In this blog Rebecca Gilliam, Foundation Executive Director, reflects on some of the highlights from 2023 and provides a preview of what to look forward to in 2024.

As we approach the year’s end, I want to express my appreciation for your continued support of the Wayne County Foundation. Donor support and community engagement makes the Foundation stronger, responsive, and focused on key needs of the county.

In 2023:

  • Grants were awarded to 140 organizations totaling nearly $1.9 million. Impact-driven grantmaking ensures those most vulnerable in our community are supported and our community is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
  • Scholarships reduced the financial burden of higher education for Wayne County students. $431,817 in scholarship awards were made to 161 students.
  • The Foundation brought the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Fundraising School to Wayne County for a workshop focused on the role of the board in fundraising and the collaborative relationship between boards and staff.
  • Forward Wayne County supported the great work of Mainstreet organizations, employers, and government agencies across Wayne County.
  • Robin Henry and Dave Rodgers were honored with the Ruth Wickemeyer and Charles Rodefeld awards, respectively. Their commitment to Wayne County, the nonprofit community, and philanthropy is inspiring. We were pleased to offer our recognition for their community leadership.
  • Our Board completed the next round of strategic planning and we recognized our outgoing members: David Rodgers, Valerie Shaffer, Eric Marsh, and Chris Knight. Their dedication to the Foundation and the community is immeasurable and we appreciate their time and talent. And earlier this month, we surprised Lorelei Guenther and Oliva Dudas with Lilly Community Scholarships. Their educational dreams will now become reality. Congratulations to them and their hard work.

In October, Lilly Endowment Inc. announced the eighth phase of the Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VIII). The Wayne County Foundation has applied for a $1.5 million Matching Fund Grant. The Foundation will use its Matching Fund Grant to grow the unrestricted funds. Unrestricted funds provide financial resources that enable the Foundation to respond to both present and future community needs through additional grantmaking. Lilly Endowment will provide $2 for every $1 contributed to unrestricted funds during GIFT VIII’s matching period of October 1, 2023 – December 31, 2025. Consider making an unrestricted donation today.

In 2024, the Wayne County Foundation will celebrate its 45th Anniversary. We are excited to take the opportunity to highlight the impact of the Foundation and our many donors. Impact-driven grantmaking, community leadership, and nonprofit support will be prioritized.  In February, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Fundraising School will return to Wayne County with another workshop for our nonprofit leaders. Through the Lilly Endowment Gift VIII initiative, the Foundation has been invited to apply for large-scale support. This proposal will complement the work happening across the county.

I encourage you to stay connected with the Wayne County Foundation through our newsletters, Facebook, X, and Instagram.  Look for programs and events celebrating the philanthropic community, nonprofit organizations, and donors throughout 2024.

Philanthropy through the Wayne County Foundation creates a lasting legacy and strengthens our community, and we are grateful for your support.  Join us in making 2024 spectacular!