Member News

Grant announced through local funder collaboration

Friday, December 8, 2017

(Muncie, Indiana) Funders in Delaware County have come together to pool knowledge, experiences, and resources to make a collective impact on a current issue in the community. The Delaware County CASA Program will receive the inaugural Funders Forum Collaborative grant of $23,000 to launch a campaign that emphasizes the impact that concerned citizens can have through volunteer opportunities with the organization, which advocates for abused and neglected children in Delaware County.

Delaware County's need for CASA has grown tremendously due to the current drug and opioid epidemic. There has been an almost 200 percent increase of abused and neglected children in the Delaware County Court System since 2012.  CASA is currently only able to serve 41 percent of the children appointed to the CASA Program.  While CASA is acutely aware of the impact this epidemic is having on children and families in our community, the community at large is unaware of how widespread the problem is.

This grant will fund a campaign that brings awareness to the extent of how the opioid epidemic is impacting the children and families in our community and prompts community action. Through increased information about volunteer opportunities, CASA hopes to increase the number of CASA volunteers to represent the high number of abused and neglected children currently on the waiting list for an advocate. Not only does Indiana law require every child be represented by a Guardians ad Litem (GAL) or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), but the support of a caring, consistent, and highly trained CASA volunteer can positively impact the course of life for those who need a better outcome.

“With this grant, we are setting an example of collaboration, not only by working alongside one another, but by coming together to pool funds and make a difference,” said Rich Spisak, Ball Brothers Foundation.

As early as 1997, the Funders Forum was convened as a way for local funders to discuss community issues and hear from nonprofit organizations about their programs and services. Since then, the group has evolved to include collaborative grantmaking. Members with the Funders Forum Collaborative include Ball Brothers Foundation, George and Francis Ball Foundation, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Delaware Advancement Corporation/Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, First Merchants Corporation, IU  Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation, Harry and Janet Kitselman Foundation Fund, Kiwanis Club of Muncie, Maxon Foundation Fund, Muncie Altrusa Foundation, MutualBank Charitable Foundation, Office of Community Development – City of Muncie, Old National Bank Foundation, Psi Iota Xi, Rotary Club of Muncie, Shafer Foundation, Tri Kappa, United Way of Delaware County, and the Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation.

This year, through an examination of common funding priorities and community needs, the group identified programs that address drug prevention and education. Organizations were identified by the Funders Forum Collaboration and invited to submit proposals.

“As funders, we are working together to move the needle in our community and hope to continue the efforts annually,” said Pat Botts, MutualBank Charitable Foundation.

Applications to the Funders Forum Collaborative are accepted by invitation only.

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