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A triannual newsletter of the Blue River Community Foundation Summer 2017 Volume 11 Issue 2

Annual Meeting: Celebrating $1,765,972 in 2016 Grants The Blue River Community Foundation awarded $1,765,972 in grants in 2016, from assets of over $33 Million, which represented significant growth over the previous year. The Foundation board president, Tom Rosenfeld, and Amy Haacker, executive director, highlighted several of the larger, impactful grants that were made in 2016. The Shelby County Public Library won the $150,000 Ignite Shelby County Grant for the new outdoor plaza, which includes landscaping, a fountain, a stage, and benches. Girls Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club received $150,000 from the William (Bill) Cunningham Fund for the outdoor lab, which includes a greenhouse and other learning features. Bill Cunningham was the longtime owner of Cunningham Gardens, so supporting this project honors his legacy in horticulture. Other Ignite Grant applicants also received support to move

their projects forward. The Diesel Tech program at Blue River Career Programs, which is one of Indiana’s Hot Jobs, received $30,000; the Strand Theatre received over $28,000 for renovations and accessibility for performers; and the Arts Alliance will receive funding for an Arts Coordinator following the completion of some planning and board development work. Healthy Shelby County received $28,000 for features along Progress Parkway to make that area more pedestrian friendly, like benches, concrete pads, and shade structures. Morristown High School received grant funding for their electronic display in their gym, which is also a revenue source from advertising. In addition, over $116,000 was awarded in current 2017 community grants to 14 organizations; Shelbyville Central Schools, SC Historical Society and Girls Inc. are pictured below.

Three of BRCF’s 2017 Spring Grant Recipients



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Sc tral Cen



Shelby County Historical Society


What’s Inside:

Spirit of Community Awards: Recipients Announced

BRCF Summer Intern

Special Recognition

Grant Highlights

In 2018, BRCF will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Throughout the year,

the organization will be highlighting large impactful projects that have been made possible through the foundation’s support. In addition, the Foundation will hold just one grant cycle instead of two. The goal is to fund major impact in each of the five granting areas: Health, Education, Arts/Culture, Social Services, and Civic. Total funding for these grants is greater than in years past, thanks to generous donors to the successful Lilly Endowment GIFT VI Match Campaign in 2015-2016. Grant funds available for these large impact grants total $300,000 to be distributed among projects in those five granting areas. Workshops for interested applicants will be scheduled soon.

2017 Recipients Announced The recipients of BRCF’s Spirit of Community Awards were also announced during the annual meeting. The intent of the individual category award is to shine light on the extraordinary generosity and leadership of outstanding individuals/families/companies who demonstrate community spirit though their service and giving. An award is also presented to a nonprofit organization that has shown a measurable difference in bringing about a positive change in our community. The individual recipient directs a $500 grant to the organization of his or her choice, and the nonprofit organization winner receives a $500 grant as well.

Congratulations to Don Collins and Rock Steady Boxing, this year’s recipients! Don was awarded the Spirit of Community Award in the individual category for his dedication to serving and creating a connected community for people with disabilities. He currently leads two organizations, The Shelbyville VC Aktion Club and the ARC of Shelby County, which were established to build a better and more inclusive community for these individuals. In addition, the highly successful Senses Playroom was made possible by his desire to make a difference in the lives of children with sensory disorders. Tom Rosenfeld and Don Collins

The Spirit of Community Award for an organization was presented to Rock Steady Boxing for the positive impact they are making in the lives of those suffering with Parkinson’s Disease. Bob Wortman introduced the program to the community last year, and through the work of the group’s volunteers and trainers, they started working with participants in January. In the first six months of participation, boxers are reporting noticeable improvements in their strength and mobility. Chris Cox, Debra Tracy, Bob Wortman, Betsy Stephen and Amy Haacker

BRCF Summer Intern Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment’s Community Foundation Intern Initiative, we are thrilled to add Leigh Durphey to the Foundation’s staff as our summer intern. Leigh is a graduate of Shelbyville High School and the 2014 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar for Shelby County. She will begin her senior year at Franklin College this fall where she is majoring in English and secondary education and minoring in multimedia journalism. While attending Franklin, her many activities have included serving as editor of the school newspaper, president of the English honorary society Sigma Tau Delta, and a tutor in the college’s writing center. As part of her summer internship, Leigh will be converting BRCF’s website to a different platform and updating it to a more modern and user friendly layout.

Leigh Durphey

Special Recognition As donors reach the $100,000 giving level to endowment funds held at Blue River Community Foundation, BRCF recognizes these philanthropists with commemorative stones that read, “Your contribution is etched in stone for the future of Shelby County.” This year the Foundation decided to also recognize several funds that have reached the $100,000 or more milestone. The fund founders have spent considerable time and effort in growing these funds to provide a sustainable, funding resource for years to come. At the annual meeting, BRCF recognized the following: • Class of 1960 Waldron High School Fund • John R. Foltz Memorial Scholarship Fund • Girls Inc. Agency Endowment Fund • Joe & Theresa Harlan Fund for Shelbyville Boys Club • Morristown United Methodist Church Paul and Gertrude Zike Trust for Morristown Methodist Church Albert R. Keaton and May Keaton Memorial Fund • Mark Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund

Traci Foltz, Jason Foltz and Amy Haacker

Steve Bridges and Amy Haacker

Thank you to all the donors and volunteers for their generosity in building these funds.

