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Grants don’t offset need for donations to food bank, community center

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A food bank and a community center say despite the hefty endowments they’ve received for projects, they still need donations to fund their day-to-day operations. 

The Concord Center is the oldest community center in central Indiana, founded in 1875 to serve immigrants from Europe. The center provides preschool programs from neighborhood students, as well as programs for older folks. It takes money to keep the lights on and to run the numerous programs offered at the center.

Hallie Robbins, education specialist and resource development specialist at Concord, said fundraising has been tricky lately: “This is the lean years for Concord, I would say, in recent history.” 

Two years ago, Concord received a $5 million grant from a local foundation. The problem: The grant money can only be spent on long-term projects, not on day-to-day operations. 

“It (the grant) looks really big and really jarring and like we’re OK right now. And we are OK right now, we are. But we need additional funding right now to do what we do every day” said Robbins. 

Gleaners Food Bank also recieved a large grant from the same endowment, and the same rules apply. 

“There was initial concern that donors may pull back saying, ‘You don’t need the money; you just received a substantial gift,’” said Joe Slater, the chief financial and operating officer at Gleaners.

The money Gleaners received can’t be spent on day-to-day operations, either, according to Slater. 

“Ninety-five percent of that principal initially was put into the bank and it’s invested, and we can’t touch that ever. So really the income that those funds generate for us is what is available to us but then also specifically only for sustaining projects,” Slater said.

Both the Concord Center and Gleaners Food Bank told News 8 the grants will impact future projects, but their organizations still need to concentrate on keeping their lights on, doors open and employees paid.