WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Foundation has a new office and address at 2333 Rombach Avenue in Wilmington. The building houses Smith-Feike-Minton Insurance, Bennett Realty, Leadership Clinton, and the Council on Aging.
“The new space provides accessibility for our community, conference-meeting areas and offices for the executive director and administrator,” said Justin Holbrook, president of the Board. “Being on Rombach Avenue is great for our community — a simple stop for anyone doing business.”
“We have been searching for space that would keep pace with an active charity run by local citizens with many committees and boards,” explained Holbrook. “Our commitment is to steward invested donations and make inspired grants that sustain and support Clinton County. We wanted a centrally located place.”
Within the past year, the Foundation has successfully attained the seal of national accreditation — the community foundation standards in policies and procedures. The Foundation’s assets have grown to more than $25 million.
“We are the trusted friend to donors and nonprofits. They look to us for charitable resources. We empower them and connect them, because that is what a community foundation can do,” said Executive Director Jan Blohm.
For years, the Foundation was recognized as a resource for scholarships. Many local families and donors set bequests to establish funding for graduates.
“Since January we have made 97 scholarship awards of more than $125,000 — this is the Foundation’s first strength,” said Blohm. “July and August are busy months for the Clinton County Foundation office,” she admitted. But, in the last year, the focus has pivoted to grants and granting organizations.
The Foundation added a grant portal to their website in December 2019 and the Lucas Fund, the LEGACY Fund have moved to an online competitive grant cycles.
“We are excited that these great organizations are offering grants for program and capital resources to our community,” said Blohm.
“Traffic to the grant portal has been good and the number of organizations who have been awarded grants has expanded. It has streamlined the granting process.”
Along with the grant portal, the board has made revisions and improvements to the granting steps to ensure that all IRS and national accreditation requirements are met.
“It is vital that we operate within the public trust and strive to maintain the highest code of conduct,” said Blohm.
“We are proud of the HealthFirst For Clinton County Fund board, as well. They have expanded to two grant cycles annually and their board members take this responsibility seriously. They set the pace for the other granting organizations in our community. They are committed to accountability and serve to raise health and wellbeing to a new level for Clinton County residents.”
Other 2020 grants included those by the Health Alliance, Heather’s Hope and anonymous donors who care about the community, but enjoy their privacy. Since January 2020, more than $565,000 was contributed to the community’s needs through partners associated with the Foundation.
The Peoples Bank is the Foundation’s investment manager and partner in our community. “We are fortunate to have great leadership and advice through Peoples Bank’s Chris White and Scott Keller.
Additionally Ginger Valentine and Jill Green support the Foundation’s daily activity. “They are the kind and wise faces to our local nonprofits,” said Blohm.
Peoples offers five options for investing that truly fit every donor’s objectives, sense of risk and timeframe. Additionally, the Foundation offers donors the ability to use their own investment advisors-dependent on board requirements and the donor’s fund.
This fall, the Foundation will kick off a series of Zoom workshops on raising charitable funds in a pandemic. There will be experts to brainstorm ideas and work through the details.
Additionally, there will be a specific grant-writing seminar to work with organization’s grant writers who would like to apply using the grant portal option. Dates and times will be announced soon.
“We have made every effort to mobilize generosity through wise leveraging of resources,” said Holbrook. “The new office is a symbol of how vital a community foundation is. The Clinton County Foundation magnifies the impact giving has on our home, Clinton County.”