Lasting impact

Foundation hopes to inspire projects that strengthen county communities

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor
www.thebellevilletelescope.com

Think big.
That’s what Republic County Community Foundation members want to impress on county citizens as they prepare to review another round of grant applications. Deadline for applications for this distribution is April 15. Foundation members know that’s not enough time to develop a community changing grant for this go around, but as many basic needs in Republic County are met, they hope community leaders will begin to dream about the “what ifs” for the future.

“Maybe its a community center or multi-use building in every town designed to provide the services that community needs,” says Brent Scott, Belleville, vice-chairman of the Foundation. “We hope each individual community will brainstorm about projects that embrace their identities and strengthen them for the future, whether that’s programs for their elderly, to expand community events– whatever they see that supports the services and people of that community.
“We want to make a greater long-term impact to the communities that we serve,” says Scott.

Since 2008, RCCF has distributed $91,000 from action funds contributed locally; $243,000 since 2015 from Dane G. Hansen grants; and $21,000 since 2012 towards health projects.
Grants have helped volunteers finish a new firehouse in Narka, complete a greenhouse at Republic County house at Republic County High School, build a park in Courtland, improve ball fields in Scandia, and add lights and steps to a school museum in Cuba, just to name a few.

“Distributions have been pretty balanced on a per capita basis across the county,” says Steve Scofield, RCCF chairman. “We’ve been able to fill gaps when other taxing entities couldn’t support an entire project.”
But the RCCF board says it also wants communities to think beyond routine maintenance or small enhancements.
Scofield says the RCCF will continue to receive grants from the Dane Hansen Foundation for at least three more years, and projects larger than what can be funded with local support may be able to apply directly to the Hansen Foundation for funding.
Republic County recently participated in a Strategic Doing process provided by the Hansen Foundation to help leaders develop ideas step-by-step. However, Scofi eld and Scott emphasize that participation in Strategic Doing is not a requirement for grant funding. “It’s just a process to help communities develop ideas,” Scott says. “Republic County is already farther along in developing ideas than many counties.”
As of December 31, the RCCF has $3.1 million in assets. The Foundation started in 2008 with $143,000 in assets. About 40 percent of assets are unrestricted; others are in designated funds, scholarships or donor-advised investments.

Republic County Community Foundation grants are available for charitable projects that address the present and future needs of Republic County, including education, healthcare, community social services and security, conservation and environment, arts and culture, and community beautification. Nonprofit organizations, government, and public entities, educational institutions and churches are encouraged to apply.
Applications must be submitted online by Sunday, April 15, 2018. Funding guidelines and the grant application are available at http://republiccountycf.org/search-apply-for-a-grant/