Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Having just completed nine years on the board of the Hardin County Community Foundation, I got to witness this truth over and over. During those years, the foundation distributed grants of over $1 million to nonprofit organizations in Hardin County. As many of those had matching funds, the impact to Hardin County schools, parks, libraries, fire departments and EMTs, historical sites, retirement homes, the Hardin County Fair, and other groups exceeded $2 million. Every resident of the county and many visitors have benefitted from the collaboration of volunteers and donors whose efforts were bolstered by the grants available through the Hardin County Community Endowment Foundation.
The board often held their monthly meetings at locations around the county who had been recipients of grant funds. We were able to see the completed projects and hear the pride in committee members’ voices as they shared their visions and work to completion. I was also impressed by the work of Program Director, Tam Elerding, and those on the grant committee who followed up with grant recipients to make sure that project funds were used as stated in the grant application.
Grantmaking is only a part of Hardin County Community Foundation’s role in the county. For many years they have sponsored, with help from Hardin County Farm Bureau, a program called Entrepreneur for a Day. This program for fifth graders teaches the students many of the facets of starting their own business. Another program of the foundation utilizes Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to increase financial literacy in adults.
A large part of the foundation’s work is partnering with donors to create endowment funds. These funds, managed through the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, offer a great vehicle for donors to direct charitable gifts to the organizations and projects that they care most about. Those endowments, made with gifts of cash, stock, life insurance, grain and land, have financially benefitted many of the non-profit organizations in Hardin County and will impact many lives in the future.
The Hardin County Community Foundation has representatives from most Hardin County communities. I would encourage you to find out who is representing your town and, if you don’t have one, you may be the missing link. If you can’t get involved at the county level, look around your community for ways to give of your time, talents or resources. Together we have accomplished much and can do much more.
Andrea Brown | 28746 O Ave. New Providence | (641) 497-5717