A Brown County Community Foundation was originally one of the ideas that emerged from a county-wide visioning project. Members of the project met with members of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. in Columbus, yet the idea of a community foundation was originally resisted by the community. These feelings changed as Hank Swain, Jon Cain and other prominent community members continued to push for such an organization. The Brown County Community Foundation (BCCF) began in 1993 with an initiative announced by Lilly Endowment. The Endowment offered Indiana communities a challenge to establish local foundations, cultivating local philanthropy, to respond to local needs. The first annual meeting was held in June 1994 where the President of the Board, Barton Updike, introduced the Board of Directors and announced the Larry C. Banks Memorial Scholarship as the first endowed fund established by the BCCF. In 1995, Del Newkirk became the first full time Executive Director and under his visionary leadership the Foundation’s influence and assets began to grow.
The Foundation’s assets and grant-giving capabilities have grown with each passing year.
The Foundation awarded its first grants to the community.
The Lilly Endowment awarded $1,000,000 to the BCCF as part of their Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative.
This funding allowed the BCCF to direct $700,000 to the building of the YMCA and $200,000 to the new public library.
The Lilly Endowment presented the BCCF with funding to award the first Lilly Scholarship to be given to a Brown County high school senior.
This scholarship covers tuition, fees, required equipment and a stipend for textbooks for four years at any Indiana college or university.
BCCF celebrated the milestone of $1,000,000 given to the community in grants and scholarships.
The Lilly Endowment awarded the BCCF with $1,500,000 from the GIFT IV initiative and these funds were utilized to support seven different community projects.
As of Dec 31, 2000 the assets of the Foundation were over $3 million.
A collaborative effort of the BCCF, the Brown County School Corporation and community members resulted in a $5,000,000 proposal funded by Lilly Endowment’s Community Alliance for Promoting Education (CAPE) grant.
This CAPE grant funded the establishment of The Career Resource Center (CRC), a facility that aims to provide a multitude of educational opportunities for the citizens of Brown County.
In May of 2002, Kyle Deckard, Brown County’s first Lilly Endowment Community Scholar, graduated from Rose-Hulman with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
2003 marked the 10th anniversary of the Brown County Community Foundation’s founding.
In 2004, the BCCF proudly announced that they were granting support to the Brown County community from over 100 endowed funds.
The success of the initial CAPE grant and the partnership it supported brought in an additional $1.2 million from Lilly Endowment in support to the CRC in 2006.
Lilly announced GIFT VI in July of 2014. This initiative was designed as a challenge grant to leverage new funds to support community projects, endowments that support local areas of shared concern and the BCCF unrestricted endowment. The BCCF announced their Brown County GIFT Challenge in October of 2014 and is dedicated to meeting the Endowment’s challenge goals to build sustainable grant funds in perpetuity.
The Brown County Community Foundation continues to be a driving force in the community; demonstrating leadership around civic issues, increasing scholarship opportunities and directing more effective granting all made possible through the responsible stewardship of the funds donated by local citizens, companies and organizations. In 2014 the BCCF awarded its first proactive grant of $50,000 to support the ongoing work of a deserving local nonprofits. In August of 2014, the BCCF was gifted a new home for its offices and community activities. Thanks to the generosity of the Howard Hughes Trust, the BCCF is the proud owner of the Howard F. Hughes Community Building in downtown Nashville. The Foundation will operate out of the renovated second floor of this building and the ground floor will be developed into a community space to support our local nonprofit partners.
The mission of the BCCF is “to be a collaborative leader for positive impact in the Brown County community by building on the spirit of philanthropy.” The BCCF has thrived in this community thanks to the imagination, generosity, commitment and leadership of hundreds of donors and volunteers. With the community’s continued support the BCCF will continue to build a legacy of philanthropy in Brown County.