The Indiana Ag Institute, known for producing quality leadership graduates for Indiana agriculture for nearly three decades, took steps recently to make its financial footing more solid for the future. Beth Archer, Danville, serves as executive direct of the Institute.
The Ag Institute worked through the Benton Community Foundation in Benton County to reach a $10,000 fundraising goal this past year. Contributions came from a variety of people who support the leadership program.
Achieving this goal was significant, notes Institute treasurer Dan Arnholt, Columbus, because Demeter LP, a large grain company in northwest Indiana, had agreed to provide $15,000 in matching funds. "This allowed us to reach our overall $20,000 goal very quickly," says Arnholt, speaking of the Benton Community Foundation endowment. "We're very thankful for (your) support and that of our matching partners."
This isn't the only endowment that is set up to benefit the Institute. The Hendricks County Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette also received very generous anonymous donations near the end of 2010. Those endowments intended to also aid the Institute are growing closer to being fully funded.
"We've been making a concerted effort to grow annual contributions to our organization, as well as grow the number and level of endowment funds at community foundations throughout the state, which will help us meet our long-term funding challenges," Arnholt says.
"We feel blessed that our network has stepped up and generously answered both of these calls and our organization is in a stronger financial position than in the past."
Arnholt, former grain storage specialist with Public Service Indiana, later head of the Bartholomew County REMC, now retired, and a Bartholomew County landowner, assists his wife, Susan, in their no-till farming operation. He was a graduate of the Leadership Class II in 1987.
Within two years, he found himself treasurer of the organization, and has served in that capacity ever since. "I was mid-career when I participated in Class II," he recalls. "I feel the insights, leadership development and understanding of public policy development within the bipartisan system prepared me extremely well for my role as a corporate and community leader later in life."
The Ag Institute isn't the only group using community foundations to raise money for agriculture. Jay County ahs raised a considerable amount of money, using its county Foundation as a vehicle to hold the funds. Decatur County has done a similar thing, using a different approach to raise funds. Johnson County is currently attempting to get an ag fund established that would be held in the county foundation, and available to support a number of groups and causes related to agriculture.