Bike trails connect people and communities.  They provide a safe avenue for all ages to not only bike, but also to walk, exercise pets and enjoy the outdoors.  However, building bike trails takes funding, and there are more curves in the process than many people may realize. 

Bike trails are often funded by grants that are made available to entities such as local city/village government or park districts.  To be eligible for these grants, the entity applying for the grant often must prove it can come up with a percentage of the requested amount in matching funds.  For example, if the park district is applying for $500,000 in grant money, it may be asked to commit to a local match of 20% (or $100,000.)  When an entity has so many projects vying for available budget money, coming up with that amount of matching dollars can stop a bike trail project in its tracks.

That’s where a caring Morton couple worked in tandem with the Morton Community Foundation (“MCF”) to create the Morton Community Bike Trail Improvement Fund, a Component Fund of the MCF.  This fund, started by the donors, provides the matching dollars needed for either the Village of Morton (VOM) or the Morton Park District (MPD) to apply for a grant. 

Being active, the couple have traveled all over the United States to participate in events and to enjoy bike trails.  After seeing many communities that have robust bike trail networks connecting neighborhoods to parks, restaurants and amenities both locally and in neighboring towns, they decided to do something to encourage more bike trails in their own community of Morton.

They researched funding methods and potential sources of bike trail grant money, which is how they learned about the twists and turns that communities can face in building new bike trails. They then reached out to the Morton Community Foundation to potentially establish a fund that would become the source for match money needed to apply for a grant; essentially removing any barrier for the MPD or VOM to apply for a grant.  This fund agreement was recently approved by the MCF Board, and they made a tax-deductible gift to the MCF so that funds are immediately available to provide a match to bike trail projects for our community for many years to come.

They have blessed the Morton community with their legacy of many more bike trails, improving the quality of life for Morton area residents now and for future generations.  Their personal gift can now leverage an even larger amount of grant money specifically for bike trails.  If you have a dream to bless a local charitable organization, charitable field of interest, or governmental entity, please contact the Morton Community Foundation to help make your charitable dream come true.

For more information, contact Scott Witzig, Executive Director, Morton Community Foundation by phone at 309-291-0434, or email to switzig@mortoncommunityfoundation.org.  Learn more about how the MCF works visit https://mortoncommunityfoundation.org/how-the-mcf-works.