Scott County Community Foundation has received a Community Leadership Grant of $75,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative.  With the grant, the community foundation will create a community development plan, provide leadership development training through their recent partnership with Leadership Southern Indiana, and support early childhood education at both school districts.

Scott County Community Foundation is one 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.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors, we would like to thank Lilly Endowment Inc. for their continued support for our community,” said Heather White, board chairman of Scott County Community Foundation. “The implementation grant will be used in several key areas within our county that we are looking forward to making a difference and seeing positive changes.”

As part of GIFT VII, Scott County Community Foundation was awarded a planning grant of $50,000 in 2019 to convene local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and assess opportunities and challenges in Scott County. The Community Foundation contracted with the Applied Research and Education Center at Indiana University Southeast to conduct a community needs assessment. In March 2020, the Scott County Community Foundation was invited to apply for a GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant to implement strategies and activities identified during the planning period.

“We are looking forward to sharing the results from the Community Needs Assessment this fall,” said Toppe. “These findings will be used as a roadmap to create a community development plan, the Scott County Vision Plan. We hope this will allow our community to have your voices be heard and enable groups of people to work on the opportunities identified throughout this process.”

“As part of the planning grant, we also identified a need for leadership development, so any Scott County residents who are interested in the programs offered through Leadership Southern Indiana should contact us if you need financial assistance or more information about these programs,” continued Toppe.

“Our Board of Directors feels it is vital that we invest in early childhood education, specifically in programs that seek to increase the readiness level of children entering kindergarten,” said Toppe. “We have partnered with United Way of Scott County for the last several years to provide free books for children through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. We will continue our support to this area by funding kindergarten readiness camps at Scott County School District 1, and by providing a matching grant to Scott County School District 2 to expand preschool slots. These opportunities through this implementation grant will continue to put Scott County on the path to a successful future.”

Scott County Community Foundation has been in existence since December 1996. The nonprofit has 102 funds and over $9 million in assets to address community needs and opportunities. For more information, please call 812-752-2057, email info@scottcountyfoundation.org or stop in the office at 60 N. Main St., Scottsburg. You may also visit the website at www.scottcountyfoundation.org.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.