Community Foundation awards nearly $96K in grants

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation awarded $95,898 to six nonprofit organizations to benefit Vigo County residents at a ceremony on Tuesday.

Grantees receiving funding from the spring grant cycle include Ivy Tech Foundation, Hamilton Center, Camp Navigate, Terre Haute Symphony Association, The Alano Club and The Maple Center.

"What I love most about the grant cycles is knowing that these organizations are fulfilling the wishes of our donors to do good within the community," said Beth Tevlin, executive director of the Community Foundation.

A recipient of $25,000, the Ivy Tech Foundation will use its funds for capital improvements to the college's health sciences building. The grant will support phase II of a multi-phase renovation project, said LeAnne Crooks, Terre Haute campus chancellor.

Funds also will support the respiratory therapy and paramedic sciences programs by updating lab space and creating a separate classroom space to enhance student learning opportunities, according to Julie Will, School of Health Sciences dean.

"This really speaks to the Community Foundation's commitment to help Ivy Tech Community College graduates to provide quality health care," said Rachel Mullinnix, executive director for Ivy Tech Foundation of Terre Haute. "Given the pandemic, respiratory therapy and paramedic services are in such high demand and even more vital to the community."

Camp Navigate received $18,000 to support summer camps for 2021 and 2022. With the new gift, the camp will continue its three-tiered workforce development programs touching middle schoolers in the Choose to Lead and Serve program, high schoolers in the Teen Navigate program and college-age staff in the Coach a Mentor program.

"Each of these programs compliments Camp Navigate's strategy to prepare our next generation to make a positive impact and is a sizable investment in our community's economic success," said co-founder and executive director Eleanor Ramseier.

Learn more about Camp Navigate programs, weekly rates and apply for scholarship opportunities at

Also directing grant funding toward Vigo County youth programs is Hamilton Center. It received $14,500 to help establish a permanent space for its youth mentoring program and for the purchase of kitchen, laundry and electronic equipment. It's been offering the program at temporary spaces within the center.

Kids need a place to go to feel safe, learn to prepare healthy meals, do some laundry and get showers, said Tatu Brown, executive director of Hamilton Center's human services, mentoring, new citizen and consumer programs. This program will focus on at-risk youths ages 12 to 18, each of whom is required to enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program at their schools.

"These kids are at a critical age and need positive adult role models," Brown said, "and we're working so hard to put these kids on a better path."

Hamilton Center doesn't get reimbursed for this program, said Lynn Hughes, chief of Community Engagement. The grant will help to extend the services and opportunities to overcome generational obstacles such as education, incarceration, trauma and poverty.

The biggest obstacle that the Terre Haute Symphony Association has endured this past year is the restriction of performing in front of a live audience. But with a generous grant of $16,000, the Orchestra will purchase recording equipment for video production that will support its efforts to offer virtual concerts.

Samantha Johnson-Helms, executive director and principal clarinet, said THSO is one of the few orchestras in the state to perform virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orchestra presented a livestream concert titled "Music in Bloom" in response to the outbreak of COVID; it received more than 1,100 unique views. In addition, the Orchestra offers "Musician Profiles," short videos featuring a brief interview and solo performance by a professional musician at one of Terre Haute's many famous landmarks.

"We've been able to perform virtual chamber music free for everybody to enjoy on our YouTube channel," Johnson-Helms said. "Chamber music is a small ensemble of musicians performing without a conductor. We recorded individual parts then edited them together for the ensembles."

The Terre Haute Symphony also offers a video series titled "Tour of the Orchestra," which highlights each instrument and a musician as well as "Adventures in Music!" This special concert for elementary students explores the four families of the orchestra (strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion).

The Orchestra will perform its first live, in-person concert since the pandemic began at 4:30 p.m. May 1. "We miss looking out into the faces of our audience and seeing the joy our music brings to each person there. So we're really anxious to get back to our home stage," said principal flute Joyce Wilson.

The Alano Club of Terre Haute, an arm of Club Soda, is eager to update its women's home with new flooring and living room furniture. Thanks to a grant of $15,000, it will allow women who are recovering from substance abuse to reunite with their families in a safe and comfortable environment.

"These women deserve to be in a nice place to work on their sobriety and feel good about their home when their families come to visit," said Molly Isles, drug treatment specialist. "This grant award helps me to feel that the community realizes the importance of the Alano Club program to Vigo County women and their families."

The Maple Center, which focuses on integrative health education, received $7,398. The center offers workshops in preventive strategies to maintain health, and unique programs for those challenged by cancer, chronic illness and substance abuse. Virtually, it offers videos that support various types of yoga along with plant-based cooking instruction. Its grant will be used for technology updates needed for virtual programming. Scholarships and sliding fee schedules are available for those needing financial assistance.

Deanna Ferguson, Executive Director, said, "We believe this grant will allow The Maple Center to partner with several other organizations in the community by way of virtual access to our programs for individuals who may not be able to attend in-person."

Grants were awarded to organizations deemed to have the most likelihood of success, Tevlin said. Although each grant cycle is different, she said, the awards are based on the opinions of the distribution committee volunteers who review the applications.

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation recognizes the philanthropic leadership provided by individuals and organizations to create lasting endowments that provide funding for programs throughout Vigo County. Find ways to give, along with a list of donors and investors, at:

Grant seeking community groups and nonprofit organizations in Clay, Sullivan and Vigo counties are invited to complete the Community Foundation’s online Letter of Intent process for the summer grant cycle prior to the May 3, 2021 deadline. Prior to submitting an application, all interested agencies and organizations must contact Kelli Miller at the Community Foundation at or 812-232-2234.

Michele Lawson can be reached 812-231-4232 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarMichele.

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