LAWRENCEBURG, Ind., DECEMBER 11, 2023 – The Dearborn Community Foundation (DCF), Inc. recently awarded a $1,000 Proactive Grant to Beecher Presbyterian Church to support the Southeast Community Garden Project (SEI Community Gardens) in Lawrenceburg.

DCF Board member Jeanne Lehn, left, presents a $1,000 proactive grant check to Shyra Tedesco, Southeast Indiana Community Gardens, center, and Melissa Eckerle of Beecher Presbyterian Church, for the Community Garden project in Lawrenceburg.

In its 25th year of helping donors make a difference, DCF is awarding 15 proactive grants of $1,000 each throughout 2023 to charitable organizations that serve Dearborn County residents. Each of the Foundation’s 15 volunteer Board members is recommending a grant. The money comes from the Foundation’s Unrestricted Endowment Funds, established by donors to provide flexibility to address changing needs in the community over the years. 

DCF Board member Jeanne Lehn recommended the grant to support the project in Lawrenceburg because “Community Gardens address so many needs of the individual, the family and the community at large,” she said.

Lehn said the garden participants can improve physical health through food production and many studies have demonstrated how gardening can improve mental health. “Having a place where you can profoundly impact physical health, mental health and community health makes our town a better place,” she said.

The Lawrenceburg SEI Community Gardens site is located at the corner of Short and William streets, next door to Beecher Presbyterian Church. The church shares storage space and its members are involved in the garden project. The church not only provides storage space for the garden project, but also is a satellite site for Dearborn County Clearinghouse for Emergency Aid.

The Community Gardens Project is aimed at providing an inclusive environment for all members of the community to work together toward improving food and social insecurities, physical and emotional wellness, and nutritional and ecological awareness, said Shyra Tedesco of SEI Community Gardens. The grant was awarded at the perfect time, as there is a need for additional storage at the garden site, she said.

“We plan to use the grant toward purchasing a storage shed,” said Tedesco. “Having another shed will free up more storage space for the church and the Clearinghouse. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the Dearborn Community Foundation as it has been instrumental in our sustainability, enabling our community to ‘grow’ in every aspect of the word.”

To learn more about SEI Community Gardens, check out the group’s website at www.seicommunitygardens.org.

Anyone can contribute to an unrestricted endowment at DCF and help make impact grants like the 15 DCF Board members are recommending in 2023. For a list of the unrestricted endowments and to learn more about the Foundation, call 812-539-4115 or visit the Foundation website at dearborncf.org. If you are interested in contributing to DCF, visit our website’s “Give Now” page to donate online and to learn about other giving options.