BATESVILLE – The Franklin County Community Foundation and Ripley County Community Foundation have received a Community Leadership Grant in the amount of $200,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative.

The Community Foundations will work collaboratively using the Comprehensive Rural Wealth Framework to deploy tools and resources necessary to develop strong communities, promote those communities, and implement strategic plans to help those communities flourish.

The Franklin County and Ripley County Community Foundations are two of 84 Foundations in Indiana receiving grants through this round of GIFT VII grantmaking.

Lilly Endowment created GIFT in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges. It launched GIFT VII in 2018 and made available a total of $125 million to help foundations strengthen their leadership capacities in the towns, cities, and counties they serve.

Lilly Endowment expects to make additional GIFT VII grants in the coming months.

“It is with great excitement and appreciation that we received the news of the Community Leadership Grants program through GIFT VII. Lilly Endowment’s support for the Hoosier State has created opportunities for, and in, rural communities that were unheard of twenty years ago. Thanks to the Endowment’s previous initiatives, the Franklin and Ripley County Community Foundations have evolved into organizations that continually foster collaboration between communities, schools, civic organizations and the private sector. This grant will allow our organizations to grow, and further develop, our level of community leadership proficiency; ensuring that our counties remain vibrant and relevant in an ever changing world,” Ripley County Community Foundation Executive Director Amy Streator said.

In 2019, as part of GIFT VII, both the Franklin and Ripley County Community Foundations were each awarded planning grants of $50,000 to convene local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and assess opportunities and challenges in Ripley and Franklin County. Both Community Foundations were invited to apply for a GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant to implement strategies and activities identified during the planning period, and jointly submitted an application in March 2020.

“Going through the GIFT VII Planning Grant process was invaluable,” Franklin County Community Foundation Executive Director Michelle Lunsford said. “It allowed Franklin and Ripley County stakeholders to convene, collaborate and build ongoing relationships to address challenges and opportunities in our communities.”

The Comprehensive Rural Wealth Framework will help community members and organizations understand the diversity of assets in their community and use that framework to guide decisions from small and grassroot decisions to official decisions. The framework will guide local collaborations in four service areas: Arts & Culture; Business & Entrepreneurship; Education, Health, & Well-Being; and Environment & Natural Resources. The service areas will guide the implementation of programs and projects throughout the region to enhance the well-being and vitality of our communities by making decisions that are best suited for local communities.

To learn additional information, please contact the Ripley County County Community Foundation by visiting 13 E. George Street, Suite B, Batesville, Indiana, calling (812) 933-1098, or emailing astreator@rccfonline.org. You can also contact the Franklin County Community Foundation by visiting their office at 527 Main Street, Brookville, Indiana, calling (765) 647-6810, or emailing fcfoundation@yahoo.com.

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