The Community Foundation values its role as a catalyst, convener and collaborator, bringing other funders and nonprofits together around vital issues and adding key support to make positive change possible. We center our work around what we know about community needs.
Listed below are Special Projects/Initiatives we have introduced in Harrison County, Indiana.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Project:
In September 2007 the Harrison County Community Foundation Board of Directors voted to provide $30,000 to fund this program in Harrison County, Indiana. This Program encourages parents to read to their children by providing each preschool child enrolled in the program an age appropriate book in the mail each month until their fifth birthday. Over 1,600 preschool children are currently enrolled in the program. Children can be enrolled through the Foundation or at one of the participating partners; Harrison County Public Library, YMCA of Harrison County, Harrison County Community Services, Harrison County Health Department and Harrison County Hospital. Parents may also register their children on the web at www.imaginationlibrary.com. Encouraged by the success of the program, the Board of Directors has agreed to continue funding the cost through the year 2017. The Early Readers Fund which supports the Dolly Parton Imagination Library project will benefit from a 2:1 match in 2017.
The Dictionary Project:
In October 2008 the Harrison County Community Foundation Board of Directors voted to provide $700 to fund this program to provide a dictionary to every third grader in Harrison County. In partnership with the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana these students attending the nine Harrison County Elementary Schools received their very own dictionary. This Project assists students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers. For more information regarding The Dictionary Project visit their webpage, www.dictionaryproject.org.
Access to Recreation Project:
In November 2007 the Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) was awarded a $411,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to provide accessible improvements to the many parks in Harrison County. Matching contributions were provided by Harrison County government, O’Bannon Woods State Park and the Harrison County Community Foundation. The Access to Recreation projects also benefited from in-kind donations. Many volunteers were also involved to help stretch resources providing assistance in the construction projects as well as sharing their ideas to help make the project a success.
An endowment was created to maintain these projects and help pay for continuing improvements in perpetuity. W. K. Kellogg Foundation funds along with a HCCF match and donations from people who believe everyone should have a chance to enjoy the great outdoors helped to create the Access to Recreation Fund. This fund will provide several thousand dollars each year to keep adding accessible features throughout the county.
Our goal in seeking out this grant was universal accessibility; eliminating barriers to create a community where every person’s unique strengths and perspectives are valued.
Additional information on the accessible improvements in our region may be found at http://www.harrisoncoparks.com/Accessibility.html.
Indiana started 21st Century Scholars in 1990 to ensure every student can afford a college education. Income-eligible 7th and 8th graders who enroll in the program and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship may receive up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana. Students whose family meets the income guidelines for free and reduced lunch should be eligible. These scholarships are valued at approximately $20,000, depending on funds available each year. Statewide, about one-third of all students are eligible. For Harrison County, that’s about 150 graduating seniors each year who could receive assistance for college.
To fulfill the pledge of good citizenship, students pledge to graduate from high school with at least a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, avoid illegal drugs, alcohol or other illegal activity, apply for admission to an eligible Indiana college or university as a high school senior, and submit state and federal student aid paperwork on time (by March 10th of their senior year of high school) before they enter college.
There are several ways that parents can enroll their child. Parents may enroll online by going to http://www.in.gov/ssaci/2380.htm. They can contact their nearest library to set a time for assistance or they can print off the form themselves and drop it by any Harrison County public library or HCCF. Income guidelines for eligibility and other documentation needed are also found on the SSAIC website.
The application is a short two-page form and should take only 10 minutes to fill out. The state approves the applicants in a few days.
Youth Philanthropy Council:
The Youth Philanthropy Council of Harrison County is designed to teach skills, to encourage youth to give and serve in their communities and to make philanthropy a “habit of the heart” for future generations. The program goals are to promote youth development through experiences in philanthropy, to encourage and support community initiatives which youth care about and to engage youth and adults in partnership through giving and serving for the common good. The Youth Philanthropy Fund which provides youth-led grantmaking dollars, will benefit from a 2:1 match in 2017.
A network of organizations focused on increasing the percentage of students who 1) enter college following high school and 2) earn a college degree within the first four years of college.