The Spencer County Community Foundation Receives $100,000 Grant Through Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Gift VII Community Leadership Grant

(Spencer County, Indiana)  The Spencer County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation Alliance, has received a Community Leadership Grant of $100,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative.  With this grant, the Community Foundation will support advocacy and mentorship programs for youth, and the provision of additional mental health and substance abuse services in Spencer County.

The Spencer County Community Foundation is one of 84 foundations in Indiana receiving grants through this round of GIFT VII grantmaking. Lilly Endowment created GIFT in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges. It launched GIFT VII in 2018 and made available a total of $125 million to help foundations strengthen their leadership capacities in the towns, cities and counties they serve. Lilly Endowment expects to make additional GIFT VII grants in the coming months.

“Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VII initiative has allowed community foundations to enhance our partnerships with local organizations to achieve a greater impact in our communities through this phased grant opportunity,” says Jill Carpenter, president and CEO of the Community Foundation Alliance. “These implementation grants allow us to continue that work, alongside our community partners, and directly impact key development indicators – leading change for generations to come.”

As part of GIFT VII, The Spencer County Community Foundation was awarded a planning grant of $50,000 in 2019 to convene local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and assess opportunities and challenges in Spencer County. In March 2020, the Foundation was invited to apply for a GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant to implement strategies and activities identified during the planning period.

“The planning process provided community partners with the opportunity to learn, engage, collaborate, and brainstorm ways to strengthen the Spencer County community,” said Emily Alvey, Regional Director of Community Engagement and Impact.  She added that, “when determining where to focus our implementation grant efforts, the Spencer County Community Foundation advisory board chose to place emphasis on mental health and substance use to benefit the residents, businesses, organizations, and the Spencer County community.

The Spencer County Community Foundation is partnering with the Spencer County CASA, Success Through Mentoring, Safe Now Foundation, and the Safe Now Recovery Center to successfully implement this project.

This grant opportunity provides our community with the ability to continue to focus efforts on mental health and substance use, to provide resources and opportunities to those impacted.  We are grateful for the partnerships with the local organizations and look forward to providing additional opportunities and truly making an impact in the community, says Tawnya Fleischmann, the Spencer County Community Foundation advisory board president.

To learn more about the research conducted during the planning grant, or to download the detailed Community Indicator Report for your community, please visit