By Sara McAninch // Photography by Tony Vasquez
Except for the four years she spent at Purdue University, Kim Minton has lived in Franklin her entire life. She grew up on her family farm and came back to her hometown after getting her bachelor’s degree. Now, between her two daughters, ages 6 and 9, and her full-time work at the Johnson County Community Foundation, she stays busy.
As the vice president of development at JCCF, Minton spends her days connecting people who care with causes that matter — actions that echo the JCCF’s tagline. She also helps community partners connect with available funding resources, including the unforeseen financial strains happening during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Minton is also involved with several community organizations. She’s on the board for the Franklin Education Foundation; she’s president of the Franklin Development Corp. Board and part of the Rotary Club of Franklin, the Order of the Elks and the Give Back Gals Fund, to name a few.
It is her passion for community and being involved that drew Minton to JCCF almost 12 years ago, and it is what keeps her engaged on a daily basis.
1. Tell me more about JCCF and your work there. What do you find rewarding about it?
JCCF is an endowment, and we have a pool of money and funds that we can use for grants to our nonprofits. We give out over a half million dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors and about that same amount to charitable organizations on an annual basis.
One of our biggest challenges is that the community needs are always much greater than what we’re capable of responding to. We’re open to donations every day, and the generous donors trust us when they give. We work with the community to try to meet those needs.
I started at JCCF after I moved back to Franklin post college; I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I had an opportunity to work for the foundation doing grants and scholarships. I did that for about six years before I moved into my current role.
When I started this role, I didn’t really have training in development and fundraising, but my passion has always been working with people and the relationships you build through that. Every day is different, and that’s what makes me excited.
One of the most rewarding things is the people and the lives we can impact. The part that keeps me coming back is that everyone is so generous and trying to make our community better.
During the COVID-19 emergency, JCCF established a response fund. We know some of our local nonprofits are going to need additional resources to keep their doors open, so we’ve been working with the United Way and other organizations on how to best respond. My role is to help navigate the donor side of this.
2. What is the Color the County mural program? Why have it?
About five years ago I helped start the Color the County mural program, and it’s one of the most fun things I do. It started in JCCF’s 25th anniversary year because the board chair at the time wanted to see more artwork in the community. In the inaugural year I worked with local city organizations and government units to identify the properties. Local artists submit ideas and concepts. The parameters are pretty broad, so people submitting them can be more artistic. The designs can’t be vulgar, and they must be bright and colorful. A judging committee made up of community members, property owners and artists then select the winning designs. Having this program has really opened up the conversation to artist talent.
The murals typically get painted in July and August, and anyone can participate. It gets advertised that no artistic ability is required; we want people to come and be involved in the process of mural creation. We never turn anyone away because anything can be fixed. We do a lot of fixes and touchups after the community painting day.
The first year the board approved the Color the County program, they weren’t sure if people would embrace it and what it would look like. People have sure embraced it. Since its inception, the program has installed nine murals throughout the county.
3. Why does art in the community matter?
Art gives everyone a sense of themselves in their community, and it creates a different sense of community. A lot of people, once they’re engaged in it, they love it because there’s a piece of them in it. My girls helped paint a mural one year, and every time we drive by it they exclaim that they helped paint it.
4. You’re busy with raising your daughters and your work at JCCF, yet you still find time to be involved in your community. Why is that important to you?
It’s a passion of mine. It is really important to me that I’m involved and engaged in the community I live in. It’s also an opportunity to have a voice. There are a lot of young people in the community, and it’s important for them to have a voice too, and you can’t do that if you’re not involved and engaged.
I want my girls to see that, too. When I graduated from college, I said yes to being involved in everything. Now I’m a little pickier about what I say yes to due to limited time and resources, but it’s wonderful to have those interactions.
5. What do you love about living on the southside?
I love the sense of community in Johnson County, especially Franklin. It’s a close-knit group of individuals and community members. It’s a great place to raise a family because of that sense of community, togetherness and collaborative effort.
A giving community translates into the quality of life of your community. It only happens when people are willing to work together and collaborate. You don’t have to all think or be the same, but you all have to be willing to listen and work toward a common goal; it makes for a better community for everyone. Franklin and Johnson County do a good job of that.
To get involved with, or donate to, the Johnson County Community Foundation, visit the website at jccf.org. You can also follow and connect with JCCF on Facebook and Instagram (@jccfin).