Grant Highlights During the Foundation’s Spring 2017 round of competitive community grants, 14 grants were approved for a total of $116,464. These grants are made possible from BRCF’s unrestricted funds and field of interest funds which support arts & culture, health, education, social services, and civic interests in Shelby County. Thanks to our generous donors for their gifts that are making a difference in our community. Shelby County Historical Society was awarded a grant of $4,934 to purchase dress/shirt forms for use in textile displays and also UV glass for display cases & frames to ensure protection of historical photos & documents. Thanks to the BRCF Community Arts Fund.

Healthy Shelby County was granted $6,700 for an Art Walk project along Progress Parkway that will tie in with the shel-

tered seating areas & other amenities the group is working on in collaboration with the City and the Parks Department. Their initiative is to make our community more “walkable” for everyone. The grant was from the BRCF Community Arts Fund & the Bueford & Caryl Loper Robbins Fund.

Shelby County Players received a grant of $13,000 for new mobile led lighting and travel/storage cases for the lighting. A grant from the BRCF Community Arts Fund.

Shelbyville Parks & Recreation received $12,733 in grant funds to create a musical ‘art’ space at the Blue River Memorial Park. These grants were made from the Plymate Beautification Fund & the Access to Recreation Fund.

The ARC of Shelby County received $17,500 to expand the SENSES Playroom to serve more children & families. This grant was made from the following unrestricted funds: Plymate Family Fund, Ewing Family Fund, McCrea Family Fund, Bueford & Carol Loper Robbins Fund, Hugs & Kisses Fund, and Morris & Mary Rose Fund.

Girls Inc. was awarded a grant of $16,130 to implement a Microsoft YouthSpark program in their new media & technology center. This grant was made possible from the following unrestricted funds: Robert & Phyllis Ann Ellison Fund, Showers Family Fund, Tobin Family Fund, and Ewing Family Fund.

Gleaners Food Bank received a grant of $10,000 from the Pantry Pals Fund to expand local programming to bring more fresh produce to our community through local food pantries and the mobile food pantry truck visits.

Shares, Inc. will pilot a sensory room for adults with a $10,000 startup grant from the Morris & Mary Rose Fund. The Shelby County Fair Association will be purchasing 350 new folding chairs with their $6,993 grant for use at various events held at the SC Fairgrounds throughout the year. This grant was made possible from the Morris & Mary Rose Fund and the Joseph & Laura Plymate Fund.

Shelby County Youth Assistance Program received $5,960 to help their youth participants attend a variety of beneficial summer camps. This grant was made possible through the Donald & Frances Henry Fund and the Dr. Milton Wells Memorial Fund.

Shelby County Babe Ruth will continue improvements at the Park with a grant of $5,754 to add handicapped parking from the Morris & Mary Rose Fund, Paul & Velta Harrell Memorial Youth Fund, and the Founders Fund for Recreation.

Shelbyville Central Schools is planning a yearlong training & implementation of the ‘Why Not’ curriculum which will

be kicked off by an all staff motivational meeting/training with nationally known speaker Dr. Adolph Brown. The goal is to change the organizational culture and reshape the framework to focus on the strengths of students and to be more supportive and encouraging of students to achieve their individual potential. The Foundation is helping with a $3,500 grant from the McCrea Family Fund.

The Shelby County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program received $2,000 from the Paul & Velta Harrell Memorial Youth Fund to help with expenses related to the program that keeps local students reading throughout the summer.

Shelby Senior Services will be implementing computer classes for seniors with a grant of $1,260 to purchase computers from the Ewing Family Fund.

Interested in Applying for a Grant? BRCF will accept Community Grants applications through September 1st. Be sure to complete a grant interest form or talk to us directly before completing the application. You can access BRCF grant guidelines, policies, and tips on the BRCF website. Go to and click the Learn About Grants section. If you have questions about any of the grant opportunities through BRCF, please contact Lynne Ensminger via email at, or call 317.392.7955.

Blue River Community Foundation 54 W. Broadway, Suite 1, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176 T: 317.392.7955 F: 317.392.4545




2016 Annual Report


Scholarships Make a Difference

Our 2016 Annual Report is now available. Please scan this code to review a copy.

2017 Impact 140

Scholarships Awarded


$506,700 To



2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship DEADLINE: September 1, 2017 Blue River Community Foundation is pleased to announce the 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship application cycle is now open. This scholarship pays full-tuition, required fees, and a book stipend for four years to recipients attending any public or private, Indiana four year college or university. Recipients must pursue undergraduate study in a baccalaureate program on a full-time basis.


The deadline for Shelby County students to apply through the BRCF on-line application is September 1, 2017. To learn more about this scholarship opportunity, or to apply, please call Julie Alvis at 317.392.7955, or visit the Foundation’s website,


New for the Class of 2018:


*Awarded Scholarship total includes the 2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship which is valued at $250,000 for four years. This scholarship is made available through Lilly Endowment, Inc. and administered by Independent Colleges of Indiana.

Students who apply during the Lilly application cycle DO NOT have to reapply during the BRCF General Scholarship application cycle to be considered for those financial opportunities.

Brcf summer newsletter 2017  

Blue River Community Foundation Summer 2017 Newsletter

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