Community Foundation Receives $175,000 Community Leadership Planning Grants

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation has received Community Leadership Planning Grants totaling $175,000 as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s GIFT Phase VII initiative.

Nearly thirty years ago, Lilly Endowment Inc. launched the GIFT (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) initiative to help establish and further develop community foundations throughout Indiana. It was the Endowment’s hope that Indiana’s community foundations could enhance the quality of life in their communities by convening conversations among people of diverse ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, occupations, races and cultural traditions about their communities’ most compelling needs and opportunities, as well as the best ways to address them.

As new challenges have emerged, the Endowment has recognized the unique position of community foundations to assume vital leadership roles in helping to inspire and imagine a brighter future for all residents of their communities, convene and engage appropriate stakeholders to address these challenges and opportunities, and initiate and sustain local engagement efforts with a long-term focus beyond a single program or initiative.

Based on population size, Vigo County received a $75,000 grant, and Clay and Sullivan counties each received a $50,000 grant. This funding is meant to enable Indiana community foundations to evaluate their local landscapes and identify and prioritize community needs and assets, develop a deeper understanding of what their roles should be within the community, and prioritize and develop strategies to address high-priority challenges and opportunities.

“Our volunteers and staff are excited to have this opportunity to better understand how the Community Foundation can address the economic challenges with our Wabash Valley Community,” said Beth Tevlin, Executive Director of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. “Once we received confirmation our planning grant was approved, we retained Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2) to share its Community Prosperity Framework via analytics, in-person institute and community engagement design and mentorship. We are currently using this framework to vision, develop and implement impactful community economic development investments which will lead to greater success, vibrancy and prosperity in our three counties.”

Community leaders from Clay, Sullivan and Vigo counties convened during an intensive two-day prosperity institute hosted by the Community Foundation and e2. This prosperity institute allowed the Community Foundation to begin the process of identifying its strategic roles in supporting its communities, as well as beginning the application for the second component of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s planning grant funding.

“The Endowment has allocated up to $11.6 million in grants for community foundations to implement strategic initiatives and programs designed to address key challenges or opportunities identified and prioritized during the planning process,” explained Tevlin. “Once we have compiled all of the research, data and analysis produced from our prosperity institute training, we will identify high priority challenges or opportunities and submit our implementation proposal. If approved, the Community Foundation will receive an additional $350,000 to address the identified matters and begin execution of the implementation phase.”

To learn more about the Community Leadership Planning Grants, please contact Beth Tevlin at 812.232.2234 or