The Montgomery County Community Foundation allocates funds from which its board members may choose to make grants to local non-profits, a part of the Community Engagement Grant program. Board President, John Tidd is kicking off the 2013 grants with a $500 grant to Character Counts of Montgomery County. The grant will support the annual Foundations for Life (FFL) essay program.

Character Counts is a framework for teaching character and is based on six pillars of character: Trust, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. It has been utilized by schools and workplaces in our county since 2001. Among the many vehicles for teaching and enforcing the pillars, is the FFL, a maxim-based essay program that challenges their reasoning and writing skills and inspires them to reflect upon, express, and commit to profound and enduring truths that will guide them in making ethical and effective choices throughout life. North Montgomery High School senior, Kennedy Knecht says she enjoyed participating in the contest as a younger student and for the past two years has been allowed to help judge the essays. She considers it a privilege to be able to read the touching stories submitted.

Jake Zurawski, a senior at Crawfordsville High School says that having Character Counts "hammered" during the grade school years has kept him doing the right things. He and the other student board members agreed, it was "really cool" to receive character awards in the lower grades and they still value the lessons learned today. Southmont senior, Kyle Davis considers "Citizenship" one of the most important pillars because it's important for everyone to be involved and active in our communities and that doing so is a humbling experience. While each pillar is important, we agree here at MCCF that without the involvement and generosity of our community members, we could not exist to carry out our mission of "building bridges to support the future of Montgomery County."

Don't forget, Character Counts is currently accepting nominations for their annual Champions of Character awards. Categories include individuals (six youth and six adults), Business/Industry, Community (organizations), Educators, and Pursuing Victory with Honor for athletes and others involved in athletics.