Heidi Zemach for Seward City News –
The Seward Community Foundation will give $85,175 to nonprofit organizations to help them accomplish well-defined projects deemed to have the greatest impact on people in the Seward/Moose Pass communities. Grants are awarded in areas such as health care, education, human services, arts and culture, youth, and community development.
The total available for the 2014 competitive grant cycle is almost $30 thousand dollars higher than the $56,000 that community foundation awarded in grants last year.
Representatives of several local non-profits such as Alaska SeaLife Center, Independent Living Center, Seward Music Association, Seward Senior Center, Seward Nordic Ski Club, Seward Arts Council attended a press event Thursday Jan 23rd at The Breeze Inn, where the endowment’s organizers announced the funding amount. SCF board members also named a few of the first groups to be awarded grants.
Seward Boys and Girls Club’s “Da Vinci Art & Science Summer Camp” received a $5,000 grant. It will get another $5,000 for three summer camps, one per year said Paul Rupple CSF’s past-president and board member.
“It’s amazing to see all that they do at that camp,” he said, calling it one of their “success stories.” Wiping away tears, he added how badly children in the area need the support of their community, and helpful organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.
The “He will Provide” Food Bank, which recently moved into a part of the basement of the former city library, and now rents from the city and provides insurance on the enterprise, received a $1,000 grant. The food bank helps feed more than 100 families every week, said food bank board member Cindy Pack. It couldn’t do it without the help of the community, and supportive groups like SCF, she said.
Over the past few years, the endowment fund has helped support many projects, most recently for things including S.O. S. pets, Marathon Wrestling Club, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliances’ Schoolyard Habitat Project, a Senior Citizens’ writing project, Equipment for the Tsunami Swim Team, scholarships for ADA-accessible trips for people with Independent Living Center, Alaska SeaLife Center’s Ocean Sciences Club for middle and high-school students. Most grants are in the one to five thousand dollar range, but mini-grants of up to $500 are available year-round. SCF will consider grants larger than $5,000, particularly in future years as the endowment grows, said CFS’ Grants Lead Madelyn Walker.
“I see a lot of faces that do so much for this community,” added Walker, naming all those she recognized. “And I thank you all so much. Thanks for all that you do.”
SCF President Kim Reierson briefly explained the purpose of the young endowment group. The SCF, now in its fourth year, is an affiliate of the Alaska Community Foundation. It was formed with the intention that it would not compete with non-profits for funds, but rather that it would become a collaborative effort to help the whole community by providing a growing pot of invested money (similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund) that would continue to grow. A diverse board of directors judges each project on its own merits. Those who receive funds must report back in detail on how the money was spent.
The money for grants comes from interest earned off of its original endowment, which was created with help from generous private donors and endowments, including the Rasmuson Foundation of Alaska, and a contribution by the City of Seward. It has been growing annually. This year SCF received a $10 thousand dollar matching grant from Rasmuson, and once SCF matched it with local contributions, the fund was awarded an additional $2,500 in pass-through grants. In 2013 the fund received $17,500 from Rasmuson in the same manner.
The funding cycle began January 1st and grant applications will be accepted through March 1st, 2014, with other mini-grants open throughout the year. In order to encourage more nonprofits to apply, and for their members to learn how to write successful grants generally, Madelyn Walker is offering another free grant-writing workshop February 5th at the Seward Community Library Museum.