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January 2, 2013

SEABROOK: Building quite a foundation

As 2013 begins, as board members of the Horseshoe Foundation, we want to share a little information about and the impact the foundation has had on the city of New Albany and Floyd County over the past 13 years.

The foundation was formed with the intent that it would last forever in our community and provide funding for projects and initiatives which would benefit the citizens of the Floyd County. In 2011, the foundation gave more than $2.88 million to the community and received $2.8 million from Horseshoe Southern Indiana, our sole benefactor. In 2012, we gave $3.2 million to the community.

To date, the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County has awarded over $28.1 million to about 1,000 grants to local organizations and includes $3.65 million in scholarships for more than 500 deserving students enabling them to get a college or technical school degree.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana has contributed more than $45 million to the Foundation. The commitment of board members has always been to get this money in the community to do good work, while investing enough to insure the foundation lasts in perpetuity.

The foundation is governed by seven board members — all designated by our by-laws — which include: the mayor of New Albany, one county commissioner, two city council members of opposite major parties, the general manager of Horseshoe Southern Indiana plus two additional appointees of her/his choosing. Board members make all decisions on funding which will be awarded, scholarship approval and oversee all finances and investments.

The foundation has two staff members: an executive director and a program director. Their role is to manage the day to day work of the foundation on behalf of the board. The board is appreciative of the dedication, diligence and integrity of our staff.

The foundation would not be able to operate as efficiently without the many community volunteers who do so much. Along with our volunteer board, we have 27 volunteers on our grants committee, nine investment committee volunteers and another nine members of our Small Business Revolving Loan Fund Committee.

In reflecting on the notable work the Foundation has done since 1999, the building of the Floyd County YMCA through our $20 million commitment stands as the single most important project. The plan for the Y was to improve community health as well as economic development and the effect that commitment had on the community has been tremendous. It was the catalyst to change downtown New Albany. And the change in downtown since the Y opened just four years ago has been dramatic.

In an effort to encourage economic development in the county, the board initiated the HFFC Small Business Revolving Loan Fund and committed $250,000 to this project. In three years that commitment has grown to $750,000 benefiting 24 businesses through $970,000 in low interest loans. This very successful program has quickly become a state and national model.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is another program we are proud of, in partnership with the NA-FC Education Foundation. Each month, 3,070 registered children between the ages of zero to age 5 receive a free, age-appropriate book in the mail. This program encourages families to read with their children and helps ensure that they are more ready for school once they begin kindergarten. And full-day kindergarten was available to Floyd County children years before other counties because of a major commitment of our foundation, again in partnership with the NA-FC Education Foundation.

The board is continually considering initiatives which leverage our assets for the good of the community. A great example of this is the Indiana University Southeast Student Investment Fund-a partnership with the IU Southeast School of Business which provides $100,000 for MBA students to learn about investing by doing research, presentation and actually investing real money. This provides a unique experience for IU Southeast students not available anywhere in the Louisville metro area.

The Horseshoe Foundation is an incredible resource for our community. We are honored and proud to be the trustees of this philanthropic organization which does so much good for all. Our Grant application deadlines are March 31 and Aug. 31. Additional information about the work of the foundation can be found on our website at horseshoefoundation.org.

— Mark Seabrook is president of the board of the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County.

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