The Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) recently awarded $803,326 to area nonprofits. The spring grant cycle was the Foundation's largest since its initial seven grants totaling $289,300 …
The Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) recently awarded $803,326 to area nonprofits.
The spring grant cycle was the Foundation's largest since its initial seven grants totaling $289,300 were approved in 1997.
The Foundation typically receives between $1 and $2 million in gifts each year. Last year, the Foundation was entrusted with more than $43 million, tripling its assets.
"The year 2018 was a year of growth for the Foundation. Through your gifts, we can now encourage nonprofits to not only apply for what they need to get by, but to dream big and apply for what they need to expand and grow," Beth Stukes, chair of the Foundation's board of directors, said in a letter for the Foundation's annual report that is being released this week.
The Foundation has invested over $21 million through 500 grants to nonprofits in the past 22 years, thanks to individual donations and the more than two dozen Component Funds it administers on behalf of families and organizations.
A partial list of projects made possible by Foundation funding in 2018 includes 140,500 meals packed for local children, $1.2 million in building rehab and new construction in downtown Jasper, 1,284 homeless individuals receiving services and over 600 surgeries being performed to spay and neuter animals.
All grants fall into at least one of the following categories: arts and humanities, children and youth, education, elder care, environment, health and medicine, recreation and welfare.
Grant proposals are accepted twice a year — in the fall and spring.
Nine volunteers who serve on a grant review team visit each nonprofit applying for funding to learn more about their operation and the project for which funding is needed.
Team members and advisors of the various funds make funding recommendations to the Foundation's Board of Directors for final approval.
Organizations that receive funding must sign a contract with the Foundation which states that the funds can only be used for the activities listed in the grant proposal and are required to submit a written report after nine months that provides financial data and an update on the project's progress.
"Giving to the WACF allows your contributions to be managed and utilized in your community. The staff and the board of the WACF are good stewards of all funds and ensure they are utilized properly. Strong vetting and follow-up of all grants ensure funds are dispersed in the best areas," said Bert Hendrix, executive vice president at Pinnacle Bank and a member of the grant review team.
The following nonprofits received funding in the spring grant cycle:
• Alabama Lions Sight Mobile Eye Screening Program in Walker County — provides eye care for the elderly and uninsured at three locations: Sipsey, Jasper and Parrish. Over 400 patients, many elderly, have had significant eye health improvement since 2017.
• Alabama Possible — provides assistance to high school seniors through their College Access and Success Program, and expects a 5 percent increase in FAFSA applications.
• Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama — provides elder care products to 200 or more local low-income families.
• ARC of Walker County — to purchase a vehicle dedicated to transporting and providing medical care for their clients, with an expected impact of around 536 medical visits per month.
• Arley Women’s Club — to support their Recycling Program in Arley, serving 4,000 residents in and around the Arley area.
• Backyard Blessings — to provide weekend backpack meals for around 850 food insecure students in Walker County each week.
• Camp Cool — in collaboration with Camp McDowell’s Bethany Village, provides a four-day summer camp experience for 14 local children who have spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
• Childcare Resources — financial assistance for day care services to 10 qualified families who are not eligible for Department of Human Resources funding.
• Carl Elliott Regional Library — summer reading program.
• Children’s Hospital of Alabama — support for Walker County Child Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative, which will certify 10 local trainers that will serve numerous families.
• Christian’s Place Mission — to support their food distribution program, which serves over 5,000 people annually.
• Clastran — provides public transportation for residents in need in Walker County, with a ridership of over 4,000.
• Concerned Citizens for our Youth/Beacon House — to provide a raised bed garden, tools and supplies for their program participants.
• Jasper Main Street — for operations, bikes and a sound system, serving well above 15,000 residents.
• Girls Incorporated — funds their 6 week Summer Enrichment Program, which will provide activities, field trips, and reading and math skill enhancement for 80 local girls.
• Healthy Eating Active Living Inc. (HEAL) — for curriculum development for healthy eating and exercise programs in 13 area elementary, middle and high schools.
• The Hope House Church Loaves and Fish Food Truck and Soup Kitchen Ministry — serves 10,000 meals annually; also received funding to replace the roof of their facility.
• Indian Creek Youth Camp — 10 summer camp scholarships.
• The Jasper Area Family Service Center — dentures for a client from the Onward Fund.
• Jasper City Parks and Recreation — Dream Team softball and soccer fees for 10 participants.
• Kid One Transport — transportation for Walker County children and pregnant mothers to doctor and hospital visits, providing about 218 trips per year.
• The Literacy Council of Walker County — to provide adult basic literacy classes, English as a Second Language, teen tutoring, book clubs and summer reading programs, serving over 4,000 adults and children.
• The McWane Science Center — educational programs in Walker County schools, benefitting 500 students.
• The Mission of Hope — assistance for clients from the Onward Fund for needs such as day care, work uniforms, and auto repair, allowing the recipients to move forward.
• New Prospect Baptist Church — repairs to sanctuary.
• The Ronald McDonald House — for the Adopt A Family Program for Walker County Families which served 23 families last year with 605 nights.
• St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church — food pantry that impacts over 100 families per month.
• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — Field of Dreams event.
• St. Mary’s Episcopal Church — food pantry which served over 11,000 individuals in 2018.
• The Salvation Army — food pantry, impacting around 2,400 individuals.
• UAB Department of Theatre — to bring up to 12 performances to Walker County area students.
• The United Way of Central Alabama — funding for the Health Action Partnership, recreational development of Walker County Lake and other UW programs serving the Walker County community.
• Walker County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) — to cover one year of operating expenses in support of disaster communications.
• The Walker County Board of Education — to start an archery program for 4th-12th graders in Oakman schools.
• Walker County Coalition for the Homeless — to provide emergency shelter, temporary housing, and rehousing assistance to more than 550 individuals who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
• The Walker County Coalition for the Homeless — car repairs and dentures for clients from the Onward Fund.
• Walker County Community Action Agency — after school and Summer "Sky" Youth Programs, with an average of 68 participating youth.
• The Walker County Community Action Agency — car insurance assistance for a client from the Onward Fund.
• Walker County Department of Human Resources — to provide for the emergency needs of around 126 children in foster care.
• The Walker County Humane Society — Spay and Neuter quarterly initiatives, enabling around 400 surgeries per year.
• Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) — general operations.
• Youth Advocate Programs — water heater and stove for a client from the Onward Fund.
• YMCA Camp WheezeAway — fees for two Walker County children to attend the camp (designed for children with asthma).