The Gannett Foundation hosted its annual ‘A Community Thrives’ program recently. The challenge requires organizations to raise money in local crowdfunding campaigns before receiving allotted funds. Since crowdfunding, five nonprofits in Indiana will receive funds from the Gannett Foundation ranging from $5,250 to $100,000.
This foundation has hosted the ‘A Community Thrives’ program since 2017. In these six years, the foundation’s ACT webpage said 4,469 organizations have applied for this grant.
Spencer Pride Inc.
Spencer Pride Inc. is an LGBTQ support group in Spencer, about 15.17 miles northwest of Bloomington, working to make Indiana a welcoming place for everyone through health and wellness resources as well as advocacy and engagement in the community.
Fundraising director of the organization, Judi Epp, said in their small rural community, services are few and far between.
If they raised $3,500, she said they would qualify for additional grants from the Gannett Foundation. After they ended up raising $4,000 through in-person and virtual donor outreach, the Gannett Foundation granted $34,000 to the nonprofit.
Moving forward, SPI plans to use the funds to continue renovation efforts of their office’s second floor. Epp said they have regular health and wellness screenings such as HIV testing, but the additional space will provide more privacy for such tests and more space for events with nonprofits and members in the community.
Once they finish construction, Epp said SPI can provide more rotating services, such as vaccines and counseling services out of their health and wellness office in addition to their other services.
“A lot of people in this community just don’t have access to those kinds of services,” Epp said. “We want to make it close to home for them.”
She said SPI is a gathering place for the community, and she hopes people know anyone is allowed to come in — whether to shop at their boutique, learn more information or just be present in the community.
Spencer Pride Inc.’s crowdfunding page, click here.
Tandem Community Birth Center and Postpartum House
Tandem is a startup nonprofit that recently opened its facility for its first phase of service offerings focused on perinatal and reproductive health.
Julie Duhon, co-founder and treasurer, said their newly opened gynecology clinic is for anyone, from puberty through menopause. They’re starting with a low client volume and limited services but will eventually expand hours and services to include most routine gynecology care such as pap smears, birth control and STI screenings.
Since it’s a small clinic setting, Duhon said it could be an ideal provider for people who need more support, regardless of whether they’ve had a traumatic experience in the past.
Out of the five organizations mentioned, Tandem received the highest amount of funds from the Gannett Foundation at $100,000.
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She said in an email, Gannett previously awarded them $60,000 in grants in 2021, and they have raised over $100,000 from other grants and donations included a $30,000 Jack Hopkins Social Services Grant from the City of Bloomington.
When they applied this year, Duhon said she was nervous because without a continued funding source, it’s much more difficult to begin their construction plans in the birth center.
Duhon said this is the second year they participated in the grant application. Last year, the Tandem fundraiser was called Bellies and Babes — a campaign for people to share pictures of their bellies or a baby accompanied by a testimony of why Tandem was important to them and to the community.
In her post for the campaign, she said she shared her fears about childbirth with her son since having a traumatic first birth with her oldest. She felt she needed her provider to understand the personal and emotional aspects of her pregnancy and upcoming labor and not just monitor fetal health from a medical standpoint.
This year, in lieu of Bellies and Babes, Tandem organized a campaign called “More Than A Uterus.”
“We’re going to keep applying for grants,” Duhon said. “But this vote of confidence from Gannett Foundation is just huge.”
Within the next month, she said Tandem hopes to have another volunteer day where interested members of the community can help with renovations at the birth center.
Tandem Community Birth Center and Postpartum House’s website, click here.
Catholic Charities Bloomington Inc.
CCB is a local organization dedicated to improving the accessibility of mental health services in the community, offering clinical therapy and counseling to those in need.
Darcie Casey, the project coordinator at CCB, said she learned about the ACT grant while attending an event for nonprofits. She was new to pursuing grants and Duhon from Tandem suggested CCB apply for this one.
CCB has 13 therapists all working at maximum capacity. After crowdfunding and receiving the grant money, she said CCB hopes to hire and onboard two new therapists to be able to serve 50 people in total.
She said they’re seeing about 25 to 27 clients each on a sliding scale fee, but the waitlist is growing. The organization is very active in partnerships around the community with New Hope for Families as well as Fairview Elementary and Monroe County United Ministries.
From July 18 to August 18, Casey said the nonprofit had to crowd source $6,000 from the community.
She said there was a stigma attached to seeking therapy and that the organization wanted to raise awareness for quality mental health care. In fact, the nonprofit published a video series on their organization page introducing donors to therapy. The video topics ranged from how to recognize needing therapy, what to expect before the first session and more.
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She said they had over 60 donors and ended up raising $9,000 instead of the goal of $6,000.
“We were completely humbled by everyone’s overwhelming support,” Casey said.
Since the campaign, CCB has received $5,250 from Gannett Foundation in addition to the $9,000 from crowdfunding.
Catholic Charities Bloomington Inc’s crowdfunding page, click here.
New Hope for Families
This nonprofit organization provides early childhood care and educational facilities to client families while they work towards financial stability and independence.
Development director Jim Olsen said in an email that this was the first time New Hope applied for the ACT fundraising initiative. The timing was perfect because they opened their expanded facility last April and wanted to help serve more local families in a financial sustainable way. He said in an email that 64 donors within the community contributed a total of $41,715 to the crowdfunding campaign.
“The community really responded to this, and we were very thrilled,” Olsen said.
He said they expect to receive the $6,000 grant award soon. The funds will be used in ongoing operations at the Nest, an educational facility for families as well as the shelter, he said.
“A community can thrive when the families and the children in the community thrive as well,” Olsen said. “That’s why people support a project like this, and that’s why I come to work every day because I feel like this is something that’s helping the community to be a better place.”
New Hope for Families' crowdfunding page, click here.
My Sister’s Closet
The retail boutique in Bloomington strives to empower women with services as they start a new path, operations director Erin McAlister, said.
She said this was the first time MSC applied for the ACT grant. They wanted to assist 30 refugees referred to MSC by helping to secure sustainable employment and the transition into society. MSC wanted to increase English and translational services, a training program and keep staff on-site for various needs.
She said the organization raised $3,162, and the Gannett Foundation gave them $6,000 following their campaign.
“It’s really humbling when you talk to these individuals and you hear about the situations that they were living in and what they were lucky enough to leave and how grateful they are in every single way for everything that is being done for them here in Bloomington,” Sandy Keller, founder and executive director of My Sister’s Closet, said.
The boutique helps carry out the organization’s mission, she said, and active donations and support go a long way into sustaining such supportive services.
“Bloomington is an amazing giving community that does everything they could think of to possibly make things more positive for people that have had some of these things happen to them and My Sister's Closet benefits from incredible in-kind donations,” Keller said.
Since applying for the grant, she said MSC formed more community partnerships. The staff is excited for the MSC Celebration of Service Fundraiser because it involves several members of the community and will be a chance to engage with everyone since the pandemic.
My Sister’s Closet’s crowdfunding page, click here.