Foundation awards grants to local non-profits
The Carroll County Community Foundation presented grant money to 16 local non-profit organizations at its annual Giving Tree Grant Awards Ceremony on Oct. 1 at Brashears Furniture.
Janell Robertson, executive director of the foundation, said that many non-profits applied for grant money, totaling nearly $60,000 worth of applications. The foundation could give out only $24,000, and Robertson said the grant committee had to make some difficult decisions.
Judi Selle accepted the grant for Brave Woman, an organization that supports victims of domestic violence.
"Brave Woman is founded on the idea that women who are experiencing battery or violence in their homes are not to blame for what happens to them but instead they are brave for walking that journey," Selle said.
The grant money will be used to fund the hotline number in Carroll County and other support for the Carroll County Safety Network.
Ginger Johnson accepted the grant for Carroll County Juvenile Probation, saying the money will be used to purchase laser tag equipment and fishing poles. Johnson, a parole officer in Carroll County, explained that the purchase will help police officers bond with troubled youth.
"All the kids that come into my office are troubled youth of some variety," Johnson said. "The idea is to take kids who are in trouble and probably hate cops and hook them up with cops and have them do fun things like play laser tag or go fishing."
There is a correlation, Johnson noted, between more law enforcement and less criminal activity in a community. She said she's excited to spend grant money to lower crime in this way.
"We're used to spending our money on things like detention and pee tests and ankle monitors. We're super excited to get to be proactive instead of reactive," Johnson said.
Katie Turnbaugh accepted the grant for Eureka Springs High School. A chemistry teacher at the high school, Turnbaugh said she plans to use the money to buy three new computers for the school's new engineering program. Modern engineers, Turnbaugh said, use computers constantly for their work.
"They do what's called computer-aided drafting. All engineer disciplines have to do this," Turnbaugh said.
Turnbaugh explained how she got into teaching, saying she retired from engineering and moved to Northwest Arkansas a few years ago. After attending a high school graduation in Carroll County, Turnbaugh said she realized that none of the students planned to study engineering.
"I went back and got my master's in education and I teach chemistry now. I wanted to teach people about the job I had loved so much," Turnbaugh said.
Colleen Smith accepted the grant for CASA of Northwest Arkansas. CASA recruits, trains and supervises volunteers to advocate for children in abusive homes. Smith said the grant money will be used to train more advocates in Carroll County, saying there are more children in need than advocates available in the county.
"We have 50 children in foster care and advocates for only nine of them. This grant will help us support advocates," Smith said.
Debbie Rambo accepted the grant for Samaritan Community Center, a program that provides weekend snack packs for children in need. Rambo said the program targets preschool children in Carroll County; all the grant money, she explained, will be used to purchase more food for the snack packs.
"We're thrilled to send home a bag of food each Friday that kids like and is healthy for this. This will go a long way in helping take care of those kids," Rambo said.
Jodi Dilday accepted the grant for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, saying the money will help provide a scholarship for a single parent in Carroll County.
"Every year we will award a Carroll County-endowed single parent scholarship, and every penny of this grant will be given to a resident of Carroll County to access education," Dilday said.
Pat Kasner accepted the grant for Flint Street Fellowship, a food bank and lunchroom. Kasner said the grant money will be used to purchase food for the fellowship's backpack program. The backpack program, Kasner noted, provides a backpack of food for Eureka Springs students in need each weekend.
Sunny Lane accepted the grant for the Helen Walton Children's Fund Enrichment Center, saying the money will help train childcare workers in the county to provide high-quality early childhood education.
Carla Mann accepted the grant for the Carroll County Senior Wellness and Activity Center. The grant money, Mann explained, will be used fund the Meals on Wheels program.
Several other organizations also received grants, including: Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation, which will use the money to train 20 Carroll County first responders on pediatric emergencies; Eureka Christian Health Outreach, Inc., which will use the money to purchase insulin for patients; People Helping People, which will use the money to assist under or uninsured Carroll County residents with medical needs; Project Self-Esteem, which will use the money to buy school supplies for its backpack program; The Mission Clinic of Berryville, which will use the money to purchase medicine; Northwest Arkansas Head Start, which will use the money to fund a new playscape for the Green Forest Head Start; and Green Forest Public Library, which will use the money to fund furnishings and shelving for a new section of the library.
The Carroll County Community Foundation has been working in Carroll County since 2001.
Robertson said it aims to "provide smart giving options for charitable donors who want their donations to support non-profits working in and for Carroll County residents."
The Giving Tree Endowment, as with all the foundation's 33 endowed funds, provides grants annually and will continue to support Carroll County. Since its inception, the foundation has provided more than $840,000 in grants
The foundation is one of 27 affiliates of the Arkansas Community Foundation in Little Rock.