Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation announces new grant opportunity to support strategic opportunities identified through Mercer County Better Together process

Dorothy Looser-Flake and Roberta Looser, sisters who were born and raised on a family farm near New Boston Township, Illinois, cared deeply about the community that gave them so much growing up. So much so, in fact, that they left a portion of their estates to establish the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to Mercer County.

Their wish was to encourage the community, through creativity and collaboration, to find ways to advance local education, culture, and economic development in Mercer County. In the past three years, nearly $550,000 has been granted to benefit Mercer County.

With the adoption of a county-wide strategic plan through Mercer County Better Together, which has fostered a collaborative culture among residents, businesses, nonprofits and jurisdictions, the trustees of the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation are proud to offer a new grant opportunity to support public parks and recreational facilities located in Mercer County.

Interested applicants will be required to work together to create and submit one collaborative application that supports as many projects as possible throughout the county. Up to $150,000 is available, dependent upon the number of municipalities who participate together. The new grant opportunity was developed—and informed—by the priorities identified by the people of Mercer County through the Mercer County Better Together initiative.

"We have a county-wide goal of further developing local recreational opportunities for children, families and all the residents of our communities in Mercer County," said Kelly Adamson of New Windsor, who has participated in the county-wide strategic planning process. "By revitalizing and promoting some of our identified parks, facilities and outdoor spaces throughout the county, we hope to enhance and promote health, wellness, and community in our region."

Kelly Thompson, the administrator for the charitable foundation, said that the grant program the trustees developed not only supports Mercer County Better Together, but also aligns with the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation's priority of making the county a more desirable place to live and raise a family. "This grant opportunity encourages collaboration among municipalities, encourages residents to take steps together to implement the county's strategic plan, and lives out the legacy left by Dorothy and Roberta," she said.

The collaborative grant application must demonstrate how the projects proposed will benefit residents of Mercer County; be clear, achievable within one year, and maintainable thereafter; leverage other resources and partnerships; and demonstrate collaboration.