By Kallie Sulanke—
MUNCIE, IN – Public, private, and corporate foundations, along with service club funders in Delaware County, have come together to pool knowledge, experiences, and resources to collectively impact homeownership in the community. The Funders Forum Collaborative awarded $66,000 to two Delaware County organizations to support programs that combine education opportunities with quality, affordable housing.
Examining the intersection of their shared grantmaking focus area – education – and supporting the priorities identified by the community through the Together DM process, the Funders Forum Collaborative embraced an opportunity to strengthen homeownership through financial literacy, estate planning education, and home maintenance opportunities.
“Partnering education opportunities with homeownership can impact generations of people,” said Marcy Minton, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County. “The grants from the Funders Forum will create opportunities for homeowners to learn to utilize their homes not only as a place to rest today but as assets for their future and their family’s futures.”
The Funders Forum Collaborative invited two local housing agencies to apply for funding to support pilot or incubating programs that enhance education and provide opportunities for current and potential homeowners.
“We are fortunate to have many organizations working to create quality affordable housing in our community,” said Rob Keisling, External Affairs Manager for Indiana Michigan Power. “We are optimistic that these grants will expand the impact on our neighbors as these two organizations build upon the financial literacy and education programs they already provide to those looking toward homeownership.”
Greater Muncie, IN Habitat for Humanity, Inc. was awarded $16,000 to support two educational programs that align with its housing program. In their application, Habitat explains that families who partner with Habitat are not ‘recipients’ of services – they are true partners in the process.
As a part of this grant, Habitat for Humanity will launch another component of partner family education in 2023 focused on estate planning. This new class will provide Habitat partner families with opportunities to consider long-term care and plan for financial affairs before and through death.
Additionally, with the support of this grant, Habitat for Humanity will pilot a program to serve individuals and families who have applied to become Habitat partners but were declined. The program aims to help individuals take steps toward future homeownership through education and connections to other resources.
Pathstone Corporation was awarded $50,000 to grow two existing programs that support current and potential homeowners.
Earlier this year, Pathstone launched the Homebuyer Acquisition and Rehab Program (HARP). HARP educates potential and current homeowners about home improvements, including how to create a scope of work, contract with a general contractor, and budget for home rehab. It provides access to financial resources to maintain and improve existing homes. As a new program, this grant will support the promotion and marketing of the program to attract qualified homeowners to participate.
This grant will also provide funding for individual development accounts (IDAs) that support financial goals leading to homeownership. IDAs help participants build personal savings while attending financial and homebuyer education classes resulting in increased savings, decreased debt, improved credit scores, and the ability to purchase a first home. Traditionally funded through a federally supported program, IDAs can only be used for limited purposes. With a pool of locally funded IDAs, Pathstone will be able to expand the use of IDAs to not only build personal savings for a down payment on a home but also decrease debt and increase credit scores making homeownership an attainable reality for many participants.
“Housing and community have an impact on well-being of all of us,” said Jenna Wachtmann, Vice President of Ball Brothers Foundation. “As more people in our community have opportunities to become homeowners, health and longevity will improve, education attainment will grow, and quality of life in Muncie and Delaware County will flourish.”
As early as 1997, the Funders Forum convened as a way for local funders to discuss community issues and hear from nonprofit organizations about their programs and services. Since then, the group has evolved to include collaborative grantmaking. Members of the Funders Forum Collaborative include Ball Brothers Foundation, George and Frances Ball Foundation, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Delaware Advancement Corporation/Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, First Merchants Corporation, Indiana Michigan Power, Harry and Janet Kitselman Foundation Fund, Kiwanis Club of Muncie, Maxon Foundation Fund, Muncie Altrusa Foundation, MutualBank Charitable Foundation, Office of Community Development – City of Muncie, Old National Bank Foundation, Psi Iota Xi, Rotary Club of Muncie, Hamer and Phyllis Shafer Foundation, Tri Kappa, Heart of Indiana United Way, and the Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation.
Applications to the Funders Forum Collaborative are accepted by invitation only.
The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. encourages philanthropy, assists donors in building an enduring source of charitable assets, and exercises leadership in directing resources to enhance the quality of life for residents of Muncie and Delaware County. Since 1985, community members and businesses have helped the Foundation grow our endowment to $88 million. Using the earnings on the endowment, the Foundation distributes grants to nonprofit organizations, including scholarships to support students through post-secondary education. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $63 million to enhance the quality of life of the residents of Muncie and Delaware County.