Let’s hear it for the boys! Thanks to the generosity of its members, the Men’s Fund of Vanderburgh County is poised to award $45,000 to local organizations in 2017 — more than four times the amount presented in 2016, the organization’s inaugural year.
“Our goal this year is to double our membership,” says Chad Sander, co-founder of the Men’s Fund. “If that occurs, we will be able to distribute a significantly larger amount.”
Currently, the Men’s Fund has 75 members comprised of professionals ranging from business owners and community leaders to attorneys and doctors. With the help of matching grants, the Men’s Fund invested its annual membership dues — $1,200 per member — and built its bank of funds. Those funds generate interest, which over time multiplies the impact the Men’s Fund will have on the community.
Sander, who also is vice president at Payne Wealth Partners, helped found the Men’s Fund after he was inspired by the success of another organization.
“Since serving on the board of the Vanderburgh Community Foundation, I had observed the growth and success of the Women’s Fund,” says Sander. “I had great admiration for the work they were doing to serve our community and I thought it would be awesome if we could pull together a group of men to form a philanthropic powerhouse as well.”
Sander and other benevolent men came together in 2015 to establish the Men’s Fund. The men wanted to pool their charitable giving to award grants at significantly higher levels than individual giving would allow. The Men’s Fund is part of the larger charitable resource, the Vanderburgh Community Foundation (VCF). Established in 1991, VCF is a charitable resource entirely invested and devoted to causes in the area.
The Men’s Fund zones in on the community’s charitable efforts, and the size of the fund continues to grow as a result of contributions from various members of Evansville and the surrounding area.
“The focus of the Men’s Fund is to support charitable causes important to men and target men’s issues. We endeavor to meet unaddressed needs in our community through the combined efforts of present and new philanthropists,” says Sander. “The Men’s Fund is about the power of collective decision-making and collective philanthropy.”
In 2016, the Men’s Fund received grant applications from 24 area organizations. In October, a committee narrowed the applicants to three finalists. The Boys & Girls Club received the main grant to support its Passport to Manhood Program, while Youth First and Parenting Time Center received secondary grants.
“We spent a great deal of time understanding how each organization proposed using the funds we had available to give,” says Sander. “It was extremely important to our grants committee members to be responsible stewards on behalf of our entire membership, as they reviewed and deliberated over the grant requests.”
The 2017 grant cycle runs July 1 through July 31.
For more information about the Men’s Fund, visit communityfoundationalliance.org/vanderburgh/mens-fund.