The community rallied, dug deep and donated enough money to earn the Johnson County Community Foundation up to $1 million through the Lilly Endowment.
One immediate result: Local organizations that work to make the county better and help residents will get in total $40,000 more each year to spend on programs or scholarships, foundation president and CEO Gail Richards said.
The community foundation board members built a task force and went to community leaders, such as Jeff Goben, Sandy Daniels and Lyman Snyder, who had been involved in raising money for a grant program in previous years. Lilly hadn’t offered such a match program in 14 years.
Donors, who are residents living or working in the community, pledged money to start 30 new accounts at the foundation. Each account needed a minimum of $10,000 to open. The new accounts have specific causes, such as granting memorial scholarships. Lilly matched their donations.
For example, the Johnson County Historical Society has new funds, and family members of the two Franklin teens killed in the incident on the Edinburgh dam started the Franklin Strong Scholarship Fund in memory of Michael “Micky” Chadbourne and Jason Moran.
The family members realized they could double the amount of money available for scholarships by getting involved in the match program, and now the scholarship fund is established forever, Richards said. That was one of many special funds created and doubled with the Lilly gift, Richards said.
Another 1,000 donors gave money to help the community foundation give community grants each year.
“It became a capital campaign to make that match,” Richards said. “It truly is a gift.”
All of the money is being invested and grants will be made off of the earnings. With the giving, the endowment grew from more than $21 million to about $24 million, Richards said.
“The community just rallied around this,” she said.
The endowment offered community foundations across the state the dollar-for-dollar match starting two years ago.