LAWRENCEBURG, Ind., Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – The Dearborn Community Foundation (DCF), Inc. is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2018 by awarding $20,000 in proactive grants, matching donor contributions, and a celebratory dinner.
DCF began as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County in late 1997 and then became a “stand-alone” community foundation in April 1998. The Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt public charity, helps donors’ dreams come true by safeguarding endowments for the community through contributions large and small. Grants awarded by the Dearborn Community Foundation support the needs and interests in Dearborn County in the fields of Art, Culture and Humanities, Community and Public Benefit, Education, Environment and Animal Protection, Human Services, Public Safety and Youth Programs.
With the help of kind and generous donors, DCF has amassed assets of $21 million in 20 years, including 132 endowed funds totaling more than $17 million. The Foundation has awarded more than $40 million in charitable grants and scholarships through endowment funds and non-endowed programs in its 20-year history.
“With generous assistance from Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Rising Sun Regional Foundation, the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County along with many donors and dedicated volunteers, DCF has become the charitable organization of record in our community,” said Fred McCarter, DCF Executive Director. “We are proud to be able to help donors make their charitable wishes come true through endowment.”
In the mid-1990s, the idea of a community foundation in Dearborn County came out of a committee meeting at the Dearborn County Chamber of Commerce, McCarter said. “Individuals like Mike Kramer, Richard Ullrich and Lisa deHart Lehner embraced the idea. They worked hard with others to do the research and prep work to establish the Foundation with help from Lilly Endowment’s GIFT initiative (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow).”
The founding Board members, donors and other friends of the foundation sought to promote philanthropy in Dearborn County, said Lehner, a DCF founder and its one-and-only legal counsel. “They took advantage of the opportunity through Lilly Endowment to establish an organization to help donors grow endowment for the charitable needs in our community now and into the future. The volunteers and staff members from over the years have gained the trust of the community and folks have continued to contribute to endowment.”
Twenty years later, DCF endowments distributes nearly $500,000 annually in grants to charitable organizations and scholarships to students. The Foundation typically awards more than $1 million in grants and scholarships annually through programs that are not endowed. Donors to the non-endowed programs count on DCF’s expertise to award grants to worthy charitable organizations and causes.
McCarter says DCF’s positive impact on the community is all due to the donors who care about their community. “Whether it’s the City of Lawrenceburg with its Lawrenceburg Community Grant Program or an individual or a businessperson who gives for a specific scholarship or charitable cause, we wouldn’t be here without them. We are gratified to help donors make a difference!”
The Foundation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a dinner in late July and will be awarding 20 proactive grants of $1,000 each to charitable organizations in Dearborn County throughout 2018, McCarter said. Each of DCF’s 15 volunteer Board members gets to recommend a grant and then five lucky attendees to the DCF dinner in July will be randomly drawn to recommend a grant, he said.
Additionally, the Foundation begins its 11th Annual Double Your Donation endowment matching campaign on June 4. Beginning June 4, the Foundation will match contributions to new or existing endowments $1-for-$1 up to a maximum of $5,000 per donor. It’s important to note contributions will be matched on a first-come, first-served basis as long as matching funds are available. DCF and the City of Lawrenceburg combined to provide $91,500 in matching funds.
In January 2009, DCF received the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability: the seal of approval from the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations Program operated by the Council on Foundations (COF), a national professional association based in Washington, D.C. DCF was reconfirmed for the National Standards by the COF in 2014.
To learn more about DCF, call 812-539-4115, stop by the office at 322 Walnut Street in Lawrenceburg, or visit the Foundation website at www.dearborncf.org. If you are interested in making a contribution to a fund at DCF, visit our website’s “Give Now” page to donate online and to learn other giving options.