SCCF Receives GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant

Steuben County Community Foundation has received a Community Leadership Grant of $100,000 as part of the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative.  With the grant, the community foundation will establish a strategy of building a collaborative network of people and organizations who are equipped to solve community issues through collective action.

Steuben County Community Foundation is one of 84 foundations in Indiana receiving grants through this round of GIFT VII grantmaking. Lilly Endowment created GIFT in 1990 to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify local needs and challenges. It launched GIFT VII in 2018 and made available a total of $125 million to help foundations strengthen their leadership capacities in the towns, cities and counties they serve. Lilly Endowment expects to make additional GIFT VII grants in the coming months.

“SCCF is grateful for the opportunity this grant has given our board to evaluate our role in supporting the people and organizations who make things happen in Steuben County,” said Jennifer Danic, President and CEO of Steuben County Community Foundation.

As part of GIFT VII, Steuben County Community Foundation was awarded a planning grant of $50,000 in 2019 to convene local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and assess opportunities and challenges in Steuben County. In March 2020, Steuben County Community Foundation was invited to apply for a GIFT VII Community Leadership Grant to implement strategies and activities identified during the planning period.

Using the planning grant funds, Steuben County Community Foundation reviewed its primary existing community leadership program, a supporting organization called the Steuben County Fiber Network. Conversations with local community leaders led to the understanding that a sale of the assets would provide benefit for the community through expanded access to broadband as well as freeing up community foundation resources for grantmaking. Additionally, Steuben County Community Foundation sought perspectives from nonprofit leaders and learned how they are responding to current community needs.

The board of directors has now moved on to implementing some of the activities we identified during the planning grant phase. SCCF engaged with a consultant from Aly Sterling Philanthropy to conduct interviews with community leaders about the role and opportunities the community foundation has in Steuben County. The results will lay the groundwork for incorporating collaboration and network building as a core piece of SCCF’s next strategic plan. Additionally, Steuben County Community Foundation intends to continue convening community leaders to develop a community-based action plan. The overall goal is to strengthen partnerships and promote network building to equip people and organizations to solve problems together.

“The Steuben County Community Foundation is focused on long-term relationship building. We don’t know what the future needs of our county look like yet, but this grant enables us to build long-lasting relationships and stay agile so we can meet them down the road,” shared Danic.



About Steuben County Community Foundation: Through philanthropic services, strategic investments and community leadership, Steuben County Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come. The Steuben County Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization with assets totaling more than $30 million.  Our vision:  Serving as a community leader and improving the quality of life by assessing, supporting and coordinating philanthropic giving and endowment building.  Our mission:  Connecting people who care with needs that matter to our community.  For more information on the Foundation, visit its website at


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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