The mission of the Benton Community Foundation is to “enhance community through civic leadership, philanthropy, and charitable economic development initiatives.”
I had the opportunity to talk to Andrea Bowman, Benton Community Foundation’s Executive Director. She was happy to share about the important work the BCF is doing in their region of Indiana.
We spent some time talking about the local area, and I was impressed to hear how they focus on the entire community of Benton County versus an individual town.
“Our office is located in Fowler,” said Andrea, “but our whole community is a collection of small towns, and we’re here for everyone.”
The BCF is a non-profit organization that uses contributions, small and large, to build endowment funds that will benefit the community in perpetuity. Contributions to the BCF are permanently invested to produce income, and the income earned is used to help meet the community’s charitable needs.
Much of the donations BCF makes come from its Unrestricted Fund, which in practice means there aren’t limits to the types of causes it can support. Other structured Funds are sometimes dedicated to things like parks or infrastructure, but due to the unique nature of Benton County having many small towns versus a large metropolitan center, using the Unrestricted Fund allows the BCF flexibility to meet community needs.
Pattern Energy makes an annual donation to BCF’s Unrestricted Fund to allow the BCF to use it as needed.
It was at this point in the conversation I learned about the legendary Dan Patch.
Dan Patch (April 29, 1896 – July 11, 1916) was the most famous horse in harness racing in America. Harness racing was a very popular sport at the time, and Dan Patch was so good that eventually other horse owners began refusing to enter their horses in races when they knew they had to face Dan Patch.
As most locals know, Dan Patch hails from Oxford, Indiana, and over 100 years later he is still remembered as the legend he was in life The locals haven’t forgotten him and there is even a rodeo named after him.
Thanks in part to a donation to the local Oxford Lions Club by BCF, the Lions Club was able to help ensure the Dan Patch Days 50th Anniversary Rodeo will kick off in September of this year.
In addition to Dan Patch Rodeo Days, BCF recently supported the Earl Park Fire Department to help purchase more fire fighting gear.
“That’s really what makes us a special organization,” Andrea said. “We enjoy being able to help where we can do the most good as needs arise in our communities. At the core of what we do is foster leadership and community development, making this a great place to live.”
You can learn more about the Benton Community Foundation and how to support their important work on their website.