'Guys Who Give' seek new Vigo County members

Tribune-Star/Lisa TriggGiving circle: Sharing about the Guys Who Give Vigo County giving circle are (from left) Beth Tevlin of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Randy Hutts and Cary Albin of Guys Who Give and Emily Murray of the community foundation.

A philanthropic group supporting several agencies that improve Vigo County is in search of some new members.

On Tuesday, Guys Who Give Vigo County had a membership conference at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation to encourage new members to join and pool donations for larger payouts to groups who need them.

During the past five years, Guys Who Give Vigo County has distributed more than $184,750 to nonprofit agencies and organization in the county.

Among other things, the “giving circle” has helped provide barricades for downtown events, classroom grants, after-school programming and healthy foods for school children during the holiday season.

Every member contributes a minimum of $500 annually, of which $100 goes directly into an endowment in the Community Foundation. The remaining $400 is awarded during the year.

A special feature this year is that Lilly Endowment will match each $100 endowment contribution with $200.

Randy Hutts, a steering committee member of Guys Who Give Vigo County, said the quarterly meetings are quick, with presenters from three organizations making a pitch to be the philanthropy chosen at that meeting. The GWGVC members then vote for who receives the proceeds of that quarter.

Then, three other organizations are nominated for consideration at the next meeting.

Cary Albin said the members get more awareness of the good things going on in the community by hearing the presentations.

The annual Miracle on 7th Street downtown festival has benefited from the giving circle. Board member Terry Hogan said barricades needed to safely close city streets and protect the public during the festival would have been too costly without the Guys Who Give contribution. The barricades are now ordered, and a trailer to haul and store them is in the works.

John Barton of West Vigo Community Center said the center has received two grants – one for a new furnace and insulation to become more energy efficient, and one to pay off the small mortgage on the former school gymnasium.

“Without these grants, we couldn’t survive,” Barton said.

Beth Tevlin, executive director of the community foundation, said giving circles such as Guys Who Give Vigo County is a place to comet together to talk in a positive environment about what is important to them, and to share a vision for the future.

The next meeting of Guys Who Give Vigo County is set for Wednesday, March 27, at the Sycamore Country Club. Social hour begins at 5:15 p.m. with the meeting starting at 5:45 p.m. Future meetings are June 26, Sept. 25 and Nov. 19.

For more information, go online to www.wvcf.com/givin-circles or call the Community Foundation at 812-232-2234.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With close to 29 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.