February 12, 2020  |  News, Stories


We recently brought together local leaders to discuss Connect Boone County – a new initiative focused on bringing the communities of Boone County together to support the Community Foundation of Boone County in applying for grant funding to move the Big 4 Trail project forward.

Through the leadership planning grant we received in 2019 through Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s initiative Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII), we launched a needs assessment with the goal of identifying how we can take a leadership role in addressing areas of need. A planning committee was formed of neutral Boone County leaders from across the four corners of our county and began a think tank approach to creatively addressing the identified areas of need. We have now reached the next phase of GIFT VII, where we have the opportunity to take what we have learned through the assessment and apply for two grants through Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s initiative GIFT VII implementation phase: one for $150,000 and a larger scale “Big Idea” grant for up to $5 million. The deadline for community foundations across Indiana to apply for Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VII implementation grants and large-scale grants is March 13, 2020.

In the assessment, we found there are several areas residents are extremely happy with, including: education, public safety, family-friendliness, and volunteer opportunities. The areas of opportunity include: recreational and wellness options, social offerings, opportunities for people under age 21, public transportation, and arts and cultural options. After many meetings and planning sessions with our planning committee, the idea of mobility kept rising to the top and the concept of finishing the Big 4 Trail was discussed. After further research and additional meetings, this idea continued to solidify as it impacts all identified areas of need. We are now excited to make it official: The Community Foundation of Boone County will apply for grant funding to help complete the Big 4 Trail project.

Trails are booming signature components of our communities. Health, economic development, transportation efficiency, and environmental stewardship are among the vast array of benefits a trail network contributes to a community. The Big 4 Trail Master Plan is a collaborative effort between several community players, including the towns of Boone County, the Friends of Boone County Trails Board, Boone County, and the Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are ecstatic for the opportunity to join such a strong, existing, collaborative project with these local partners”, said Jodi Gietl, President & CEO for the Community Foundation of Boone County. “Part of our mission at The Community Foundation is to take a leadership role in bringing people together because when collaboration happens, needs throughout the county are addressed at a much higher impact level.”

We now begin our journey of uniting members throughout Boone County into a common initiative. As The Community Foundation, we are here to lead a collaborative effort to uniquely change the socioeconomic landscape of Boone County. This is where the residents of Boone County play a part in the grant proposal process, and join in on a pivotal moment in our county history. Our goal is for CFBC to have a strong, diverse list of community supporters to submit with the grant proposals. We are thrilled to link arms with our community partners to, collectively, Connect Boone County. Contact us directly to provide your letter of support!

Along with the grant proposals, the GIFT VII initiative also includes a matching opportunity for unrestricted gifts of any size. Unrestricted gifts allow us as a foundation to address problems and opportunities as they arise. These types of gifts are vital investments in our community. Unrestricted gifts are currently matched $2 to every $1 donated through the GIFT VII match, which means more funds available for grantmaking to nonprofits throughout our county. Make your donation towards the GIFT VII match at GiveBooneCounty.org or contact us today!


Since 1991, the Community Foundation of Boone County has granted over $25 million from its various funds to nonprofit organizations and programs working to solve critical challenges in Boone County. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation currently holds $25 million in assets and awards an average of $1 million back into the local community each year. In the past 27 years, we have worked with donors to create permanent funds for charitable giving. The establishment and growth of permanent endowment funds will strengthen Boone County for generations to come.