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Making wishes happen


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Kathy Hershey of Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators shows a barred owl to St. Bartholomew students on Oct. 23.
PHOTO BY ANDREW LAKER
Kathy Hershey of Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators shows a barred owl to St. Bartholomew students on Oct. 23. PHOTO BY ANDREW LAKER


Hot on the heels of mega-shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today marks Giving Tuesday, a national effort aimed at raising funds and awareness for nonprofits.

The Grant A Wish program of the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County is one of 2,000 member organizations nationwide participating in the program.

Now in its third year, the Grant A Wish program allows local residents to fulfill a specific need for one of nearly 40 local nonprofits. Wishes start at $20.

The first $25,000 of donations made before Dec. 15 will be matched thanks to funds provided by Elwood Staffing, MainSource Bank and Marguerite Rust.

How to help

Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County is offering its Grant A Wish program, a chance for people to put gift-giving dollars to philanthropic use in Bartholomew County.

Now in its third year, the Grant A Wish program offers Bartholomew County residents an easy way to see their donations at work by attaching a specific dollar amount to each wish, and allowing donors to decide which wish they would like to grant.

Visit www.heritagefundbc.org or www.therepublic.com/grant for a complete list of wishes, or call 812-376-7772 for more information.

Several wishes already have been granted since the program kicked off Nov. 15.

Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators, an organization that treats and releases orphaned and injured wildlife, received $50. Top rehabilitator Kathy Hershey said that the donation, which was matched, will be used either to help pay for a golf cart in order to make the facility more accessible to visitors or an incubator to keep warm the influx of orphaned baby animals the center normally sees in the spring.

“We are just thrilled to death,” Hershey said. “We are so glad there has been a response. It really does make a difference.”

Vanessa Edwards, education director at the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, said the group received donations to fund two scholarships for its strings education program.

Edwards said that, of the 170 children enrolled in the strings program in local elementary schools, about 40 percent receive a full or partial scholarship.

The classes cost $95 per child, per semester.

“These wishes make it possible for us to offer more scholarships,” Edwards said. “We don’t want to have to turn anyone away.”

Last year, the Grant A Wish program raised more than $33,000 and granted 111 wishes. This year’s fundraising goal is $50,000.

For more information on Giving Tuesday, go to www.givingtuesday.org.

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