$1.5 Million Grant from the Lilly Endowment

Etruth – Tim Vandenack
Oct. 16, 2014

The Elkhart County Community Foundation will be getting a new injection of $1.5 million in matching grant funds, allowing it to aid three non-profits here and offer more general operational assistance to other charitable groups. Elkhart County has been “very fortunate” in generating funds to augment its endowment, “but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped pursuing opportunities to further enhance our resources,” Pete McCown, the foundation president, said in a statement.

Notably, Guy David Gundlach made a posthumous gift of $150 million to the foundation in 2012. Now, the foundation, which provides millions of dollars in funding for Elkhart County charitable groups each year, will be getting $1.5 million more from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, McCown announced Thursday, Oct. 16. Terms of the grant, one of many granted by Lilly to organizations around Indiana, call on the foundation and the local non-profits impacted to generate up to $2.25 million more in matching funds.

Here’s how the $1.5 million is to be diviied:

Fund for Excellence: Half of it, $750,000, will go toward creation of the ECCF Fund for Excellence, with the ECCF generating $750,000 more to match that. The fund would serve as a resource for other Elkhart County non-profits looking to become more efficient and improve their management. “Through this Lilly Endowment grant we see opportunity to help our not-for-profit organizations improve their governance, planning, assessment and fundraising capacities,” McCown said.

Boys and Girls Club: The Boys and Girls Club of Elkhart County is to get $250,000, matching that with $500,000 more. The organization has been expanding and growing of late.

Humane Society: The Humane Society of Elkhart County is to get $250,000, also matching that with $500,000. The organization last month announced plans for a $4 million fundraising drive to generate money to build a new facility.

Wellfield Gardens: The Wellfield Botanic Gardens is to get the final $250,000, also matching that with $500,000. Located at 1011 N. Main St., the facility is anon-profit garden launched by the Elkhart Rotary Club.



Per terms of the $1.5 million grant, the Elkhart County entities would need to generate the $2.25 million in matching funds by March 2016. They aren’t actually required to generate all the matching funds, but failure to do so could figure in future grant funding provided by Lilly.  The formal announcement came at a luncheon at the Lerner Theatre to mark the foundation’s 25th anniversary. In fiscal year 2013-2014, the foundation managed assets of $227 million and distributed $7.07 million to charitable causes.

Brian Smith, the outgoing foundation chairman, told the crowd at the lunch that the $227 million as of June 30, 2014, compares to $46 million two years earlier, an increase due in big part to the Gundlach gift. Of the $7.07 million distributed, $2.25 million was distributed via the Fund for Elkhart County, where the Gundlach gift was placed. Prior to the Gundlach gift, Fund for Elkhart County distributions totaled around $500,000 per year and they’re expected to grow to $4.5 million for fiscal year 2014-2015.

Smith said in his two years as chairman, the foundation distributed around $10 million in all, including the $7.07 million in fiscal year 2013-2014. He hopes the figure increases to $20 million in the coming two-year period under Rick Jenkins, the incoming chairman. “If we’re going to err, let’s err on the side of giving away too much, not holding onto our marbles,” Smith said at the luncheon.