Elkhart County foundation grants $669,500 to 19 organizations

The Elkhart County Community Foundation has granted $669,500 to 19 non-profit groups with its latest distribution.
Posted on Dec. 24, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 24, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.

ELKHART — The Horizon Education Alliance will get a needed injection of funds as it prepares to launch a slate of new programs, and Bashor Children’s Home will get money to help install a new system to maintain health records.

Those are just two of the many recipients of funding from the Elkhart County Community Foundation, per its latest award of grants, a total of $669,500 to be divvied among 19 non-profit organizations in all.

Also in line for funding is the Ruthmere Foundation, to help with ongoing renovations to the historic Havilah Beardsley home restoration in Elkhart.

Horizon is getting the largest single grant, $200,000, and Brian Wiebe, the group’s executive director, said the funds — about one-fifth of its annual budget — will help as the organization starts offering programs in earnest starting in 2014, partnering with other organizations. The group also received a $200,000 grant from the foundation last year.

Horizon, formally launched Oct. 1, 2012, to promote education among preschoolers on up to adults, has spent the last year or so charting its formal strategy, though some program offerings are in place. Planned moves in 2014 mark a more complete roll-out of the organization.

While the foundation will likely play a “key role” in the Horizon going forward, “we are inviting people from around the county and around the country to invest in to this bold vision,” Wiebe said.

Steve Riikonen, director of development for Bashor, a Goshen-based child welfare agency that works with at-risk youth and offers alternative education programs, said the $75,000 it’s in line to get will cover about half the cost of the electronic record-keeping system, to be installed by the third quarter of 2014. The system will ease access to health records of Bashor clients and allow the agency to maintain access to Medicaid funding going forward.

Bill Firstenberger, executive director of the Ruthmere Foundation, said the $93,000 it’s in line to get would help finish a series of upgrades launched in 2010 to the Beardsley house. The foundation grant, though, is a match, so Ruthmere will have to raise $93,000 of its own to secure the money.

The work, presuming the match funds are secured, would start the middle of next year, with a grand re-opening of the Beardsley house tentatively set for the spring of 2015. In all, the upgrades, including the foundation money and matching funds, have a price tag of $520,000.

The Elkhart County Community Foundation several times each year awards grants to a range of organizations, which must go through an application process. It granted $673,237 to 21 groups earlier this year and through the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year on June 30 next year, it plans to distribute a total of $2.25 million in all.

The grant process changes in 2014-2015 and the foundation will gradually start awarding even more funds, thanks to a massive donation last year.


Here are the other grant recipients this round, announced last week, and the dollar amount they secured:

Ÿ Downtown Elkhart Inc., $16,500 for a downtown “arts hub.”

Ÿ Downtown Elkhart Inc., $6,000 for Camp Hoagie, a music camp for kids offered in connection with the Elkhart Jazz Festival.

Ÿ Downtown Goshen, $15,000 to develop an app for downtown Goshen.

Ÿ Girls on the Run, $7,500 for a planned program expansion.

Ÿ WNIT, $25,000 for a planned documentary on foundation donor David Gundlach.

Ÿ Wellfield Botanic Gardens, $20,000 to help support an educational coordinator.

Ÿ Goshen College, $5,000 for a youth camp.

Ÿ Elkhart Child Development Center, $8,000 for technology upgrades.

Ÿ Junior Achievement of Elkhart County, $25,000 for fourth grade educational programs.

Ÿ Council on Aging of Elkhart County, $21,000 for vehicles for the Life Enrichment Program.

Ÿ Samaritan Center, $40,000 for transitional support.

Ÿ New Beginnings Family Worship Center, $7,500 for youth programming.

Ÿ YWCA of North Central Indiana, $20,000 for bilingual programming.

Ÿ Boy Scouts of America, LaSalle Council, $10,000 for a scout outreach program.

Ÿ Cornerstone Ministries, $25,000 for program relocation and purchase of a building.

Ÿ Plain Community Partnership, $50,000.

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