The Rush County Community Foundation was created in 1991 in response to the Lilly Endowment Inc. Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) Initiative. Knowing that a Community Foundation could be a beneficial community resource, three Rush County friends, Rick Levi, Paul Barada, and Danny Earnest, saw the GIFT challenge as an opportunity for our philanthropic community. GIFT encouraged donations to permanent endowment funds to occur by providing matching dollars to successful organizations and offered the jumpstart needed to begin a local Community Foundation for our own Rush County.

From our humble beginnings of assets at $85,000 to today’s endowments in excess of $20 million, the Rush County Community Foundation’s success has been a result of the generosity of people like you.


First year individual funds were established.


The first grant from the Rush County Community Fund was awarded to Rush Memorial Hospital for purchase of new lights in the emergency room.


The first Frank and Frances Hilburt Scholarship recipients

The first Frank and Frances Hilburt Scholarship recipients

Rush County met Lilly Endowment Inc.’s GIFT Phase I match of $1 million.

Thanks to the building donation from Terry Smith, President of Norwest Bank, RCCF found a permanent home at 117 North Main Street Rushville, IN.

The first scholarships were awarded from established endowments: $8,750 was awarded from the Frank & Frances Hilburt Scholarship Fund.


The first grant cycles occurred: $13,523.91 was awarded to eight community organizations, including grants to local volunteer fire departments for equipment and new windows for the Rush County Historical Society.

Fund distributions totaled $45,024. 


Lilly Endowment Inc. continued to support our community foundation by offering a third GIFT program valued at $1 million. The Board of Directors chose to allocate $250,000 towards Foundation programs and $750,000 towards a community project that would benefit residents of Rush County.

Grants awarded to community organizations more than doubled in 1997. More than $27,500 was given to 15 local organizations to assist with a variety of needs and improvements.


$600,000 grant for new swimming pool

$600,000 grant for new swimming pool

Lilly Endowment Inc.’s GIFT Phase III Initiative community projects were chosen:

  • $600,000 to assist with the development of a new community swimming pool (Waggener Community Pool)
  • $75,000 to restore and renovate the Rush County Historical Society’s museum
  • $75,000 for a new roof and additional repairs to the Rushville Library

The first Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship was awarded.

Grant awards continued to increase: Nearly $55,000 was awarded to 22 local organizations, providing essential equipment and improvements for local fire departments, the Rush County Boys and Girls Club, and the Senior Citizens Center (among others).


Another Lilly Endowment Inc. GIFT Phase IV was offered to raise $100,000 for operations, matching $3 for every $1 raised.

The RCCF Board of Directors recommended and approved the following projects:

  • $250,000 for improvement to the Community and Root Building at the Rush County Fairgrounds
  • $250,000 to Boys and Girls Club of Rush County for building addition
  • $150,000 for facility improvements at 4-H Horse and Pony grounds
  • $50,000 for a new roof for the Salvation Army
  • $50,000 for improvements to the Rush County Senior Citizens Center


RCCF was able to build an addition for a conference room and to make changes to our existing building because of Lilly Endowment Inc. grant funds.

Lilly Endowment Inc. GIFT Phase IV goals were met by raising $450,000 from donors.


Local organizations and projects continued to receive funding from our community grant funds: $67,000 assisted projects for parks in Rushville, New Salem, and the Veteran’s Memorial Park, The Heart of Rushville, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and other deserving organizations.


2002 grant for Council of Clubs scoreboard

2002 grant for Council of Clubs scoreboard

Local scholarship endowment funds continued to increase, benefiting local students in their pursuit of higher education.

Grants were awarded to 8 community organizations, benefiting local 4-H clubs, the Rush County Schools, and the Rushville Police Reserve Unit.


Distributions from local endowed funds totaled $53,856 and assets continued to increase.

Seven grants were awarded to assist the needs of local community non-profit organizations.


