Hispanic Connection of Southern Indiana CEO Lillian Rose points to photos of clients the nonprofit has helped to gain U.S citizenship. A Capacity Building Grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana will help the group continue its mission. Photo by Libby Cunningham | News and Tribune
Hispanic Connection of Southern Indiana CEO Lillian Rose points to photos of clients the nonprofit has helped to gain U.S citizenship. A Capacity Building Grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana will help the group continue its mission. Photo by Libby Cunningham | News and Tribune
SOUTHERN INDIANA — The copier at Hispanic Connection of Southern Indiana is on its last legs.

It’s an essential piece of equipment for the non-profit that helps immigrants on the journey to citizenship, and, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, it’ll be replaced when the time comes.

CFSI is awarding $170,000 in funding to eight nonprofits in the area as part of its inaugural Capacity Building Grants program.

The Capacity Building Grants target the things on the back end of nonprofits that make them tick, including technology, trainings and educational conferences for employees.

Along with upgrading technology at Hispanic Connection, grant money will be used to create a succession plan after CEO Lillian Rose retires.

Hispanic Connection will receive $23,710 in grant money.

“The grant came at an incredibly opportune time because I’m 81 and I’ve been thinking about retiring some time,” Rose said. “But there’s still so many people that I met when I first started this like 20 years ago that I kind of made it a point I wanted to see them finally get their legalization....Well that hasn’t happened yet because our system hasn’t cooperated, so I’m still hanging on.”

Rose wants to have the tools in place to help employees once that happens and said this grant will pay for a SMARTBoard where employees can attend webinars and take trainings to become more efficient.

Rose said it’s important that everyone at the office have knowledge of how they can help people so it can run more efficiently.

“In order to really create more capacity and enhance the work we do, we need to have everybody on board,” she said. “To be very familiarized with what immigration work is all about from our receptionist to everyone.”

Funds will also be used to train workers to be accredited representatives who are able to help with the immigration process.

“We have to be accredited by the Department of Justice, we have to know immigration law,” Rose said. “So it usually takes about three years to really get your feet wet and (get the license.)” Seven other non-profits in the area have also received funding.

Beautiful As You Are Corporation, or BAYA, received $14,000 to hire a strategic planning consultant and to attend to national conferences focusing on fundraising and social emotional learning.

New Hope Services Inc. will receive $23,177 to purchase new and upgraded technology.

There’s $25,000 going to the Volunteers of America Mid-States Inc. which will replace outdated technology for frontline staff and direct support professionals. It will also pay for staff membership to support and training courses.

Personal Counseling Services is receiving $14,500.

A total of $14,000 of grant money is going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana to launch the first strategic marketing campaign in the agency’s history. The campaign is “It Takes Two” and will recruit volunteer mentors for young people in Southern Indiana.

Hope Southern Indiana will get $19,629 to purchase computers or laptops for 12 employees.

Grant money totaling $25,000 will go toward Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana. Those funds will be used for technology.

CFSI is excited to be able to help local organizations as part of this grant program.

“When we did our community need assessment we did a special survey of nonprofits in the area we asked them to tell us what their challenges are, what are they finding it the most difficult to do,” said CFSI CEO Linda Speed. “We listened, because one of the things they told us was the most difficult thing to find was money for their own internal operations and capacity- building funds.”

This is the first year for the program and the hope is to continue it in the future.

“We feel like we are hopeful, and we will see what kind of an impact we are having. Ultimately we are hoping to build,” Speed said. “When we can do that, we are bolstering the non-profit fabric of our entire community.”
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