Six counties in Indiana, Ripley being one of them, will benefit from a generous grant or $3.15 million made from the Lilly Endowment Inc. according to information from the Indiana Association of United Ways (IAUW)
A meeting was held at the Holton Community Center last week with Sally Morris, executive director of the Ripley County Community Foundation in attendance to help with any questions concerning the grant money.
Morris noted, "In Ripley County, the Ripley County Community Foundation will be applying for and administering this grant. The Foundation will rely on the Long Term Disaster Committee in Holton to areas and determine needs."
She went on to say, "On behalf of the residents of Holton, the Foundation is grateful for everyone who continues to donate their time, energy and money for this cause."
Rachel Grossman, who is a loan documentation manager for The Friendship State Bank and the treasurer for the Holton Fire Department, where a fund has been set up, noted she was happy to be working with Morris. "She has so much experience and expertise, we are lucky to have her," she commented.
There is significant recovery ahead for the six counties mentioned and Ripley County will only get a portion of the money. However, it's a wonderful blessing that will hopefully leave no one behind when it's all said and done.
Cynthia Melton, township trustee, said the outpouring from other communities has been phenomenal. Bob McCreary, minister of the Holton Christian Church, who also has a fund set up people can give to, said the community has been blessed by the giving of others.
IAUW said they expect to offer startup grants immediately. These grants will provide up to $50,000 in flexible funding to local United Ways and in some cases to community foundations. This funding can be used for assistance in planning and facilitation efforts related to organizing and prioritizing a county's needs for long-term support from subsequent funding.
"The Endowment has been pleased with IAUW's administration of past Endowment-funded disaster recovery efforts," said N. Clay Robbins, president of the Endowment. "We believe the impact of disaster-recovery efforts are enhanced when local community organizations are involved in their design and execution."
The Indiana Association of United Ways has a history of a great working relationship with Lilly Endowment and many communities across the state.
The Holton community had already established a committee for various needs. This includes people in the Dabney area and up to the house on US 421 that was demolished by the March 2 tornado.
They have been trying to keep things organized, listening to people who have been through such disasters, and in some instances "muddling our way through" Melton noted. While she said some people might not think their decisions are perfect, they are working with a heart of love and doing the best they can at this time