Member News

Wayne County Foundation Receives Community Planning Grant

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Wayne County Foundation has received a $60,000 planning grant as part of the eighth phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s initiative, Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VIII).  With the grant, the community foundation will prioritize innovative ideas and strategic initiatives that will revitalize communities, neighborhoods, downtowns, or target demographics; and that will produce results for improving the quality of life in Wayne County.

The Wayne County Foundation is one of 92 community foundations and affiliate funds in Indiana receiving planning grants through GIFT VIII.  These grants are designed to help community foundations collaborate with local partners to engage broad and diverse stakeholders in their communities and deepen their understanding of their communities’ highest-priority challenges and opportunities.

In 2024, the Wayne County Foundation will have the opportunity to request funding to implement strategic initiatives and activities developed during the planning period that address especially compelling needs in Wayne County.

“We are excited about this opportunity,” said Rebecca Gilliam, Executive Director of the Wayne County Foundation. “The perception that our community is rural and underdeveloped means we are often overlooked for significant investments. We are prepared to create new opportunities to change that narrative.” 

The Foundation, through Forward Wayne County, will review current plans and initiatives; conduct additional stakeholder meetings and community engagement sessions; and identify key projects to pursue additional funding. The Foundation will work with HWC Engineering to do this planning work.

“Wayne County communities, local and city government, key stakeholders, and others have been great partners,” said Acacia St. John, Program Director for Forward Wayne County. “They are excited to come alongside us to start this work. They will help us prioritize top projects to pursue.” 

Lilly Endowment created the GIFT initiative in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges and work with other organizations to help their communities thrive.  Through GIFT VIII, Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $210 million to support Indiana’s community foundations in growing their financial resources and further strengthening their ability to address their community’s highest-priority challenges and opportunities.

About The Wayne County Foundation
Since 1979, the Wayne County Foundation has existed to foster and encourage private philanthropic giving, to enhance the spirit of community, and to improve the quality of life in the Wayne County, Indiana, area now and for future generations.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private 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 development, education 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.

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