Forward Wayne County is focused on giving this month. We asked Rebecca Gilliam, Executive Director of the Wayne County Foundation, to talk about philanthropy in Wayne County.

November is one of my favorite months at the Wayne County Foundation. We pause to give thanks for the many individuals and organizations that have supported Wayne County through giving. Philanthropy is an important part of our community and we would not be able to support the many charitable organizations without your help!

People ask me: What is the Wayne County Foundation and what does it do in Wayne County? Some are familiar with private foundations like the Lilly Endowment or the Ford Foundation and their impact, but many don’t know about the history of grantmaking and community leadership work of the Wayne County Foundation.

The Foundation was established in 1979 by a group of generous and forward-thinking community members who wanted to make a difference. We are actually one of the oldest community foundations in the state of Indiana.

Flip the Script

So I ask them: What’s important to you? What kind of difference do you want to make?

It almost never matters what they tell me—improving education—advancing healthcare—helping those less fortunate—animals—the arts—youth development—or just “giving back to the community.”

My answer is always the same: The Foundation can help you do that. And the best part is you don’t have to be an Elon Musk or Oprah Winfrey. You just have to care. We’ll help you work out the rest of the details.

Anyone can be a philanthropist. Philanthropy is defined as charitable giving by individuals and organizations to worthy causes and can include money, time, and other forms of selflessness. Individuals contribute the vast majority of philanthropic funding.

Everyone’s a Philanthropist

This is not new. This has been the trend in the United States since our founding in 1979. We give for a variety of reasons: to reduce human suffering, enhance human potential, and to build community. Ultimately, we give because we care.

National Philanthropy day is celebrated each year on November 15th. On this day, we recognize and acknowledge the importance of being a philanthropist in our own community.

To date in 2022, we have received more than $1.1 million in gifts to support nonprofits and projects in the county. And we have granted out more than $1.9 million in grants and scholarships.

Not only do we recognize charitable donations we also celebrate the many volunteers that give generously of their time to that support the work of nonprofit organizations across Wayne County.

The Wayne County Foundation supports individuals and their philanthropic goals. Everyone has the opportunity to create a philanthropic legacy even if you don’t know how to get started!

Check out our Champions of Philanthropy page on our web site. Everyday individuals in Wayne County doing extraordinary things.

You too can be a Champion of Philanthropy.

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