The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has raised nearly $3 million dollars in response to a challenge match from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Thanks to the generosity and support of community members, local businesses, and private foundations, these gifts have resulted in a $2 million match from Lilly Endowment. As a result, just under $5 million was raised to support grantmaking in Allen County and the City of Fort Wayne’s riverfront development efforts.
Allen County was eligible to receive up to $2 million of matching funds from Lilly Endowment under Phase VI of the Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative. The Board of the Community Foundation chose to use $1 million of the grant dollars to support grantmaking in Allen County and the remaining $1 million as a fundraising match to raise money for riverfront development efforts.
The GIFT program was started more than 25 years ago by Lilly Endowment “to build the capacity of Indiana communities to be self-reliant and to be more able to shape their own destinies by having local control over the use of their community foundations’ resources.”
Unrestricted gifts to the Community Grantmaking fund totaled nearly $900,000 and resulted in a full $1 million match. All unrestricted gifts were matched at least $1-for-$1 through the GIFT VI Initiative, while unrestricted gifts from board members matched $2-for-$1. “Successfully raising these matching dollars means we will be able to provide more financial assistance to the nonprofits that serve our community,” said board President Chris Rupp. “The additional dollars this campaign added to our Community Grantmaking fund will allow the Community Foundation to grant approximately $85,000 extra dollars to local nonprofits every year. It’s tremendous.”
The additional $1 million was used to provide a 50% match for gifts to benefit riverfront development efforts. The call to the community to raise $2 million for the riverfront development fund was successfully answered thanks to the vision, enthusiasm, and passion of local donors. The Lilly Endowment match of $1 million brings the total dollar amount raised by the Community Foundation for riverfront development from the GIFT campaign to $3 million. “We are thrilled to have met the goal offered under Lilly Endowment’s GIFT match,” said Community Foundation board member, Don Steininger, who led the fundraising efforts. “It demonstrates the ‘power of community’ when donors support projects that will improve our community today and give to funds that will improve our community for tomorrow.”