LAWRENCEBURG, IND., JANUARY 23, 2019 – A $20,000 grant from the Powell Family Fund at the Dearborn Community Foundation (DCF) will improve firefighter’s communication and safety at the Sunman Rural Fire Department, Inc.
The grant was recently recommended by DCF donors Ron and Bonnie Powell and approved by the Foundation board of directors. The $20,000 grant helped the fire department, which provides fire service to a significant portion of Northern Dearborn County, with half the cost of new radios and associated hardware to expand the number of radios available to most of its 30 volunteer firefighters. The fire department paid the other half of the total cost of $40,138 to purchase the radios and hardware.
“We are so very fortunate to have such great community backing from folks like the Powell’s and the Dearborn Community Foundation,” said Bill Craig, Chief of Sunman Rural Fire Department. “It’s all about safety, keeping folks safe. We are so very lucky in this part of the state to have such great community backing.”
Craig, a 28-year volunteer firefighter, says volunteer fire and EMS departments work very hard to be fiscally responsible and to be good stewards of the funds received from government or through fundraisers. “When we are able to receive a grant from the Powell Family Fund, DCF or other donors, it frees up those other funds for day-in, day-out expenses,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have the this support.”
The new 800MHZ radios provide more channel capability for fire ground operations vs. the old radios, Craig said. The better communication capabilities increase firefighter safety, especially with high-risk situations. The change to the new radios also eliminates the need for fire personnel to carry more than one radio during operations.
The grant to Sunman Rural Fire Department isn’t the first time the Powell Family Fund supported firefighters and the important work they do in the community. The Powell’s donor-advised fund at DCF previously awarded more than $8,000 in grants to the fire department. The grants have helped with the purchase needed equipment, including a 2017 grant to help purchase new tires for one of the fire department’s fire and emergency trucks.
“We’re passionate about what firefighters do,” Ron said. “We have a direct connection. Both of our fathers retired from the Cincinnati Fire Department, and our son Ronnie is a 10-year volunteer firefighter for Sunman Rural Fire Department.”
The Powell’s have great respect for the dedication of volunteer firefighters. “Our fathers were full-time firefighters who got paid for it,” Ron said. “With our son being a 10-year volunteer, we are certainly more aware of the personal sacrifice. What would we do without these folks? They need support to make sure they have what they need when their services are needed.”
The Powell’s made a living in Dearborn County and Southwest Ohio for more than 23 years with their former company Powell Gravel & Topsoil. So when they established the Powell Family Fund in late 2005 at the Dearborn Community Foundation (DCF), they did so to give back to the community they love.
“We wanted to give back to the community by supporting things that are important to our family,” Bonnie said. “Our hopes are that our children will step in and advise the foundation on grants someday when we’re no longer around.”
Through the donor-advised endowment fund at DCF, the Powell’s are able to periodically recommend grants to eligible charitable entities and causes in their community. They simply make a written recommendation to the DCF staff to complete due-diligence work and then the recommendation goes on to the Foundation board of directors for approval.
Ron, a former DCF Board member, said they chose a donor-advised fund so they could have direct input into what organizations and causes receive grants from their endowment fund. “We like being able to choose what organizations receive funding,” he said.
Prior to establishing the Powell Family Fund at DCF, the Powell’s did their giving directly on their own. However, they say utilizing the donor-advised fund at DCF has great benefits.
“It’s been a very good experience,” Ron said. “It’s very convenient to us to have the endowment because the Foundation takes care of all of the accounting and bookwork and all administration. We like the donor-advised fund because we can have input and we don’t have to do all of the administrative work.”
The Powell’s also recommend others consider establishing an endowment at DCF, as the Foundation is a valuable tool in the community to help donors make a difference in the community by supporting their favorite charities and causes. “It’s a great feeling to be able to give back and make a difference,” Bonnie said.
For the Powell’s, giving back to their community is important. They, however, are giving back to the community in more than one way. They are setting a wonderful example of philanthropy for their three grown children (Ashley Kranz, Elizabeth Rosenberger, and Ronnie), their six grandchildren and the community as a whole.
Sixteen of DCF’s 137 endowment funds are donor-advised funds. For more information on how to establish a donor-advised fund or any other type of endowment fund at DCF, call Fred McCarter at 812-539-4115. Anyone can make a donation to any endowment fund. To learn more about the Foundation or to donate, visit the DCF website: www.dearborncf.org.