Olive B. Cole Foundation Awards Grant to Four Northeast Indiana EDC's


Cole Foundation supports Local Economic Development

- Challenges Communities to Invest in Future

The Olive B. Cole Foundation approved a significant investment in continued economic development in Northeast Indiana.  At its March 26, 2012 Board of Directors meeting the foundation approved four grants to the four local economic development organizations in these counties in the amount of $10,000 per year for a three year period.  The grant awards are based on the premise that each organization will raise at least $10,000 from “new” private sector sources for each of the three years, beginning in 2012.  Those four local, not-for-profit organizations include:

   1)      DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership
   2)      LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation
   3)      Noble County Economic Development Corporation
   4)      Steuben County Economic Development Corporation

Certain provisions of the grant award include: Existing funding sources must stay at or above the current level; new funding sources are only counted for the initial year unless there is an increase in the level of funding; and Cole grant funds will be distributed at the conclusion of 2012, 2013 and 2014 provided the conditions of the award have been met.  

The local economic development organizations representing DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties have collaborated on the annual Economic Development Forum for the past four years.  This joint proposal to Cole is a natural extension of this collaboration, as the LEDOs individually and collectively seek to identify adequate revenue to implement programs and projects necessary to compete for private investments and new job opportunities.

Intended uses for this new funding by the LEDOs include site certification and development activities, workforce development initiatives and greater marketing efforts.  “Our initial intent for applying for funds through the Cole Foundation was as a matching grant only for our county,” according to Rick Sherck with the Noble County Economic Development Corporation.  “Mr. Parker contacted us and asked us to consider developing a broader proposal to assist all four counties served by the Cole Foundation. The other counties were excited about this opportunity and the group worked cooperatively to develop a proposal that will help further the economic development efforts in our counties.”

The level of private sector investments in the operational budgets of these local economic development organizations has varied. National “best practices” recommendations for these types of organizations generally suggest that operational funds be derived 50 percent from public sources and 50 percent from private sources.  Private sector investment encourages greater involvement from a broader segment of the community, including experiences and ideas for development of the community.        

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For additional Information:
   -Maclyn Parker, President of the Olive B. Cole Foundation (260) 436-2182

   -Keith Gillenwater, President/CEO of the LaGrange County EDC (260) 499-4994


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