Foundation reveals 2016 semifinalists in Envision effort
In June, the Putnam County Community Foundation announced the program Envision 2016: Moving Putnam County Forward.
The Envision 2016 initiative makes up to $200,000 available to fund innovative projects or programs to help move our community ahead in the areas of arts and culture, economic development, education, recreation or youth. Envision 2016 grant requests must be between $25,000 and $100,000 and be a collaboration of at least two organizations.
Envision 2016 inspired 13 organizations to submit applications requesting $1,039,000 in funding.
Grants Committee members read and ranked each grant application. Key factors included the number of community members directly affected by the proposal, creativity and uniqueness, broad geographical diversity in impact, broad community support, leveraging of other funding streams and in-kind gifts, sustainability and lasting impact.
Following discussion and evaluation of the applications, seven semifinalists were selected for further review.
Each of the seven semifinalists will meet with a Community Foundation fact-finding team. The fact-finding teams consist of two Community Foundation grant committee members, a Putnam County Community Foundation board member and Community Foundation Community Development Director Dean Gambill. The meetings have begun and will be completed by the end of November.
The seven semifinalists are:
-- The Greencastle School Corporation, in partnership with Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam community school corporations, is seeking $100,000 to provide quality preschool to poverty-stricken children throughout the county. By expanding their current preschool programs, the four school systems wish to provide a free quality preschool education to students whose families fall below the federal poverty level.
-- Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County is requesting $96,500 in an effort to preserve the Heritage of Putnam County for today and future generations. Its Bicentennial Legacy Project includes the restoration of the Putnam County Civil War Soldiers Monument in Forest Hill Cemetery, applications for National Register of Historic Districts for Russellville, Roachdale, Bainbridge, Fillmore, Cloverdale and Putnamville and walking brochures for each historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Districts.
The project also includes an assessment of the external condition of the Putnam County Courthouse and the update of the Courthouse clock on the south side and installation of a second clock on the north side. Partners with Heritage Preservation Society include Putnam County government, City of Greencastle, Putnam County Convention and Visitor Center, Roachdale Revitalization Cooperative Alliance and the Town of Bainbridge.
-- The Putnam County Airport Authority desires $95,000 to begin "Dream Flight," a project for youth interested in aviation or manufacturing. The project includes building of a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer by Putnam County students.
Students from across the county are eligible to be involved in this extracurricular activity through Area 30 Career Center. Under the direction of an FAA-certified inspector, students may learn a number of aviation-related fields from aircraft manufacturing, electronics, maintenance, design and even learning to fly. Participants will strengthen their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills.
Following completion and FAA certification, the aircraft will be sold with the proceeds put back into the building of another aircraft. Partners for the "Dream Flight" program are Area 30 Career Center, Putnam County Economic Development Center, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1374, Popular Rotorcraft Association Chapter 34, and Clover Aero.
-- The Putnam County Youth Development Commission is seeking $25,800 to conduct an assessment of the needs among at-risk youth and family for long-term community development. The YDC is partnering on this proposal with the DePauw University Civic Engagement Office, The Castle and Mental Health Association of Putnam County.
The needs assessment will focus on the relationship between education, youth services and economic development. Another part of the project is to conduct a community forum with key stakeholders to take the report and determine the next steps.
-- The Russellville Community Center along with its partners, the Town of Russellville and the Russellville Community Church, would like $100,000 to replace the roof of the community center. The community center is a Red Cross Emergency Center and can hold a large number of citizens in case of an emergency.
The community center annually serves between 3,500 and 4,000 persons as a key gathering spot in northern Putnam County used for community events, wedding receptions, auctions and other civic activities.
-- The Summer Enrichment Program has been providing summer learning opportunities for children for 26 years. Transportation issues have limited the program service area to Greencastle-area children.
Partnering with Putnam County Kids Count which holds a weeklong summer camp for 130 children each summer at Heritage Lake, the Summer Enrichment Program is seeking to expand summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children in the northern part of the county. The $34,020 request would help increase the services offered through Putnam County Kids Count.
-- The Friends of the Park Association of Putnam County, with People Pathways, is seeking some grant funding to further the wellness in the community by continuing the building of multi-use trails in the county. The People Pathways currently stretch from Greencastle through Fillmore to Hendricks County.
The group is seeking $100,000 to begin the Greencastle to Clay County portion of the trails. When completed, Putnam County would become home to a 21-mile segment of the National Road Heritage Trail. The group has acquired land in multiple ways, including some from the Department of Natural Resources, to make these paths on old railways. This project being completed will be another success in Putnam County that helps the community connect and promote wellness.
"All of our semifinalists have great ideas that would benefit our county," the Foundation's Gambill said. "We wish we could fund them all but we can't and that makes for difficult decisions."
Finalists will be selected in December. Each finalist will have the opportunity to make a 10-minute presentation to the Community Foundation board of directors on Jan. 12
Grantees will be announced at the Greencastle Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Jan. 24.