource Bank and fund supporter Marguerite Rust. Last year, the program generated $25,000.

“Supporting local nonprofit agencies is just one way that the Heritage Fund serves our mission of being a catalyst for change in the Columbus community,” Munn said. “Our local not-for-profits work very hard with limited resources, and the Grant A Wish program provides the opportunity to spotlight these organizations and help them meet their needs.”

The fund has been a visible supporter of nonprofits in a variety of ways. Several years ago, after the national economic dip, fund leaders convened a meeting at YES Cinema with local nonprofits’ staff to discover ways to help them.

“Donors are encouraged to consider the interests of the people on their (holiday) shopping lists,” Munn said. “Are they an animal lover? Have a special interest in helping children? Are they an avid cyclist? Maybe they have a passion for the arts.

“There are wishes for all types of items and projects.”

At the Bartholomew County Humane Society, $20 can cover the cost of heartworm testing for a dog or leukemia testing for a cat. It also can cover a range of much-needed supplies. A few years ago, when a high school society volunteer donated about that amount and saw it as insignificant, director Jane Irwin walked the donor through the facility and showed them all it could fund.

“This is huge for us,” Irwin said. “We certainly can’t do this by ourselves. And the public still has a capacity to humble me — and I don’t mean just with donations for us.”

Donors gave the society $2,800 last year.

At the Columbus-based Developmental Services Inc., $20 covers the cost of supplies and equipment for its dramas, including the recent performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by clients with developmental disabilities.

“It gives them the chance to express themselves through the arts,” said Tom Harpring, Developmental Services’ director of communications for the organization. “And that can be a big self-confidence thing.”

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