Zionsville Times Sentinel

Local News

March 7, 2012

Community Foundation partners with three agencies to tackle literacy issues

Three local agencies were awarded a total of $93,400 from the Community Foundation of Boone County Friday, March 2, in an effort to raise the county’s literacy level.

The nearly $100,000 check was presented to the Lebanon Public Library, the Arc of Boone County, and Indianapolis-based Indy Reads Friday at the community foundation in Zionsville.

“This is a great opportunity for Boone County,” said Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steve David, president of the foundation’s board. “We’re very pleased to be able to do something entirely different and fund three different ventures, adventures.”

This grant process was unique, David said, because the foundation board came together to brainstorm about what it could do to impact literacy in the county. Instead of reviewing grant requests, it asked organizations to submit requests.

And instead of awarding just one, it selected all three.

“And we can impose obligations of collaboration,” David said. “We’re bringing together the best that they all have. And the result is something much better than if we chose any one of them.”

Mike Caldwell, foundation executive director, said he hopes to look back on this a year from now and see a reason to continue to fund the initiative.

“My hope is you have such a powerful story and results to back it up that we need to continue funding it,” he said to the agency’s representatives who gathered Friday morning for the meeting. “Our main goal is to raise literacy rates here, and I feel like you are three great partners.”

M. Travis DiNicola, executive director of Indy Reads, said he will be hiring a part-time employee to work in Boone County — the first venture out of Marion County for the organization. He has already been advertising for the position, and said he’s had many qualified applicants.

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