RCCF provided 18 grants in 2004, assisting in:

  • Helping the Nature Center grow and prosper
  • Getting the Lifelong Learning Center started
  • Helping the Leadership Academy hold its first sessions


RCCF was awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.’s newest initiative, Sustaining Resource Development. The grant was designed to assist Foundations in obtaining self-sustainability.

More than $49,000 was awarded in grant funds, enhancing the opportunities 18 local organizations could provide in the Rush County community.

Stagg’s Dairy Treats hosted their first annual Rush County Community Foundation Day, donating 10% of proceeds to RCCF.


2006 grant for Rushville Parks Ampitheater

2006 grant for Rushville Parks Ampitheater

Marked a year of celebration.

RCCF celebrated 15th years of giving to Rush County. Black and Gold ribbons were placed on projects throughout Rush County that RCCF had helped make possible.

The Rushville St. Patrick’s Day Committee selected RCCF as one of their beneficiaries of their annual St. Patrick’s Day event


Grants were given to support an emergency command unit for Rush County Emergency Management and handicap playground equipment for the Rushville Parks Department.


2008 grant to the Rush County Veteran's Foundation

2008 grant to the Rush County Veteran’s Foundation

More than $61,000 was given via community grants, making the following possible:

  • Installation of street lights in Milroy (via Milroy Economic Development)
  • Renovations at the Rush County Conservation Club
  • A new monument at the veterans section of East Hill Cemetery (via Rush County Veterans Memorial Foundation)
  • Renovations to enable Rush County Community Assistance to open


Among others, notable grants were given supporting the Rushville Street Department recycling initiative, Blue River Community Harvest, Inc., and the Rush County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit.


We were able to help our community by distributing over $217,000 in grants, scholarships and individual fund payouts from funds established with RCCF.


$43,000 in local grant funds were awarded, beneftting a number of organizations, including several local volunteer fire departments.


Distributions from 2012 assisted a number of cemeteries, Rush County communities, the Rush County Youth Group Workcamp, Rushville Riverside Park Amphitheater concert series, Changing Footprints, and the Indiana State Police K-9 Teams.


More than $400,000 in distributions from 2013 benefited students pursing post-secondary education, the Rushville Public Library, local youth organizations, and the Rush County Agricultural Association… among many, many other Rush County non-profit organizations.

RCCF’s total of local scholarship monies distributed topped $1 million dollars.


For the first time in over a decade, Lilly Endowment offered another GIFT program. GIFT VI provided $500,000 in matching funds.

$365,000 was awarded in fund distributions.

Total fund payout surpassed $8 million dollars.


We were able to help our community by distributing over $539,200 in grants, scholarships, and individual fund payouts from funds established with the Foundation.

The Rush County Community Foundation granted $72,000 to local nonprofit organizations in 2015.


This year was distinguished by a milestone anniversary. We celebrated 25 years of giving in Rush County throughout the year, beginning in May.

In April, Rushville was named one of six Stellar finalist communities announced for the 2016 program year. The Rush County Community Foundation committed $100,000 over the following four years to City projects identified in the SIP.


The Rush County Community Foundation distributed 125 scholarship awards to 84 students. From the 72 endowed scholarship funds at the Foundation, $166,000 was awarded to Rush County students.


$90,000 was distributed in Community Grants. These funds supported the City of Rushville, East Hill Cemetery, Shares, Inc., Suicide Prevention Across Rush County (SPARC), Rush County Victims Assistance, and Rush County Youth Group Workcamp.


In just 11 months, our community donated $250,000 to Community Grants funds to earn a $500,000 match from Lilly Endowment Inc.


Through generous donor gifts, we were able to present $50,000 to Rush Memorial Hospital and established Rush to Help: COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund, granting nearly $30,000 to support basic needs, education, and economic relief efforts.

In October, we were awarded a $100,000 Leadership Grant to create a community action plan with input from residents and an additional $100,000 Board Engagement Grant to help fund activities from the plan.

December of 2020, we found out our $5 million proposal was approved – our dream was going to become a reality – our proposal for our community center was about to become real for Rush County.

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