Community Foundation of Elkhart County invests nearly $3 million with grants to non-profits

April 20, 2020

ELKHART, Indiana – The Community Foundation of Elkhart County’s Board of Directors approved $2,940,325 of new and multi-year grants to dozens of nonprofits and programs throughout Elkhart County.

The grants were given in the categories of placemaking, kids and families, and career pathways, reflecting the priorities of the Community Foundation. Staff and all three committees discussed whether to proceed with responding to grant requests during this time of upheaval due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “The committee chairs agreed that we should move forward,” said Chief Program Officer Candy Yoder. “After careful consideration they said it’s important that we continue the good work in our community in addition to that which is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.”

The committees awarded grants, but also set aside a total of $750,000 that could have been awarded during this grant cycle because of the uncertainty around the crisis.

Prior to committee meetings to make grant award decisions, staff members check with every nonprofit applying. Some grant applications were put on hold and past grant recipients are being given flexibility to pivot if needed because of the pandemic, Yoder said. “We have a strong community and it’s important that all of us work to be both flexible and resilient during this time of drawing together to meet needs,” she said.

The Community Foundation has contributed to and is receiving donations to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which resulted from a partnership with United Way of Elkhart & LaGrange Counties. Donations to the fund can be made via either agency. Grant requests are being responded to quickly by staff members from both organizations. To learn more, go online to

The Community Foundation, with the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and Elkhart city officials, has led a local process to expand the scope and programs of Tolson Center & Park. The Foundation’s board has agreed to commit $2 million to the process. That grant money is coming from the three areas in this fiscal year ending July 31 and the next two fiscal years.

The grants awarded between January 1 and the end of March are:

Placemaking grants totaling $706,856

  • Concord Little League, $28,356, Challenger Pavilion
  • Humane Society, $35,000, Animal Care & Control Vehicle
  • Nappanee Arts Council, $120,000, The Art Path & Working Art Studio
  • Premier Arts, $60,000, Production Facility Improvements
  • Tolson Center & Park Project, $175,000, part of a $2 million commitment from the Foundation over three years
  • COVID-19 Reserve, $250,000, Reserve held for emergency
  • 4 grants of $25,000 or less totaled $38,500

Kids and Families grants totaling $977,090

  • Horizon Education Alliance, $125,000, Triple P Positive Parenting Program
  • Housing Authority of Elkhart, $187,000, Phase II Building Renovations for Head Start
  • Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, $250,000, Youth Mental Health Network
  • Cultivate Culinary, $20,000, Renovation Part B
  • Tolson Center, $350,000, part of a $2 million commitment from the Foundation over three years
  • 8 grants of $25,000 or less totaled $45,090

Career Pathways grants totaling $872,194

  • Junior Achievement, $750,000, JA BizTown Elkhart County
  • South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership, $50,000, Start Up South Bend-Elkhart
  • 10 grants of $25,000 or less totaled $72,194

Opportunity Fund totaling $384,185

  • Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, $50,000, Team Project
  • Elkhart Health Fitness & Aquatics, $250,000, Annual support for operations
  • 30 grants for sponsorships and memberships, $84,185


Grant requests are reviewed by staff and volunteer committees comprised of a diverse range of community members who are engaged with their respective sectors and make every effort to be aware of emerging and ongoing initiatives. Staff members can make decisions on grants of $25,000 or less and the board of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County approves all grants.