As many of you know, in 2019, CFMC completed a countywide survey and outreach initiative identifying Morgan County communities’ priorities, challenges, and opportunities for creating healthier, happier communities. Survey results by hometown and from our youth can be found here: https://cfmconline.org/community-development/.
In the fall of 2020, CFMC hired their first ever Community Development Officer (CDO), Jessica Schwarz, as a response to the survey findings. A CDO puts boots on the ground in our communities, listening and partnering with organizations working to improve the quality of life. Economic development’s purpose of attracting businesses to the area to create wealth, both for the incoming business and the local community’s economy, is like that of community development. Community development is economic development’s sister. Rather than focusing on improving the financial wealth of a community, it focuses on enhancing a community’s quality of life. Think of what you love most about your community and why you choose to live and play there. What would you say about your community if you shared why someone should live here? Now we are talking about community development.
These efforts take time. CFMC’s efforts Today may not be seen until years down the road. Farmers know that the day they plant the seeds are not the day they harvest the plant. For the last two years, Jessica has taken the time to be more intimately involved in each of our communities around the county. She has chosen to focus on the smaller hometowns, building momentum in Monrovia, Eminence, Paragon, and Morgantown.
Community Development is also about doing what is best for our folks who live in each hometown. It’s not about what CFMC wants but rather creating a plan and executing on the desires heard from a community. Our foundation’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with Morgan County’s evolving community needs. Community Development is about coming alongside our communities and providing what we can as a foundation to give a hand up.
CFMC’s hand-up within our communities led us to Thrive. Until now, we completed a listening tour in each of our communities through the 2019 countywide survey and hired a full-time employee focusing on community development within our county. We are proud to announce that we are investing additional dollars to empower communities to thrive.
501c and civic organizations are invited to apply beginning Friday, August 19th through 4 p.m. Monday, October 3rd. Thrive grants are intended to support only new, permanent initiatives for organizations that already focus on social determinants of health such as neighborhood environment, economic stability, education, healthcare, and community involvement. Social determinants of health significantly impact health outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable populations.
Thrive grants are a matchmaking grant. This means that an applicant can apply for any amount (up to $6,000) but will need to match the amount requested on the grant application dollar for dollar.
For more information, including grant guidelines, please visit https://cfmconline.org/thrive-grants/.