Nov 9, 2023


To show you how we are, have been, and will continue to be here to help Jefferson County thrive, we introduce Growing a Healthier Jefferson County: 2023 Year in Review series. 

In the upcoming months, we invite you to join us as we reflect on the ways our community partners have shown up for the most vulnerable residents of Jefferson County. Via emails, video testimonials, and social media posts, we will show you how brick by brick and pillar by pillar–through our funding and the work of so many throughout our community–we have been building a healthier, more self-reliant Jefferson County over the past year.

When I reflect on the inaugural year of Bethany Legacy Foundation and my role as Board Chair, there are three words that seem to capture this year. Those words are “We are here.”   

Dora Anim came in July 2022 as our President/CEO and began her listening tour of the county.  The message was clear:  WE ARE HERE to listen and learn your ideas to build a healthy community.

We held an event to reveal our brand and logo: WE ARE HERE and want you to recognize our presence and learn more about us. 

To our friends in the Dupont community who had no place to gather with their children and families: WE ARE HERE and applaud your grassroots initiative to improve your hometown.  

To our friends with mental health concerns who need professional support: WE ARE HERE to assist The Freedom Center as it provides counseling services. To our seniors who struggle with transportation availability: WE ARE HERE to improve Lifetime Resources services. 

To our traumatized children who need to tell their story in a safe place: WE ARE HERE to make sure the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southeastern Indiana has a facility to support you.  

To our cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: WE ARE HERE to ensure there are supplemental nutrition needs available to you through Norton Cancer Institute – Madison.

Bethany Legacy Foundation’s journey began 127 years ago with 12 caring women. Because of the journey they began, we can now say ‘WE ARE HERE;” and as we look ahead to future years, we can confidently say WE WILL BE HERE to ensure we are the healthiest county possible.

The first of the four pillars of this vision is developing strong youth. This pillar visions that children have a strong foundation to thrive and grow up to be empowered adults.

Some key results informed the development of this essential pillar. The 2022 Norton King’s Daughters’ Health Community Needs Survey, revealed that children living in poverty are part of the population with unmet health needs. And, child abuse/neglect ranks among the top ten community health issues. Further, according to the 2022 Jefferson County Health Rankings, 16% of our approximately 7,500 youth in Jefferson County live in poverty.

From our 2022 listening tour across the county, we concluded that

To this end, Bethany Legacy Foundation awarded thirteen grants this year totaling just over 1.2 million dollars to organizations whose mission and work creates such a foundation for our youth.

The second pillar of investment in our county is Empowered Adults. This pillar strives for a community in which “Working adults are able to be healthy, productive citizens and contribute to society.” 

We developed this focus as one of our central pillars based on 2021 Jefferson County poverty statistics and following our 2022 listening tour in which we heard statements like this one: 

One big issue in Jefferson County is that a lot of people have lost hope. Hope is the ability to dream for the future, and they just don’t have it. They face a lot of barriers. They live day to day….They have given up.  When you give up there is not much to live for.”

Our 2022 Norton King’s Daughters’ Health Community Needs Survey confirmed these needs of our approximately 18,000 adults:

  • Families who lack transportation and families living in poverty but do not qualify for public assistance are part of the population with unmet health needs
  • The top pressing health problems and barriers to care include substance abuse and lack of mental health resources
  • One of the top barriers to healthcare is that they cannot take time off work

Social support groups are part of the top ten needs for a healthy community

The grant awards in this category strive to address these deficits and are part of an overall goal of building hope and restoring dignity to this sector of our county. To that end, Bethany Legacy Foundation provided seven Jefferson County organizations with nearly $1.1 in 2023 to support programs, services, and places that will restore the ability to hope for the future and to experience human dignity.

Our third pillar of focus for building a healthier Jefferson County is Stable Seniors, with the goal of making them GOLD–that is, Growing Old with Love and Dignity and able to maintain their independence–in their home–as long as possible.

According to a 2022 Lifetime Resources study, the population of those over the age of 65 will increase by 30% over the next 10 years, and there is currently not enough affordable housing or home health aides to support this increase.
Other issues that surfaced in Our 2022 Norton King’s Daughters’ Health Community Needs Survey is that the elderly in Jefferson County are a large population–about 5,500 people in Jefferson County–with increasing health needs and a lack of transportation who are increasingly facing social isolation and have limited health resources.

We must not forget the aging. It has never been more important for our communities to pull together and ensure that our elderly neighbors are receiving the care and support they need. 

As John Hoeven reminds us: “Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have.”  

This year, we were able to fund organizations and programs that are providing for the health and transportation needs of seniors, offering care for those with limited financial resources, and giving opportunities for social connection with others in our county. 

In this first full year of funding, we funded three initiatives totaling $529,000, each of them aiming to strengthen the stable seniors pillar. Those grants included: 

  • NKDH Nutritional Supplements
  • Lifetime Resources
  • Habitat for Humanity

The fourth pillar of support for Bethany Legacy Foundation is a Thriving Workforce. Our mission for this sector of our community is to develop and support a robust talent pool that supports our region’s needs. 
According to the 2022 Norton King’s Daughters’ Health Community Health Needs Survey, “Good jobs or jobs paying a living wage ranks #1 in the top ten list of needs for a healthy community.”

As a funding organization, we want to support the members of our Jefferson County workforce in ways that allow them to not merely survive, but to thrive! To this end, we are committed to partnering with programs, agencies, and organizations that share this vision and that are working toward helping people not only use their gifts and talents but to be compensated well for their contributions. 

While we gave just one grant that relates specifically to this category in our 2023 funding year, its reach will be significant. This $104,000 award to Hanover College is a planning grant that will use market research to identify health professions workforce shortages in our county. Hanover College and Ivy Tech will then have an opportunity to address these shortages by offering educational programs to fill the workforce gaps.

Our four pillars of giving: strong youth, empowered adults, stable seniors, and a thriving workforce form the foundation of a county of people who are thriving, connected and healthy.

Neglect one, and we are all weaker for it; support all, and we grow healthier and better together.

Everyone needs to feel cared for and supported and to have access to inspiring settings in the great outdoors, places to play and find community, and access to quality physical and mental health care.

That’s why whenever we can, we provide grants that will benefit not just a single pillar, but everyone in the county in one of these ways. It’s part of our mission to make Jefferson County the healthiest county in the world. We believe we can get there if we work together to build a future where health is optimized for every person–mind, body, and soul.

Because every aspect of our lives impacts our health, Bethany Legacy Foundation is committed to supporting area nonprofit organizations through smart grant-making.

So, what kinds of solutions did we help make happen in 2023? 

From planning grants that allow for research for a walking trail and park improvements to park development and pool restoration funding, we are providing places for our Jefferson County residents to thrive in the great outdoors

We are supporting organizations whose work helps people thrive in their work and find belonging in our county. 

We are providing opportunities for healing and recovery from trauma and growing in mental health. 

Finally, we were able to bring both safety and peace of mind with life-saving AEDs throughout our community not only for first responders but for everyone to access in multiple locations. 

In 2023, we were able to invest over $3.5 million dollars to promote well-being for all in Jefferson County with these ten grants: 

  • Community AEDs
  • Hanover College Connector Trail Study
  • City of Madison Parks Department Planning Grants
  • Kindness Jefferson County Sensory Trailer
  • Crystal Beach Aquatic Park
  • Town of Hanover Park Improvements
  • Dupont Community Park
  • The Freedom Center
  • La Casa Amiga
  • The Clearinghouse/River Valley Resources

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