The Bontrager Family Foundation is a donor-advised fund held at the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. Established in 2016, the fund continues a long legacy of charitable commitment in Elkhart County by the Bontrager family.
Even before Jayco Inc. was founded in 1968, Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager were dedicated to tithing and giving to charitable causes. Throughout Jayco’s decades of production and growth in Middlebury, the family always remained committed to tithe (a biblical practice of giving 10 percent) from its profits. The family often supported Mennonite schools, colleges, universities, church organizations as well as national, international and local charities.
The Bontrager Family Foundation allows the family to continue its tradition of giving. Family members will advise where to give gifts from the foundation and use the fund as an instrument to accomplish their charitable goals. Their culture of philanthropy will impact the success of many nonprofits serving Elkhart County.
Values and Priorities
Along with Community Foundation staff, Bontrager family advisors will focus on making a measurable impact on organizations that share the same value system instilled deep into their family heritage. These values include:
- Christian faith-based organizations
- Youth and family
- The Middlebury community
How to Apply
First, you and your team should discuss your organization’s needs. Your organization should carefully consider the values and priorities of the Bontrager family as guidelines for proposals and submissions. Applications that more closely adhere to these guidelines have a much higher chance of being funded.
The Bontrager Family Fund grants to organizations or programs whose missions are broadly related to the Middlebury community, serve youth and family and/or are faith-based. Organizations requesting grant funds must have 501(c)(3) designation in the United States. However, funded programs or projects may take place outside the U.S. Typically, grants are awarded to Elkhart County serving organizations with programs and services that have an impact locally.
The Bontrager Family Fund does not provide funds to:
- Non-501(c)3 organizations
- Organizations primarily engaged in lobbying or political activity
SIZE OF GRANTS: In 2018, the average grant award was $14,400 with awards ranging from $750 to $50,000. We often make grants to multiple organizations in a single cycle. The most important consideration is that the size of your request is in line with the scope of the project you are proposing.
The 2019 application cycle will include two award periods:
- May 14th – applications due by April 30th
- November 19th – applications due by October 31st
A Strong Proposal Is:
Short. We have a particular interest in serving Elkhart County residents and do not wish to unintentionally penalize organizations that may have less-developed grant-writing capabilities. We want you to focus on your mission, not applications.
Specific. We are much more likely to award a project-based grant than to simply join in contributing to a larger “pot of money” (e.g., a major fundraiser or a capital campaign).
A Strong Proposal Addresses:
- What do you want to do?
- Who needs it, and why?
- How will you measure progress/success of the project, and how will this be communicated to the Foundation?
- If relevant, do you intend to secure sustained funding from another source? How can we partner with you to help you succeed at this step?
- Your organization’s intended use of the funds. You may include a budget (.pdf, .doc, .xls) with your application to allow us to see your allotment of funds.
Once you have carefully considered and compiled the relevant information, you should complete the Request for Funding application. Your application should be emailed to Jodi Spataro – firstname.lastname@example.org before the posted deadlines. Applications received after each deadline will be considered during the next funding cycle.
You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. After the family advisors have met and made a decision, the Community Foundation will contact each applicant regarding his or her respective results. There is presently no limit to how many grants you may submit or the number of times you may apply.